What is an Acrylic Tub: Beginners Guide to Acrylic Tubs [Updated 2021] (2022)

Purchasing a new bathtub can be an exciting, yet daunting challenge. Depending on your budget, space and style; you will need to start researching the basics. The acrylic bathtub is the most common and affordable bathtub on the market today. This article will discuss everything you need to know about an acrylic bathtub before you choose which tub will be the centerpiece in your bathroom.

Jump to a specific question:

  • What is an acrylic tub
  • Shapes, materials, and sizes
  • Acrylic vs Fiberglass tubs
  • Acrylic vs Cast Iron
  • How to maintain an Acrylic tub

What is an acrylic tub?

An acrylic bathtub is a bathtub formed by vacuum sheets of acrylic, which is then reinforced with fiberglass. The advantages of this design method is that you are afforded all the positives of fiberglass with the acrylic reinforcing the negatives, mainly the less than ideal durability of fiberglass as a material.

Fiberglass is also a porous material, which means it will absorb water regularly, leading to warping and lower lifespan of the material. With the inclusion of acrylic, an acrylic bathtub is no longer porous with the sheets providing enough of a barrier between the water and the bathtub itself.

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Shapes, materials sizes, and weights of acrylic tubs

As it is essentially a reinforced fiberglass bathtub, acrylic bathtubs enjoy a plethora of designs, shapes, and sizes. The three most common shapes would be your typical alcove design, which functions as the standard drop-in design with an average size of 60 inches in length, 32 inches wide and 18 inches tall.

This is followed by the oval or other circular shapes which are an increasingly popular freestanding design with an average of 60 inches in length, 41 inches in width and a height of 24 inches. For those who want a more luxurious setup, there exists the corner bathtub which takes the shape of a full square and predominately is the starting point for a hot tub like a bathtub.

What is an Acrylic Tub: Beginners Guide to Acrylic Tubs [Updated 2021] (2)

The average size of a corner bathtub is usually 60 inches long, 60 inches wide with a height of 22 inches. However, since Acrylic is so readily flexible as well as affordable, there are many shapes you can manufacture that fit anywhere between these three spectrum without an enormous hit on your budget.

Also, since fiberglass is already a lightweight material, the added reinforcement with colored acrylic does not add too much additional weight, making this material the lightest on the market, allowing for much easier install and repair jobs down the line.

So, whether you want a traditional freestanding or a drop-in, an acrylic bathtub can easily be made to suit your needs at an affordable price.

(Video) Best Acrylic Tubs in 2020

Pros and Cons of an Acrylic Tubs

There are many pros and cons of acrylic tubs. All depending on your unique situation, some of these advantages and disadvantages will carry more weight when considering purchasing a bathtub.

Pros of Acrylic Tubs

1. Lightweight

Since the base of the bathtub is made from fiberglass, acrylic bathtubs tend to be lighter than other materials on the market. The lightweight results in less stress on your bathroom floor as well as ease of install.

2. Affordable

These bathtubs tend to be cheaper as they are essentially reinforced fiberglass bathtubs. The flexibility in price point also comes from the fact that the material is lightweight, yet still quite durable, given the price point offered. Although acrylic bathtubs tend to be more expensive than fiberglass bathtubs, these bathtubs are still quite affordable-especially compared with other materials such as cast iron and porcelain.

The price point for a durable material that comes in so many distinct designs and sizes is a good reason for their popularity.

3. Flexibility in designs, shapes, and sizes

With the material being lightweight, acrylic bathtubs enjoy a multitude of different shapes, sizes, and designs. Since it is quite a deal cheaper to manufacture, at least when compared to other bathtub materials, acrylic offers the widest selection for an affordable price.

4. Durable

Even with the base being fiberglass, the acrylic reinforcement solves many of the issues with fiberglass bathtubs. Acrylic is non-porous, meaning that an acrylic bathtub will not absorb water, leading to a longer lifespan. The material is also more durable to heavy impacts and will not chip or crack.

(Video) ✅ Best Acrylic Bathtubs Reviews In 2022 ✨ Top Items Reviewed

5. Non-porous surface

As stated before, acrylic bathtubs do not have a porous surface, which means they will not absorb water and thus will not eventually warp like fiberglass does. The non-porous surface also means that it will benefit from a longer heat retention compared to fiberglass as well.

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Cons Of Acrylic Tubs

1. Surface is easily scratched

Unfortunately, while the material is durable to most physical abuse, acrylic tends to be considered a “softer” material and thus is highly susceptible to scratching. Avoid using harsh, abrasive cleaners when cleaning an acrylic bathtub to avoid permanent marks dotted through it.

2. Lower lifespan

Since it is one of the most affordable options on the market, acrylic bathtubs also tend to carry the shortest lifespan. You can expect roughly 10-15 years of use out of your acrylic bathtub before you should consider replacing it due to heavy discoloration or cracking.

3. More expensive than fiberglass

While it an incredibly versatile bathtub material, acrylic still ends up being quite a great deal more expensive than fiberglass. This is only an issue if the drawbacks of acrylic bathtubs are not in keeping with your needs. Since their overall lifespan is a great deal lower, one should consider saving for other materials with more longevity especially with prices as competitive as they are.

Acrylic vs cast iron bathtub: important differences

For the price point, cast iron bathtubs are a great deal better than acrylic. Made from iron coated with enamel, these bathtubs have excellent heat retention, easy maintenance, are highly resistant to scratching and chipping, are aesthetically more vibrant and enjoy an enormously long lifespan. Initially, the only benefit that acrylic has over cast iron is the flexibility in shapes and designs as cast iron is a significantly heavier material to work with. Which comes to the primary drawback of cast iron-it’s weight.

(Video) Top 5 Best Acrylic Bathtub [Review] - Woodbridge/Standard Soaking/Acrylic Bathtub [2022]

Cast iron ends up being one of the heavier materials on the market, making it more difficult to install, and adding more stress on your bathroom floor-additional supports or reinforcing may be required to install a bathtub of this material in your home. When comparing the price points between the two, most cast iron bathtubs tend to be roughly twice the price of an acrylic bathtub, but considering the lifespan between the two, the cast iron bathtub tends to be a more worthwhile investment, so consider cast iron if your bathroom can handle the weight requirement.

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Acrylic vs fiberglass bathtub: important differences

Acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs share similarities as the core of an acrylic bathtub is a fiberglass bathtub initially. This means that both bathtubs are lightweight, easy to install, come in a multitude of shapes and can be repaired easily. That is where the similarities end as fiberglass is a porous material that is prone to chipping and cracking from heavy impacts and will warp over time. As the material is also considerably cheaper, there are limited color options for fiberglass bathtubs as they don’t tend to be that popular-coming in mostly a very standard white color.

What is an Acrylic Tub: Beginners Guide to Acrylic Tubs [Updated 2021] (5)

Acrylic bathtubs on the other hand, come in a wide variety of colors, are much more durable to cracks and heavy impacts and most importantly, acrylic is a non-porous material. The tradeoff for these benefits is a heavier price tag with acrylic bathtubs usually placing at $100-200 more than a fiberglass bathtub of the same size. However, considering that fiberglass is a rather flimsy material with many drawbacks, an acrylic bathtub is well worth the additional price tag for a more durable material.

Are acrylic tubs easy to maintain?

On the whole, acrylic bathtubs are quite easy to maintain, although they will require more consistent maintenance when compared to other materials. Remember that acrylic bathtubs have a very soft surface, meaning they are highly sensitive to abrasive cleaners. The recommended cleaner for most situations would be either a mixture of vinegar and warm water, although dish soap is perfectly acceptable as well. Baking soda is another cleaner, but it will leave residual spots behind, so be mindful of that.

(Video) HOW TO REGLAZE a FIBERGLASS / ACRYLIC BATHTUB | Tub Reglazing & Refinishing Time Lapse | DP TUBS

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Always use a light brush with low bristles or even a toothbrush would be perfectly acceptable. Now, simply clean any problem spots at least once a week to prevent grime build up. Water spots will also show up regularly, along with hard water stains. Lemon or natural acidic products will help to remove those spots. Just remember that while it is easy, acrylic bathtubs will require more consistent maintenance throughout each week to prevent mold or stain build up.

An acrylic bathtub is a great starting point for a bathtub-it’s affordable, easy to clean, relatively durable and comes in a wide variety of designs and unique shapes. But the material doesn’t really have any longevity and it lacks aesthetic appeal, so down the road, it is highly suggested that you consider upgrading to a more lasting material like cast iron.

FAQs

What do I need to know about acrylic tubs? ›

Acrylic tubs are made of vacuum-formed sheets of acrylic, often reinforced with fiberglass for added durability. Since the material is inherently soft and supple, it's the perfect material for a large variety of tub shapes and sizes. Acrylic is lightweight, so it can be installed on any level of the home.

What is the lifespan of an acrylic tub? ›

Acrylic bathtubs are very easy to install and have a lifespan of 10-15 years.

What is an acrylic bathtub? ›

Acrylic tubs are made from clear plastic that is vacuum-formed and reinforced with fiberglass layers to increase durability. Due to their manufacturing process, acrylic tubs tend to be a bit more expensive than fiberglass tubs, but are far more affordable than a majority of bathtub materials.

Is acrylic a good tub material? ›

There are numerous benefits to selecting acrylic as your bathtub material. It will not absorb water and it will also retain heat from your bath which improves the efficiency of the bathtub. This material will stay glossy and stands up to both extensive cleaning and frequent use.

Can you use Clorox on acrylic tubs? ›

Can you use bleach on acrylic tubs? When it comes to cleaning bathrooms, bleach usually comes to mind. But like ammonia, bleach can damage acrylic tubs. In fact, many tub manufacturers warn against using bleach on acrylic bathtubs, and doing so could void the warranty on your tub.

How thick should a good acrylic bath be? ›

Most acrylic baths have a thickness of between 5-10mm. Double skinned acrylic baths are much more durable and will provide you with a reliable, robust product that will last longer as a result. Generally, baths that are at least 8mm thick are a good option to go for as they have less risk of cracking.

Will baking soda scratch acrylic tub? ›

Scrub the acrylic tub.

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into water and scrub the baking soda in the tub. The baking soda will form a bit of a paste as you clean the tub. Ensure that you're using a non-abrasive sponge or you may scratch the acrylic tub.

What type of tub lasts the longest? ›

Like solid-surface bathtubs, copper is recyclable and is typically more expensive than other materials, but it has the longest lifespan of all the tub materials. Stone resin: Similar to solid-surface bathtubs, stone resin bathtubs are made from a blend of resin and crushed natural stone.

Which tub is better acrylic or porcelain? ›

Acrylic is generally a much more durable material when compared to porcelain. Although porcelain tubs have a much harder surface and are more resistant to scratches when compared to acrylic, the harder surface is much more susceptible to cracks and chipping from heavy impacts.

Which is better fiberglass or acrylic tubs? ›

Bottom line is that acrylic is a stronger material than fiberglass. Acrylic tubs effectively resist wear and tear for years on end, while fiberglass is prone to scratching and cracking. Fiberglass also fades more quickly, especially if exposed to sunlight coming in through a window.

Do acrylic bathtubs yellow? ›

I'm not just talking about tubs with stains or grime buildup but the entire tub, or the material it is comprised of, actually turns yellow. It can happen to bathtubs made of acrylic, ABS, and fiberglass to a varying degree though ABS tends to turn a deeper yellow than the others.

Do acrylic bathtubs Flex? ›

Cons: Like Fiberglass, Acrylic tubs will also flex, which makes it less stable to stand on and the finish is prone to scratching as well, though not to the quality of fiberglass.

How do I get scratches out of my acrylic tub? ›

Squirt a small amount of toothpaste onto a sponge or washcloth, then rub the toothpaste over the scratches. Wipe the area clean with a damp sponge, rinsing thoroughly. The toothpaste both cleans the area and may buff out mild scratches.

How do you clean an acrylic tub without scratching it? ›

When it's time to clean, always use a terry cloth towel, soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the acrylic surface. Don't use abrasive scrubbing pads, steel wool or sponges, as they cause permanent damage to the acrylic material.

How much weight can an acrylic bathtub hold? ›

How Much Weight Can a Plastic Bathtub Hold? Plastic bathtubs, also known as acrylic bathtubs, can hold around 40-80 gallons or 333-667 pounds worth of water.

What brand of bathtub is best? ›

  • BEST OVERALL: WOODBRIDGE B1418-B/N-Drain &O Bathtub.
  • RUNNER UP: Vanity Art 59 x 30 Inches Freestanding Acrylic Bathtub.
  • BEST VALUE: KINGSTON BRASS VTDE603122L 60-Inch Acrylic Bathtub.
  • BEST WALK-IN: Empava EMPV-WIT373 52.5″ Freestanding Walk-in Bathtub.
  • BEST DROP-IN: American Standard 2422V002.011 Evolution Deep Tub.
Mar 15, 2022

What is the best height for a bathtub? ›

Shorter ones are great for tub/showers since you are not climbing over a tall rim on a daily basis. When used as a tub/shower we suggest to keep the height around 20". There is a difference between bathtub height and water height. The bath height is from the bathroom floor to the top of the tub rim - step over height.

What is the best material for a bathtub? ›

Porcelain Tubs. As the top two most common and popular bathtub materials, acrylic and porcelain are frequently compared to one another. Both are great options—it just depends on what you're looking for. Keep in mind that acrylic tubs are typically less expensive.

Which is better acrylic or porcelain bathtub? ›

Acrylic is generally a much more durable material when compared to porcelain. Although porcelain tubs have a much harder surface and are more resistant to scratches when compared to acrylic, the harder surface is much more susceptible to cracks and chipping from heavy impacts.

Which is better acrylic or fiberglass tub? ›

Bottom line is that acrylic is a stronger material than fiberglass. Acrylic tubs effectively resist wear and tear for years on end, while fiberglass is prone to scratching and cracking. Fiberglass also fades more quickly, especially if exposed to sunlight coming in through a window.

Will baking soda scratch acrylic tub? ›

Scrub the acrylic tub.

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into water and scrub the baking soda in the tub. The baking soda will form a bit of a paste as you clean the tub. Ensure that you're using a non-abrasive sponge or you may scratch the acrylic tub.

What is the best material for a bathtub? ›

Porcelain Tubs. As the top two most common and popular bathtub materials, acrylic and porcelain are frequently compared to one another. Both are great options—it just depends on what you're looking for. Keep in mind that acrylic tubs are typically less expensive.

Can I use magic eraser on acrylic tub? ›

Clean Magic Eraser Bath is safe to use on acrylic tubs, but definitely skip the bleach. If you're going to use a ready-made cleaner on your acrylic tub, carefully read the label to make sure it won't damage the tub's surface.

Why should you put dawn in your bathtub at night? ›

That's right: Grab your dish soap and a broom, and you might be as pleasantly surprised as we were to learn that Dawn is apparently just as effective at banishing bathtub scum as it is at removing all that grime and grease from your dishes and pans. Plus, this technique is equal parts simple and fast!

What is the best cleaner for an acrylic tub? ›

We recommend that you clean your acrylic bathing product made of Delta ProCrylic or Acrylic with Innovex Technology with non-abrasive soaps and cleaners, such as:
  • Dishwashing detergent.
  • Power Bathroom Cleaner.
  • CLR® Bath & Kitchen® Cleaner.
  • Formula 409® All-Purpose Cleaner.
  • Iron Out® Rust Stain Remover.

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