Which is better acrylic or porcelain bathtub? In this guide, we are going to do a comparison of acrylic vs porcelain bathtubs and help you figure out which one is better for your needs!
Two of the most popular materials used for making sanitary fixtures and bathroom components are acrylic and porcelain. Both are actually quite different in terms of their properties, but both look really good.
Installing a bathtub that’s made of either porcelain or acrylic in your bathroom is a worthwhile investment that’s going to yield dividends for a long time to come.
Both have major advantages and disadvantages, and you need to be careful about the main differences associated with each.
Acrylic Vs Porcelain Bathtubs (Which Is Better?)
Bathtubs that are made from acrylic simply have a layer of acrylic, also known as an acrylic finish, which is bonded over a fiberglass tub. On the other hand, porcelain bathtubs are simply iron bathtubs that have a coating of porcelain enamel.
Since one is made from iron and the other is made from fiberglass, it’s easy to deduce that porcelain bathtubs are much heavier than acrylic ones.
That’s not all; the porcelain material is also considerably harder and doesn’t bend easily. It has a much higher durability factor and is considerably more resistant to scratches.
However, you have to understand that due to their weight, they are a bit fragile and likely to break apart due to a strong crash or impact.
Even after production is completed, acrylic bathtubs are considerably less heavy than their porcelain counterparts. Acrylic bathtubs are more flexible when they are installed, and their placement is also much easier.
Any plumber will tell you that installing an acrylic bathtub is considerably easier when compared with porcelain bathtubs. They are lightweight, so you can easily manipulate or move them around as you like.
Their malleability also helps in production, as companies are able to produce acrylic tubs in a range of different sizes and shapes. On the other hand, porcelain bathtubs are not as malleable.
As a result, you won’t find them in many different shapes. When you factor in the size of the material as well, it’s easy to understand that these tubs are considerably more difficult to install. Expect to pay a much higher amount to your plumber for this.
Ability to Retain Heat
Porcelain tubs do not have the same ability to retain heat as their acrylic counterparts. Porcelain tubs are made by applying a layer of porcelain over the iron tub, as mentioned above.
Ultimately, this leads to a separate layer that creates a slight difference between the core material that forms the structure of the tub as well as the coating applied on it.
On the other hand, fiberglass bathtubs are bonded together with an acrylic finish, thus creating a seamless finish that has a much higher ability to retain heat.
To combat the heat retention issue of porcelain bathtubs, a number of companies have begun to release tubs with foam insulation.
If you buy a porcelain bathtub that has foam padding all around it, you can expect similar heat retention as compared to acrylic tubs.
Durability and Strength
You may have heard from multiple sources that porcelain is generally delicate, which is true. Acrylic has a much higher durability rating as compared to porcelain.
Even though the surface of porcelain tubs is much harder, you have to understand that the excessive weight makes it prone to breakage. The harder surface of porcelain can get cracked or scratched quite easily.
Acrylic, on the other hand, is more malleable and also much softer. As a result of that, it’s more capable of sustaining hard impacts without getting damaged or losing its natural shape.
It’s a great idea for people who are interested in buying something that’s going to last them a long while without requiring anything in terms of maintenance.
This one is easier to figure out. Due to the prolonged construction process, porcelain bathtubs are considerably more expensive than the acrylic bathtubs. There is a lot more material used in the process, and the costs are also higher.
You also have to understand that the maintenance costs of porcelain tubs is greater, and even installation is higher than acrylic. You might have heard quite a bit of fanfare around porcelain bathtubs, but a lot of it is just empty praise.
Porcelain bathtubs really don’t offer as much functionality as their acrylic counterparts. You will end up paying more for these tubs, but you won’t get equal value out of it.
The maintenance is similar for both kinds of tubs for the most part. Both of these need to be cleaned in a careful manner. You will want to use a microfiber cloth to ensure that the bathtub does not get scratched as a result.
The major difference between the two lies in the fact that acrylic bathtubs can be easily cleaned using any kind of cleaner or detergent.
On the other hand, you can’t expect to use these on porcelain bathtubs. You will want to create a diluted solution with vinegar in it, or just rely on some hand wash to clean it.
You have to remember not to use any steel wool or any kind of brush that has hard bristles, as that’s just going to cause permanent marks on your bathtub.
If you do not take care of your bathtubs and maintain them, they are simply going to wear out over the passage of time and you will notice a tinge of discoloration appearing as well.
How Popular Are Each?
In terms of their popularity and their ability to be resold, you have to understand that both are quite popular. Porcelain has not gone out of fashion as yet, and many people like to opt for porcelain bathtubs.
You can buy porcelain or acrylic bathtubs, whichever you prefer. In the end, it’s easy to understand that acrylic is a much more versatile option because of its durability and the fact that it is available in various sizes and shapes.
But, if you want the classic look, porcelain is a great choice. These are just a few major differences that you should know. And we hope our guide on acrylic vs porcelain bathtubs has helped you to choose the suitable one between the two!
Hello, my name is David Zal and I’m a plumber with more than 20 years of experience based in Englewood (Florida). I like to teach normal people how to make easy fixes in their homes. I believe that a lot can be achieved just with DYI and that’s why I started this blog.