Durability, versatility, heat retention, and smoothness… with an affordable price tag. Acrylic tubs are easy on the eye, the body, and the wallet.
There's a reason this tub material is a favorite on the market. It's comfortable, low maintenance, warm, lightweight, and most importantly, affordable. Here's what you need to know before buying an acrylic tub.
What is an acrylic tub?
Acrylic tubs are made from vacuum-formed acrylic sheets, often reinforced with fiberglass for added durability. Since the material itself is soft and supple, it is the perfect material for a variety of tub shapes and sizes.
Acrylic is very light, so it can be installed on any level of the home. It is also easy to maintain, repairable, and damage resistant.
What are the pros and cons of acrylic tubs?
Like every bathtub material, acrylic has its advantages and disadvantages.
●Easy to clean and maintain
●Resistant to cracking and chipping
●Smooth, nonporous, comfortable surface
●Many colors, sizes, and configuration options
●Durable, especially when reinforced with fiberglass (a common option)
●Retains heat; remains warm to the touch when dry and at room temperature
●May feel “hollow”
●Prone to staining and discoloration
●Prone to scratching (though repairs are simple and inexpensive)
Compare and Contrast: Acrylic Bathtub vs Cast Iron Bathtub
These two popular materials are quite different, although they may appear similar in shape or style.
Cast iron tubs are very heavy, while acrylic tubs are light (on average, cast iron is over 300 pounds, and acrylic is 75 pounds—before adding water). Heavier tubs often require additional floor support, and some high-rise bathrooms may not adequately support cast iron tubs.
Acrylic tubs may mimic the appearance of cast iron tubs, but genuine cast iron has the added advantage of authenticity, timelessness, and richness.
Cast iron is a material that can literally last for decades or longer, and acrylic – while durable – will not stand the test of time as well as cast iron.
Both materials are fairly easy to clean, requiring regular light cleaning with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner. While acrylic tubs may scratch more easily than cast iron, they are less prone to chipping and cracks are easily repaired. (a feat more complicated in cast iron tubs).
Cast iron is known for its excellent thermal insulation properties. Acrylic also has excellent insulation properties, as non-porous surfaces are often warm to the touch (even when not filled with warm water), so both materials are good options for those who like to soak for extended periods of time.
Acrylic is much cheaper than cast iron, although it won't last as long.
Are acrylic bathtubs durable?
Here's the big one: How long will an acrylic tub last?
Many high-end acrylic tubs are reinforced with fiberglass, making them more durable. Overall, acrylic is a durable material that will last for years. Plus, when the tub does get scratched, it's fairly easy to repair the scratches.
What shapes and sizes do acrylic bathtubs come in?
Due to the malleability of the material, acrylic tubs are available in virtually every shape, size, and configuration, and every system imaginable. Choose an acrylic tub for easy updating in a new or existing setting; a corner tub to free up space in the bathroom; an acrylic clawfoot tub (or really any acrylic freestanding bathtub) to make a striking statement; or any tub in this versatile material as a low-maintenance, high-style option.
If it’s long, deep soaks that you crave, an acrylic soaking tub will do the trick for you, but you can also choose tubs with jets – air, water, or a combination of both – for an invigorating or soothing experience.
Cleaning and Maintenance of Acrylic Bathtubs
Acrylic tubs may be low-maintenance and easy to clean, but there are cleaning products and processes that can extend the life of your tub—and some shorten it.
How to clean and maintain an acrylic tub:
The good news: There is no special acrylic tub cleaner that absolutely must be used to preserve the longevity of your tub. Cleaning an acrylic tub is easy: just use mild, non-abrasive cleaners and materials regularly (to avoid scratches). Try filling the tub with warm water and a few drops of dish soap, let it sit, then wipe and rinse with a soft cloth or sponge. Clean the outside of the tub with dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner.
To keep your tub shiny (and make it easier to clean), apply automotive wax a few times a year for a just-off-the-showroom-floor gleam and water resistance.
Will acetone damage an acrylic tub?
Acetone and acetone-containing cleaners are not recommended for use on acrylic tubs. Avoid using any solvents on the tub to prevent damage. If spill occurs, rinse immediately.
Will baking soda scratch an acrylic tub?
No, it won't; in fact, it's a good gentle scrubber for more stubborn stains. Sprinkle baking soda on the wet interior of the tub, spray with water, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently scrub with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. (Do not use the rough side of the sponge to clean the acrylic tub.)
Other frequently asked questions pertaining to acrylic bath restoration and refurbishment:
How to repair an acrylic tub:
Acrylic tub repairs are fairly simple and inexpensive. After you've thoroughly cleaned the tub, sand the scratches with a piece of fine-grit sandpaper, then sand the surrounding area with car wax - and watch the scratches disappear. Minor surface scratches can be removed with toothpaste and a damp cloth.
Can an acrylic tub be resurfaced or painted?
Acrylic tubs may be reglazed or relined professionally, but that can get expensive. Visit your favorite home improvement store for a DIY acrylic bathtub refinishing kit to restore your tub all by yourself!
A great feature of acrylic is that it is available in a variety of fade-resistant colors to compliment each color scheme. If you are tired of the color of the tub, you can choose to paint it with two-part epoxy paint. Be sure to protect all surrounding tiles and materials before painting the tub, or you could damage the rest of the bathroom.
Can you tile an acrylic tub?
Most acrylic tubs won't bond securely to the tile, causing the tile to peel off and potentially voiding the tub's warranty. You can choose to install a tub surround around the tub—rather than glued to the tub itself—as an alternative.
What’s the best brand of the acrylic tub?
When it comes to acrylic, excellent quality can make all the difference in the durability, longevity, appearance, and comfort of the tub. Luxurious, streamlined, artistically sculpted freestanding T&W acrylic tubs are our personal favorites; they’re silky-smooth, striking, durable, and affordable. Check out the full collection here to find your new relaxation spot!
Also on our T&W website for awesome acrylic tubs: every conceivable shape; striking, sumptuous, and colorful acrylic tubs b; and a line of versatile, comfortable acrylic tubs.