Acrylic Vs. Cast Iron Tub: Which is better?
Finding a new tub might be difficult because there are so many alternatives. However, the differences between acrylic and cast-iron tubs are so obvious that choosing between them should be simple once you consider your design, budget, and long-term aspirations.
What is an Acrylic Bathtub?
Acrylic tubs are relatively lightweight, allowing them to be installed on any level of the home without the need for additional floor supports. They are built of vacuum-formed acrylic sheets that are often bonded with fiberglass to increase durability. They come in many different styles, sizes, forms, and even colors. They are often inexpensive, simple to maintain, and simple to repair if any damage occurs.
What is a Cast Iron Bathtub?
While the lifespan of all bathtubs varies, cast iron tubs are well-known for their durability, longevity, and ability to retain heat better than any other tub. These tubs begin as hot, liquid iron that is put into molds and chilled before hardening into a bathtub that will last several generations. Cast iron bathtubs are often coated with enamel and fire-polished after cooling for a smooth, ageless appearance.
Let's dive deep into the significant differences between these bathtub materials so you can make the right decision.
It's safe to say that both acrylic and cast-iron tubs are designed to last for many years.
Cast-iron bathtubs are extremely durable, and with proper care, they can last for decades. They require less maintenance than acrylic and may be the best option for high-traffic bathrooms.
Acrylic bathtubs are also durable, but not unbreakable. If not properly maintained or fitted, cheap acrylic bathtubs can warp and crack.
Though both of these raw materials are mixed for durability, the inclusion of iron in cast iron bathtubs provides them a durability advantage over acrylic bathtubs. When we compare the two tubs in terms of durability, cast iron is the winner.
Cast iron tubs are thought to be easier to clean than acrylic tubs. This is because abrasive cleansers can cause discoloration and damage to acrylic tubs.
Both types of bathtubs must be cleaned after each use, however cast iron tubs will not stain or chip easily. Rust stains can also be easily removed from cast iron or acrylic tubs. In addition, unlike acrylic, the enamel coating on iron tubs is robust and stain resistant. These cleaners won’t have an effect on cast iron tubs.
Acrylic tubs are easier to repair than cast iron tubs when the surface is damaged. Chipped enamel on cast iron tubs is difficult to repair because it must be done promptly before the iron underneath rusts.
Cast iron tubs are durable and long-lasting, but they are more expensive up front. New cast iron bathtubs can be bought for as low as $400. It can also cost up to $2,500 for attractive clawfoot tubs, with a median price of $1,500; luxurious jetted tubs cost up to $3,500. If you prefer a lengthy, hot soak and are willing to invest on the last bathtub you'll ever buy, cast iron may be the best option.
When choosing a new bath, acrylic tubs are by far the least expensive alternative. Online shop sells a simple, low-cost bathtub for as little as $258 for a 60" rectangular tube. A fashionable freestanding soaker design costs $800 or more, while premium jetted baths begin around $900. If you prefer optional seats and multiple jets and have a limited budget, an acrylic bathtub may be for you.
In general, cast iron tubs are often more expensive and can cost two to four times as much as their acrylic counterparts. This price includes not just the tub but also the tub's installation. However, for some homeowners, this is money well spent because cast iron tubs are more durable.
If you love warm baths, you should consider the heat retention of acrylic vs. cast iron tubs. A cast iron tub absorbs and transmits heat to its surrounds faster than an acrylic tub. When compared to cast iron tubs, an acrylic tub can keep up and does not allow water to turn cold quickly. Cast iron, copper, acrylic, and stone are some of the greatest tub materials for water retention. If you enjoy long hot baths, a higher-end acrylic tub will provide the best results.
All in all, acrylic tubs are better at insulating and can keep the water warm for longer.
Weight & Ease of Installation
Because acrylic is very light, acrylic tubs is lighter than cast iron tubs. Acrylic tubs can be as low as 50 pounds. This makes it easy to transport and, more importantly, it eliminates the need for you to support your floor before installing the tub.
Cast iron tubs, on the other hand, weigh more than 300 pounds for a medium-sized tub. As a result, if the tub is to be built on the upper floor, your floor will need to be reinforced (1st floor and above).
To sum up, cast iron tubs are heavier than acrylic tubs. This is why the former charges more for installation. Furthermore, due to the weight of cast iron tubs, they may require additional floor support when installed.
Acrylic vs. Cast Iron Tub Summary
Without a doubt, selecting between acrylic and cast iron tubs can be challenging. They each have advantages that the other does not. We've listed the advantages and disadvantages of acrylic bathtubs and cast-iron bathtubs in this area to help you decide which is the better option.
- numerous colors and styles to choose from
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Affordable price range
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Good heat retention
- More affordable
- Cracks are easy to repair
- It may not have that high-end feel like porcelain or cast iron
- Less resistant to scratches and cracks
- Has a shorter lifespan than cast iron tubs
- More sensitive to abrasive cleaners
Cast Iron bathtubs
- Longer life span than acrylic tubs
- More durable than acrylic tubs
- More resistant to scratches and cracks
- Easier to maintain
- Modern and vintage designs available
- Additional support is needed if installed on an upper floor
- More expensive than acrylic or fiberglass tubs
- Heavier and not as easy to install
- Not as good at insulating heat
- Repairing cracks is more difficult.
Acrylic tubs are lightweight, simple to install, inexpensive, and extremely customized. Because of the weight, cast iron bathtubs are heavier and more difficult to install. Additionally, they do not come in a wide range of shapes, which limits customization. However, cast iron bathtubs are more durable and expensive than acrylic bathtubs.
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