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What Causes a Fiberglass Tub to Crack?

Written By: Nathan Justice
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: June 30, 2021
Last updated: November 11, 2023

Fiberglass tubs often crack from excessive pressure on the surface, poor maintenance, and improper fixture installation. Repairs vary based on the severity of the defect. For example, stress cracks resulting from heavy surface impact are easy to repair, but hairline cracks and holes stemming from poor maintenance cost hundreds to restore.

3 Common Causes of Fiberglass Tub Cracks

Several issues can cause your fiberglass tub to crack, but they generally boil down to:

1. Heavy Impact

Dropping heavy objects will leave stress cracks on your fiberglass tub. Accidents often happen to those who place decorative items like statuettes and scented candles on their tub surround. Luckily, shallow stress cracks require minimal repairs.

If a senior relative or disabled household member uses your walk-in tub regularly, get rid of all knick-knacks and decorative items. Yes, they create a cozy atmosphere. However, these hazards increase the risk of accidents for your mobility-impaired loved ones.

2. Use of Improper Cleaning Supplies

Consistently using the same harmful, abrasive cleaners on your fiberglass tub will gradually weaken the surface, thus leaving it prone to cracks. Plus, harsh chemicals cause glossy fiberglass to fade. Remember: Fiberglass tubs have a fragile white, brilliant surface.

Fortunately, you can avoid these issues by using natural cleaners. Instead of bleach or generic chemicals, use vinegar and baking soda. Mix these two, then apply on the tub with a clean sponge and microfiber cloth.

3. Poor Installation

Walk-in tubs require additional support underneath to withstand daily usage. Otherwise, the surface would crack. 

These issues often appear in cheap DIY tubs, so avoid them. In fact, a DIY approach has fewer upfront fees, but it also poses a significant risk to the user. It’s best to call a professional if you do not have prior experience.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are common causes of cracks in fiberglass tubs?

Common causes of cracks in fiberglass tubs include heavy impacts, frequent use, age-related wear and tear, or improper installation.

Can changes in temperature cause a fiberglass tub to crack?

Yes, extreme and sudden changes in temperature can cause the fiberglass material to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracks.

Is it possible to repair a cracked fiberglass tub?

Yes, small cracks in a fiberglass tub can often be repaired with a fiberglass repair kit, though larger cracks may require professional assistance.

Does your white fiberglass tub look yellowish and stained? Senior Strong can help. Check our step-by-step guide on restoring your fiberglass tub’s brilliant white glow.

Never delay tub repairs!  Allowing senior relatives to use cracked fiberglass tubs poses several risks. In fact, even small stress cracks compromise the overall security and integrity of your walk-in tub. Plus, leaving cracks unaddressed will only lead to severe, pricier issues.
Senior Strong shares that routine cleaning plays a paramount role in maintaining your tub’s overall quality. Refer to our comprehensive guide on cleaning textured fiberglass tubs.

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Nathan Justice manages community outreach programs and forums that help many senior citizens. He completed a counseling program at the University of Maryland’s Department of Psychology.
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