10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

This article examines several high-quality bathtub materials with their respective benefits. Only the best bathtub materials will be recommended
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Last updatedLast updated: September 08, 2021
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Choosing the right bathtub for your bathroom is a crucial process. You probably have the desired style, color, and size in mind that will complement your style, beautify your bathroom and meet your bathing needs.

However, before choosing a bathtub, you must consider a very crucial factor – the bathtub material. Considering the bathtub material is vital because it directly affects the durability, appearance, heat retention, weight, and many more.

This article will carefully discuss the properties of the 10 common materials used to manufacture bathtubs. This is to help you make a conscious decision as to which material adequately meets your budget, style, and home.

Acrylic

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Acrylic tubs are one of the most popular options thanks to their durability, versatility, low cost, and wide range of designs. The acrylic bathtub is manufactured from vacuum-formed acrylic sheets reinforced with fiberglass to guarantee its durability.

Acrylic bathtubs are waterproof, relatively lightweight, and very easy to install.

Pros

  • Non-porous surface
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Available in various sizes, shapes, and colors
  • Surface is repairable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Acrylic is quite expensive compared to fiberglass
  • Stress point must be adequately strengthened during installation
  • The surface scratches easily when cleaned with abrasive cleaners.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is the cheapest bathtub material you can get on the market. The fiberglass bathtub is produced through a combination of fiberglass reinforcement and polyester resin. Fiberglass tubs are lightweight and also less durable compared to other types of materials

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Affordable
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • An ideal option for a tub/shower combination
  • Easily repaired

Cons

  • Less durable compared to other materials
  • Limited variety of color
  • Prone to scratches and chips
  • Finishing fades easily

Cast Iron

If what you need is a classic bathtub material then enameled cast iron is your best bet. Cast iron tubs such as that of the M Magnus Home Product are very strong, durable, and heavy. Cast iron tubs are produced using molded iron coated with porcelain enamel. Investing in cast iron tubs is an investment that will last, however, the major disadvantage to this bathtub is the weight.

As a result of its weight, cast iron runs are difficult to transport and install. Not just that, the bathroom flooring may need additional structural reinforcement to hold the cast iron tub weight.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Highly resistant to crushing and chipping
  • Impressive hear retention
  • Timeless look
  • Wide range of color and design

Cons

  • Very heavy

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Porcelain Enameled Steel

Porcelain-enameled steel is also a common and very affordable bathtub option. Porcelain-enameled steel is produced using steel sheets coated with porcelain enamel. Porcelain-enameled steel bathtubs are quite heavier than fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs but not as heavy as enameled cast iron bathtubs.

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Available in standard sizes of 60 by 30 inches

Cons

  • Limited variety of shapes and color
  • Poor heat retention
  • The surface can dent or chip when objects fall on it
  • Produces noise if not insulated

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Stone

In terms of luxury, style, durability, heat retention, stone bathtubs are superior to acrylic bathtubs. Stone bathtubs offer high-end appeal and are also incredible investments.

Stone bathtubs are manufactured using a variety of stones such as granite, marble, onyx, basalt, travertine, and sandstone basalt.

Its durability, heat retention, and organic feel are the alluring features of stone bathtubs. However, they are quite expensive and heavy. Due to their weight, additional structural support may be needed to hold the weight of stone bathtubs.

Pros

  • High-end investment
  • Natural look
  • Durable
  • Sturdy
  • Custom-ordered

Cons

  • Additional support required
  • Very heavy
  • High-maintenance

Stone Resin

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Stone Resin is one of the best and commonest bathtub materials you can get on the market. It is made from the combination of polymer resin and natural stone; stone resin bathtubs have a loss of class and luxury.

If you’re environmentally conscious, getting stone resin bathtubs manufactured from materials that are 100 % recyclable won’t be a problem. On a structural level, these bathtubs are durable, strong, and heavy. That’s not all, the stone resin material is also very cheap and affordable relative to stone bathtubs made out of travertine or marble.

Pros

  • Eco-Friendly
  • Durable
  • Luxurious aesthetic
  • High heat retention
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Heavy
  • May need structural floor support.

Copper

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Copper bathtubs as an option are not often used in bathrooms but it is still a good choice of material. Copper bathtubs offer elegance, and luxury aesthetics to most bathrooms while also adding to the feeling of warmth due to their color.

Structurally, copper bathtubs are very durable and naturally resistant to scratches and dents compared to other types of materials. Even if scratches occur it naturally fades away as copper is a natural attribute of changing color with time.

However, on the downside, copper bathtubs are quite expensive due to the expensive materials used and the expensive expert craftsmanship that is needed to construct copper bathtubs.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Resistant to mold, bacteria, and scratches
  • Durable
  • Aesthetic appeal

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Rare and difficult to find
  • Limited variety of sizes, models, and shape

Wood

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Wooden bathtubs give a bathroom a unique and rich look. A wooden bathtub will always add beauty and attractiveness to any bathroom. However, wooden bathtubs are very expensive and liable to cracks with time.

Wooden bathtubs also come in different designs and shapes thanks to the versatile and flexible nature of wood. In comparison with other types of bathtubs, wooden bathtubs are usually deeper and larger.

Some of the woods used in the construction of wooden bathtubs include walnut, cherry, African or Honduran teak, maple and ash, cherry.

Pros

  • Custom ordered
  • Natural look
  • High-end investment

Cons

  • High-maintenance
  • Expensive

Cast Polymer

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Cast polymer bathtubs have the appearance of marble, granite, and onyx. Cast polymer bathtub materials consist of solid surface materials and engineered natural stone. These bathtubs are made by molding together resins, minerals, and polymeric materials to forge a solid material. The solid material that is formed is very similar to solid-surface countertops like Corian. After molding, the tubs are then coated with a gel coat for proper finishing

Cast polymer materials are a cheap choice for bathroom remodeling and renovation. The bathtubs come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and designs. Unfortunately, a major drawback of cast polymer bathtubs is that their surfaces become fragile with time. As a result, cast polymer bathtubs can crack given adequate use. So if you are looking to get this kind of tub, you must always monitor and replace it whenever necessary.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Wide variety of shapes, designs, and color
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Resistant to stain
  • Scratches and chips can be easily buffed out.

Cons

  • Relatively durable (not the best in terms of durability)
  • Wearing a gel coat can result in unbearable damage.

Ceramic Tiles

10 Best Bathtub Materials: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Ceramic tiles are thin and slim chunks of inorganic materials (usually clay) that are solidified by oven firing and coated with some type of glaze. Ceramic tile material is a great choice for bathtubs because of its durability, ease of cleaning, and ability not to harbor germs.

Ceramic tiles are relatively high-maintenance bathtubs that offer a wide range of sizes, designs, and colors. However, the unevenness of individual tiles and grout sometimes makes it uncomfortable on bare skin.

As a result of its wide variety of designs and shapes, individual ceramic tiles must be laid on a readied surface using the ideal trout and mortar.

Pros

  • Wide variety of designs, shapes, and color

Cons

  • Not quite simple to install
  • Can be uncomfortable to the bare skin
  • High maintenance
  • Expensive

What is the best material for a bathtub?

It will be difficult to categorically pronounce a material as the best for bathtubs. This is because individual preference will always come into play when choosing a bathtub for your bathroom.

Therefore, for you to get the best material for your bathtub, you need to evaluate the pros and cons of these common materials. Then, you can now choose one that best suits your bathing needs and style.

So, if what you need is an affordable, lightweight, and durable bathtub, fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs are your best bet. On the other hand, if what you need is a bathtub that is heavy, durable, with high heat retention, then the cast iron, stone, and stone resin will be ideal for you. But, if you want something classy and luxurious, the wooden and copper bathtub will fit your style perfectly.

Conclusion

A lot of people would agree that the best bathtub material is relatively light, durable, mildew resistant, retains heat adequately, and is very easy to clean. Above that, the best bathtub material must meet your desired style and budget.

However, getting a bathtub that meets all these requirements is usually next to impossible. Therefore, you need to adequately evaluate the pros and cons of various bathtub materials to see the one that best fits your requirement.

All of the materials discussed above are reliable and of good quality for your bathtubs and you are sure to find one that meets your bathing and aesthetics needs.

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