Acrylic vs. Fiberglass Tub: What's The Difference?

When shopping around for bathtubs for seniors, you're bound to encounter a lot of possible options. They come with different features and materials and each of these details may offer something beneficial for the older adults in your home. For instance, both acrylic and fiberglass tubs offer something unique for your needs—but how do you make the right choice?

Are Acrylic Tubs or Fiberglass Tubs Better?

Let's take a look at fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs to see if there really is a difference between them and which among the two would be the better option for senior adults.

What Makes Acrylic Bathtubs Special?

Acrylic bathtubs are formed by using vacuumed sheets of acrylic, which is a type of plastic. These sheets are reinforced into fiberglass for extra strength. This design process gives you the best of both materials and addresses the negatives, making acrylic bathtubs more durable.

For tubs, acrylic adds an extra layer of protection to headrests, seats, model details, and whirlpool jets. Overall, acrylic tubs are very durable, more lightweight, and require less maintenance. However, because of the acrylic process, the tub might come with a higher price.

What Are The Best Features of Fiberglass Tubs?

Fiberglass is another reliable material you will commonly see in tubs. Fiberglass bathtubs are created from reinforced plastic, or interwoven glass strings, that were formed into the desired shape by heating them together. After the right size and shape are finally achieved, the fiberglass tub is set by spraying a resin gel coat.

If you are after affordability while still getting quality, fiberglass tubs will definitely satisfy you. Most of the time, fiberglass models are lightweight and the installation for your home bathtub will be quick and easy, too.

What Are The Similarities of Acrylic and Fiberglass Tubs?

If you think about it, acrylic and fiberglass tubs are highly similar. Here are some similarities interested buyers might notice:

  • Both tub materials use fiberglass at the core which results in a shiny finish.
  • Both acrylic and fiberglass tubs are lightweight and easy to install in any kind of bathroom. They are even amenable to being brought into two-story homes.
  • Though one can be more expensive than the other, the pricing for both these bathtubs is generally inexpensive and will not break your budget. Usually, distinct price differences rely more on the brands.
  • Both acrylic and fiberglass tubs are easy to clean and do not require particular maintenance instructions.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between an Acrylic vs Fiberglass Tub?

Though fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs have their similarities, they also have some unique differences. Here are some of them:

  • Fiberglass tubs are more sensitive than acrylic tub options. They can quickly fade and they are more prone to scratching and cracking. On the other hand, acrylic tubs come with unparalleled durability where chips, cracks, or color fading are very rare.
  • Though both of the tubs are easy to clean, fiberglass tubs are more sensitive to cleaning materials. Plus, if you do not clean them often or thoroughly enough, the tub's finish will stain, absorb water, and develop mildew.
  • If you are very particular about the budget, acrylic tubs tend to be around 0 more expensive than fiberglass models.
  • In terms of their base materials, fiberglass tubs are strings of glass covered by a gel coat mixture. On the other hand, acrylic tubs are heated plastic materials stretched over a mold.
  • Fiberglass tubs are easier to maintain. Small problems are easier to fix and you can purchase repair kits to use to deal with them. For acrylic tubs, you can also easily deal with scratches by using fine-grit sandpaper. For other problems, it will cost you a lot more to repair them.

How Many Years Does a Bath Tub Last?

Buying a bathtub for your home is quite an investment, so it is important to know how long you can use one. Of course, the life span of your bathtub can be influenced by how often they are used and how well owners take care of them.

If you have a fiberglass tub, it has some negatives that might take a few things off of its life. Firstly, it has poor durability and is prone to cracks. Its finish is soft and easily penetrable. Plus, the material is quite too flexible. Because of this, the average lifespan of a fiberglass bathtub is two to five years.

On the other hand, acrylic tubs shine with their durability. Because of this, the average life span of an acrylic tub is 10 to 15 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my fiberglass tub look new?

Pour undiluted white vinegar into a clean, empty spray bottle. Spray all of your tub's surfaces, including cracks and crevices. Wet the sponge with some water first and sprinkle it with baking soda before scrubbing away stubborn stains in hard-to-reach spots like underneath faucets or drain pipes. Rinse well after use so that no traces remain on any surface area.

Can you fix a cracked fiberglass tub?

Minor cracks and spider cracking can be repaired with a fiberglass bathtub repair kit. Larger cracks up to 16 inches can be repaired with a bathtub inlay kit.

How do you fix a hairline crack in an acrylic tub?

You can easily fix a hairline crack by mixing a two-part polyester filler and applying it along your crack with a rubber spreader. Ensure that you clean out both ends of the cracks as well and fill them in completely so they're sealed up tight. Let this dry for at least 24 hours before mounting anything to make sure wet adhesive doesn't interfere with installation.

Is it OK to use bleach on acrylic tub?

A walk-in tub is safer than a traditional bathtub because of its design; you can enter the water over a low threshold and sit in the tub, so there's less chance of slipping and falling.

Do plumbers help install bathtubs?

Never use bleach near an acrylic tub; not only will you void its warranty but also damage the surface finish by exposing it to chemicals. Using softer materials like cloths or squeegees can help protect against scratches caused by hard scrubbing which could be harmful over time in high traffic areas like showers and sinks.

Final Thoughts: Should You Pick Acrylic vs Fiberglass Tubs?

Both fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs offer affordable bathroom solutions for your home. At the end of the day, the decision lies in your preferred design, budget, and longevity commitment.

Learn about How to Get Yellow Stains Out of a Fiberglass Tub.

For more tips and guides on choosing the best tub materials, explore Senior Strong today!

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