Both acrylic and steel baths have their pros and cons, which make them close contenders. When compared in terms of ease of installation, price, and style, acrylic bathtubs are the clear winner, but when it comes to durability, steel enamel bathtubs have the upper hand. Read on to discover more differences.
Acrylic bathtubs are made with a layer of 4 to 8 mm thick Acrylic sheet reinforced from the underneath with wooden or steel frames. The central base of an acrylic bathtub is further supported using a wooden base. After this, fiberglass is used to reinforce the entire bathtub.
A single sheet of steel is used to make a steel bathtub, which later gets pressed into shape and sprayed with enamel to form a coat. Afterward, a furnace is used to treat the tub and make the enamel react with steel. This creates a strong and durable non-porous coating on the bathtub.
While acrylic tubs are cooler to touch, they are good at retaining heat. You thus will not have to keep refilling the bath with warm water to conserve optimal heat.
On the other hand, steel is a good conductor and dissipates more heat, making water cool down faster. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take a lot of time for the bathtub to warm up when warm water is added.
Porosity and Corrosion
Acrylic is inert and doesn’t corrode or allow bacteria, mold, and germs to fester or damage, stain, or eat the bathtub’s surface.
Steel also doesn’t allow bacteria, germs, or mold to fester in. However, enamel tubs are prone to rusting in case of water leakage, especially in areas where chipping has occurred.
Acrylic tubs aren’t good at resisting scratches. However, you can minimize the scratches by polishing and maintaining the surface.
Conversely, steel bathtubs are reinforced using hard-wearing enamel that significantly resists scratches.
Style and Design Options
Acrylic bathtubs are cast from molds. Hence, they are readily available in a variety of attractive designs, shapes, and sizes. You can, therefore, have your acrylic bathtub customized to match the décor of your bathroom when considering bathroom remodeling.
Unfortunately, steel bathtubs don’t offer the same diversity in design. Steel baths are normally pressed into shape and hence come in sharp and flat or mildly-curved designs.
Acrylic Vs. Steel Bathtubs: Which is the Best?
If you’re looking to save money, an acrylic bathtub is probably the better option. You’ll also enjoy better heat retention, insignificant corrosion, and a chance to choose from a variety of design options to match your bathroom vanities. If you want a scratch-free, durable bathtub and money is no object to you, a steel bath is a great choice. However, if you don’t like the idea of having cold steel in your bathroom, a heavy-duty acrylic tub may be the way to go.