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  • Richard Davis

comparison of acrylic vs common bathroom materials

Updated: Mar 25

The comparison for durability and other properties of different bathtub materials, such as acrylic, porcelain, fiberglass, and cast iron, can provide a clear perspective on what might be the best choice for your bathroom.


a modern take on a acrylic walk in shower with a supporting bench
  • Durability: Acrylic tubs, made from synthetic resins and often reinforced with fiberglass, are durable and resistant to chipping. They do not rust, but they are more prone to scratching than some other materials.

  • Heat Retention: Acrylic bathtubs are good at retaining heat, making them comfortable for long soaks.

  • Maintenance: They are relatively easy to clean and can be repaired if scratched. However, they are more likely to stain due to micro-scratches on the surface.

  • Cost and Installation: Generally less expensive than porcelain and easier to install due to their lightweight.

  • Accessibility: Has features for walk in tubs and walk in showers and a ramp accessible options for showers.


  • Durability: Porcelain tubs, often made with a porcelain enamel coating over steel or cast iron, are resistant to scratching but can chip, especially around hardware. Chipping exposes the metal underneath to rusting.

  • Heat Retention: They tend to lose heat more quickly than acrylic tubs. Some models are foam insulated to improve heat retention.

  • Maintenance: Porcelain bathtubs require specific cleaning methods to avoid damage. They are more challenging to maintain compared to acrylic tubs.

  • Cost and Installation: Generally, they are heavier and more expensive than acrylic tubs, with installation being more cumbersome.


  • Durability: Fiberglass tubs are lighter and less expensive than porcelain but can be prone to discoloration, scratching, and dullness over time.

  • Maintenance: These tubs have restrictions on the types of cleaning agents that can be used, as harsh chemicals can damage the surface.

  • Design Flexibility: Fiberglass allows for more intricate and decorative designs due to its moldability.

  • Installation: Easier to install due to their lightweight and flexibility in maneuvering.

Cast Iron:

  • Durability: Cast iron tubs are extremely durable, scratch, and chip-resistant. They are a long-term investment due to their robust nature.

  • Heat Retention: Excellent at retaining heat.

  • Maintenance: They are heavy and require additional support for installation. The surface can be resurfaced if needed.

  • Cost: Generally, these are more expensive than other types of bathtubs.

In summary, acrylic bathtubs offer a balance of durability, ease of maintenance, ever changing elegance and affordability, making them a versatile choice for many bathrooms. Porcelain tubs provide a classic look and are scratch-resistant but require careful maintenance. Fiberglass tubs offer design flexibility and are cost-effective but may lack long-term durability. Cast iron tubs are highly durable and retain heat well but are heavy and expensive. Your choice of common materials will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget

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