Acrylic Vs. Cast-Iron Bathtub: Which Is Better?



It is not easy to choose the best option among the variety of modern bathtubs. As a rule, buyers have to decide between cast-iron and acrylic bathtubs. Let’s compare these two most popular materials and you will be able to decide what is the best option for you.

Which is better cast iron or acrylic tub? The lightness and variety of shapes make the acrylic bathtub more suitable for small apartments while a cast iron bathtub requires more space and is suitable for use in large rooms. Cast iron and acrylic bathtubs have many positive aspects and, with proper maintenance, will have a long service life.

Let’s dive into this a bit deeper and you will make your decision.

Important Differences Between Acrylic and Cast Iron Bathtubs

Cast iron baths are justifiably considered typical classic sanitary ware. The main raw material for the production of such a bath is cast iron. And to give the product additional strength and a pleasant aesthetic appearance, the bath surface is covered with one or more layers of special enamel.

Acrylic bathtubs are made of sanitary acrylic, which is light in weight with a fairly high strength characteristic.

 Cast Iron BathtubAcrylic Bathtubs
Weight
How much does it weigh?
On average, 120-130 kg24-55 kg
Shape and SizeClassic rectangular or oval shape, standard sizesVariety of shapes and sizes
PriceAffordableMedium / high price depending on the model
InstallationThe cast iron bath is installed on legs.
Most often, several people are required for installation
The acrylic bathtub is installed on a frame base or without it, depending on the specific model.
Installation work is feasible for one person
Heat and Sound InsulationHighHigh
Enamel and its qualitiesHigh rates, strongly durableHigh rates, strongly durable
Durability
How long does it last?
More than 50 yearsAround 10 years
CareCast iron bath due to the less porous structure of the enamel is much easier to cleanAcrylic bathtub is capricious to care for,
sensitive to aggressive cleaning agents and hard sponges

Acrylic Bathtubs Pros and Cons:

Acrylic Bathtubs Pros:

  • Low weight, when compared, for example, with cast iron. There is no need to reinforce the floor to install such a bathtub. For comparison, a standard cast iron container weighs about 80-90 kg and it is empty. If you collect a full reservoir of water, then the mass will turn out to be menacing for some storey floors.
    The weight of the acrylic bathtub is only 20 kg, which means that full of water it is safe even for an old house with dilapidated ceilings.
    How much weight can an acrylic bathtub hold? Most acrylic bathtubs on the market are highly durable. The results of numerous tests show that the average weight that a modern acrylic bathtub can hold is 400-500 kilograms.
    If you are going to purchase an acrylic bathtub, ask a specialist for what technology it is made. Give preference to more expensive models. As practice shows, they are more reliable and will last you much longer than their cheap counterparts.
  • Excellent thermal insulation. Anyone who loves to soak in the bathroom will note that hot water in an acrylic bath will lose only 1-2 degrees in half an hour.
    At the same time, cast iron bathtubs will cool down by 10-13 degrees, and this difference is noticeable. Again, there is no need to add hot water every 15 minutes. This will definitely reduce your water bills.
  • High noise insulation. The noise of water pouring into the tub is not heard beyond the threshold of the room.
  • Variety of shapes. Acrylic is a polymer from which you can create a container of any shape if desired. Even round corner and polygonal bathtubs are outdated now. Reservoirs in the form of stars, shells, sea animals, flowers are in fashion now, and such forms can only be created from acrylic.
  • Do acrylic tubs last? One of the main advantages of acrylic tubs is durability. How durable is an acrylic tub? Acrylic bathtubs last up to 15 years. It’s all about the composition of the material from which it is made. Acrylic does not contain metals that quickly corrode and deteriorate in contact with water but contains fibreglass. This component helps to keep its shape perfectly and guarantees a long service life.
  • Easy maintenance. Do acrylic tubs stain easily? The thing is that acrylic tubs almost do not stain. Even if you spilt something on it, you can easily wipe it off with a cloth. No special chemicals are needed to clean the walls, a simple soap solution is enough.
    How do you clean an acrylic bathtub? What cleaners are safe for acrylic tubs? Traditional baking soda, vinegar, or citric acid can help clean your bath. To clean with citric acid or vinegar, you need to fill the bath with water and add the cleaning agent into it. Leave for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with running water.
  • Comfortable feelings. Acrylic surfaces are smooth yet non-slip and pleasant to the body.
  • The possibility of restoration. Chips, scratches and cracks are repaired with polishes and repair compounds on the spot. Do acrylic tubs crack? Acrylic tubs do crack. Acrylic models are quite practical, but they can get serious damage to the coating due to mechanical stress. You can repair products if an acrylic bathtub is cracked, chips, cracks, and sometimes even through holes.
  • Wide functionality. Acrylic bathtubs can be equipped with all sorts of options: air and hydromassage, automatic overflow and others.
  • Do acrylic baths discolour? Good-quality acrylic baths never discolour. Plastic baths lose colour over time, cast iron baths are prone to corrosion, and acrylic baths retain their gloss and look like new.

Acrylic Bathtubs Cons: Are Acrylic Tubs Bad?

  • Do acrylic tubs turn yellow? Acrylic bathtubs can turn yellow. One of the most common reasons why acrylic turns yellow is the supply of poor quality water from the mixer. In the presence of iron in the water, the liquid is oxidized, giving a characteristic “yellowish” colour, which can be from a rich brown to light yellow.
  • Sensitivity to alcohol and powder products. Washing an acrylic bathtub requires a deliberate attitude in order to avoid surface damage and premature repairs. For cleaning, do not use compounds containing aggressive chemicals and abrasive particles.
    Scratches appear on the surface of the acrylic bathtub. This happens if you wash it with abrasive substances or put metal basins and buckets in the middle.
  •  Mechanical fragility. The bathtub can bend under a heavy weight, which can cause some discomfort. If heavy objects are dropped, cracks or holes are likely to form. Large damage is not always amenable to restoration, sometimes the bath is easier to replace.
  •  Insufficient resistance to high temperatures. Plastic melts at 160 ° C, so the acrylic bath becomes softer and deformable when exposed to excessively hot liquid. For this reason, it is recommended to pour cold water first and then hot water.You should not pour water hotter than 90 degrees into an acrylic bathtub. This will soften the material and shorten the service life. But since there are not so many fans to cook in the bathroom, this drawback can be called insignificant.
  • The cost of acrylic plumbing is higher than steel and cast iron counterparts. Given the limited service life, the purchase of this type of bath can hardly be called a justified financial investment.

Bathroom Tub Selection Options (Steel, Cast Iron, Fiberglass, Acrylic)

Is an Acrylic Bathtub Worth It? The Bottom Line

Acrylic baths have high durability and are absolutely not inferior in this parameter to products made of cast iron or metal. They are significantly lighter, so you can install them without assistance. For their manufacture, a unique method of vacuum forming acrylic sheets is used. After this stage, the baths are reinforced with glass mat or special resin. For large sizes, the bottom of the structure is reinforced with chipboard panels and fixed to a metal frame treated with compounds that reduce corrosion.

The service life of acrylic products directly depends on the number of moulding layers used during moulding, the quality of the reinforcement. Manufacturers do not limit the service life of such baths to a 10-year limit. With proper care, they will last a long time.

You need to pay attention to the fact that acrylic is easily damaged by metal objects. In baths made of this material, it is not recommended to wash dishes, bathe animals, wash clothes with metal parts. Detergents used for care must not contain acids, chlorine, abrasive elements. Usually, a special repair kit is sold with the bathroom. If scratches do appear, they are filled with acrylic, then they go through with sandpaper and the entire bath is polished.

Cast Iron Bathtubs Pros and Cons:

Cast Iron Bathtubs Pros:

Cast iron bathегиs are a fairly common product on the plumbing market and it has not lost its popularity for many years, however, in order to be completely sure of the correctness of your choice, it is worth considering in detail the pros and cons of this product.

  • Durability. Cast iron bathtubs are surprisingly reliable and durable products that will serve you for decades. How long does a cast iron bathtub last? The lifespan of a cast iron bath has increased to 25 years, although the leading manufacturers in the industry claim that a cast iron bath can be used for more than half a century!
    Even if heavy objects fall into it, it is unlikely that any significant damage will occur (however, it is still worth protecting the bath from such incidents, because the enamel may not be as good).
  • Mechanical strength. It is difficult to find something stronger than a cast-iron bath. It is made of an alloy of iron and carbon. It will not crack from a heavy object falling on it and will not crack under the weight of a family member. The dog will not scratch the surface when bathing.
  • Low thermal conductivity. Cast iron bath takes longer to heat up but it also keeps the water warm for a long time.
  • Stability and solidity. The cast iron bath weighs at least 100 kilograms. There is no need for additional fasteners to the wall. A cast iron bathtub can hold any weight.
  • Ease of maintenance. The enamel of a cast iron bath, thanks to the peculiarities of the application technology and composition, is less demanding when it comes maintenance. You can use any detergent to clean a cast-iron tub except those that are too abrasive. Small chips and scratches can be easily removed with the available repair kits. There is a cheap technology for restoring even the most worn-out cast-iron bathtub which is called acrylic liners.
  • Sound absorption. Cast iron bathtubs are able to perfectly absorb all noise. You can fill it up with water even at night when all sounds are especially audible. This is an important feature for those working irregularly or suffering from insomnia.
  • Beauty and practicality. Designers love to use cast iron bathtubs in the interior. If the size of the bathroom space allows, such a bath is often installed in the middle. You can approach it from any side, place beautiful furniture, flowers and lamps next to it.
    Manufacturers have learned to make anatomically shaped cast-iron bathtubs, if you wish, you can also purchase for them: chrome-plated handles; headrests, overhead tables; original adjustable legs; decorative external panels; non-slip coatings.
    There are also models with hydromassage. Some manufacturers produce small batches of irregularly shaped bathtubs — angular, with curved sides.

Cast Iron Bathtubs Cons:

  • Heavy weight. What about the weight of cast iron baths? Although manufacturers began to produce hot tubs with a smaller wall thickness, you will hardly find a cast-iron bathtub weighing less than 100 kg. It is more difficult to transport, difficult to lift into an apartment. It is necessary to install a cast iron bathtub with great care — due to the weight and bulkiness, floor tiles or walls can be damaged.
  • Slippery coating. You should use a rubber mat if you have a cast-iron bathtub.
  •  Lack of variety. Due to the nature of production, the shape of cast iron baths is often boring. It is a rectangle with rounded corners. Yes, of course, “ageless classics” are fashionable retro style. What if you want something more modern and fresh? In this regard, acrylic fonts are leaders in a variety of shapes.
  •  High cost. There are only a dozen and a half of cast iron bath manufacturers in the world. Competitors —manufacturers of steel and acrylic sanitary products can offer a wider range of models, a choice of colours. On average, they have lower production costs, which is why their baths are cheaper than cast iron ones.

That said, you should buy a cast-iron bath if the area of the room allows you to place it not only against the wall, you like its massiveness, durability and the long warranty period are more important than accessories: hydromassage, lighting, the design of the room is closer to the classic or even retro and you are not trying to save money on repairs.

Which Is Better — Cast Iron or Acrylic Tub?

A cast-iron bath is the best option for a home, summer cottage or cottage. It does not need to be raised to the floor, and the area of ​​a private house usually allows you to install large-sized products.

An acrylic bathtub is perfect for a small apartment. The rise to the floor will not cause any difficulties even in the absence of an elevator, and the shape and size can be selected to the area and features of the bathroom.

Thus, both cast iron and acrylic bathtubs have a number of their advantages and disadvantages. The practicality of a cast-iron bath or the elegance of an acrylic bath is the choice of every customer. The main thing is that the “heart” of your bathroom will serve for many years and please everyone with its beauty, elegance and high quality.

So, which is better — cast iron or acrylic bathtub? The cast iron sample wins in strength, ease of maintenance, durability, but is inferior in terms of price, range, ease of transportation and installation. In terms of thermal conductivity, the materials are almost equal, but acrylic is still a little “warmer”. If the cost of the product, its design and weight are in the first place for you, then the choice comes down to an acrylic bathtub, which is the market leader today. If you prefer durability and strength, are ready to go to the expense and complexity of installation, then it is better to take a cast-iron bath.

Kateryna

I am passionate about making my home a better place and I want to share all my knowledge with you.

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