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Acrylic vs. Cast Iron Bathtubs: Which is Best for my Bathroom?

Acrylic vs cast iron tub

Two of the most popular bathtub materials are acrylic and cast iron, largely due to their long-lasting qualities and luxurious ability to uplift the appearance of a bathroom space. Their popularity and long list of attributes naturally brings up the acrylic vs. cast iron tubs comparison. 

If you’re looking to complete a bathroom remodel in the near future, you’ll need to determine which option is best for your home: a cast iron or acrylic tub.

What is an Acrylic Bathtub?

Acrylic tubs are typically lightweight, meaning they can be placed on any level of the home without the need for additional supports in the floor. They are made from vacuum-formed sheets of acrylic and often reinforced with fiberglass to improve durability. 

They are available in a wide array of designs, shapes, sizes, and even colors. They are usually affordable, easy to maintain, and easy to repair should any damage occur. 

What is a Cast Iron Bathtub?

While all bathtubs’ lifespans can vary, cast iron tubs are well-known for their durability, lifespan, and ability to retain heat better than any other tub. Beginning with iron ore, the metal is melted and molded into the shape of the desired tub. 

These tubs tend to be pricier due to their expensive material base, often giving bathrooms a high-class, vintage look while also being timeless. They are also very heavy—in fact, they require floor supports to be safely installed. 

Comparing Acrylic and Cast Iron Tubs

Both materials have their list of pros and cons, but overall they are both excellent options, making the cast iron vs. acrylic bathtub argument difficult. 

The determining factor between the two usually boils down to aesthetic preferences and any budgetary constraints of the consumer. To help you narrow down your bathtub choice, consider the following factors:

Materials

Acrylic tubs are reinforced with fiberglass which makes them resistant to cracking and chipping. Due to the flexibility of material, acrylic tubs come in a wide range of shapes and colors. Cast iron tubs, however, are poured into molds which can limit the design.

However, since the base of a cast iron tub is metal, they are practically impossible to crack or dent.

Maintenance

Cast iron tubs are extremely durable and require less upkeep than an acrylic tub to keep them in good shape. They should be cleaned weekly using a mixture of soap and water and a soft sponge or cloth. Acrylic tubs are very durable, but more prone to staining over time. Therefore, acrylic tubs need to be cleaned frequently

Cost

If budget is a major factor in your decision, acrylic is going to be the better bathtub option for you. Acrylic tubs are among the most affordable types of bathtubs, while cast iron tubs are among the most expensive. Cast iron tubs can range between two and four times more expensive than an acrylic tub. 

The higher cost of a cast iron tub accounts for not only the material, but the installation. Cast iron tubs require floor reinforcement in order to be installed correctly. Meanwhile, acrylic tubs are one of the easiest types of tubs to install. 

Heat Retention

Insulated acrylic tubs do a good job of retaining heat when compared to some other materials within a similar price range, but cannot compare to cast iron tubs which are known for their ability to absorb and transfer heat, keeping your bath water warm for longer than most other materials.

Which Bathtub Material Should I Choose?

Long Baths

Acrylic tubs are perfect for homeowners seeking customization such as a unique bathtub size, shape, or design, affordability, and a quick installation process. Cast iron tubs are excellent choices for homeowners wanting something more high-end and durable for their bathroom, and don’t mind paying for those added benefits. 

Let’s Install Your New Bathtub

At Long Baths™, we provide quality materials and unparalleled craftsmanship because the quality you notice often comes from the details you don’t. If you’re looking to upgrade your bathtub or get a tub replacement, call or visit us online today to get a quote or schedule a free, in-home consultation!

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