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Steel vs Acrylic Baths: What’s the Difference?

Steel Vs Acrylic Baths

Choosing a bathtub involves more than just selecting a design. The shape of the bathtub is important, but so is the material. This leads to one of the most frequently asked questions in stores: “Which is better, a steel bathtub or an acrylic bathtub?”. To answer this question, we wrote this blog post. In it, we discuss the pros and cons of each material, including temperature retention, strength, and maintenance.

Acrylic Baths

Acrylic is a high-quality plastic with many advantages. It’s not only shatterproof, but it can also be painted in almost any color. Moreover, it’s relatively inexpensive to produce. These excellent qualities make it a suitable material for bathtubs. However, some people have reservations about acrylic bathtubs because earlier models made from this material were not as sturdy as the newer ones.

What Are The Advantages Of An Acrylic Bath?

Indeed, acrylic baths have many advantages that make them a popular choice. Here are the main reasons:

  • Acrylic baths are less expensive to purchase because they are easier (and therefore cheaper) to produce. For instance, acrylic baths can be mass-produced much more efficiently than steel baths.
  • These baths are non-porous, which makes cleaning them a breeze.
  • The material is warmer to the touch than steel, which can sometimes feel unpleasantly cold, especially in winter. Moreover, the bath allows the water to maintain its initial temperature for about an hour.
  • Newer baths are reinforced and come with a wooden skirt that ensures they are stronger and prevents warping. Some acrylic bathtubs have layers of resin that make them comparable in strength to steel.
  • Acrylic baths are durable, making them particularly suitable for bathrooms that see frequent use, such as family bathrooms. In addition, they can withstand impacts well with minimal damage. Chips, scratches, and cracks can be repaired on-site with lacquers and repair agents.
  • The design options are virtually limitless. They come in a wide range of colors and designs and, thanks to modern manufacturing methods, can look just as beautiful as bathtubs made from materials other than plastic.
  • Moreover, the material is flexible, which makes it easier to mold into various shapes. Consequently, this flexibility opens up more possibilities in bath design.

What Are The Disadvantages Of An Acrylic Bathtub?

Despite its advantages, there are also some disadvantages:

  • Despite being a sturdy material, there is a chance that cracks or holes will appear if heavy objects fall on it. This damage is not always repairable.
  • Acrylic baths, due to the nature of the material, will always bend slightly even when the bath is installed correctly. As previously mentioned, this is less likely to happen in newer models thanks to improvements in the manufacturing process. Still, some people may find this off-putting.
  • Acrylic can discolor over the years from exposure to UV light, as well as some chemicals in cleaning products.
  • Acrylic bathtubs are not 100 percent recyclable. This means they are not ideal from an environmental standpoint.
  • In addition, acrylic baths do not offer sufficient resistance to high temperatures. Plastic melts at 160° C. Under the influence of a liquid that is too hot, the material can soften.
    Incidentally, the material is also sensitive to alcohol and powder products. Therefore, it is important to avoid using aggressive chemicals.

Steel Vs Acrylic Baths: What's The Difference?

Steel Baths

Long before the existence of acrylic baths, baths were only available in steel and cast iron. Steel is popular because it is a hard material made from iron. It is widely used in the construction of buildings, machinery, cars, and ships.

What Are The Benefits of Steel Baths?

Steel bathtubs are eternally popular and for good reason. Below we list the main advantages:

  1.  Steel bathtubs have a solid and elegant appearance. Depending on the desired style, they can have modern or traditional features.
  2.  Steel baths are more durable and last longer than an acrylic bath. In addition, they are more environmentally friendly due to less intensive manufacturing processes. Not to mention they can be completely recycled.
  3.  Steel bathtubs are coated with enamel that can withstand large amounts of impact. Even if damage occurs, the entire bath surface can be sanded off and re-enameled. This means it is incredibly difficult to damage a steel bathtub or get cracks in it.
  4.  Steel bathtubs can be painted, allowing you to change the color of the bathtub over time. In the process, the material will also not discolor.
  5.  Another advantage is that germs cannot survive on the surface of the bath. This means that steel baths are more hygienic than acrylic baths. In addition, the material does not scratch, nor can dirt get stuck in it.

What Are The Disadvantages of Steel Baths?

  1.  Steel is a relatively cold material, which can be startling to touch during the winter months. Additionally, when the bathtub is filled with hot water, the metal takes some time to warm up.
  2.  Steel bathtubs are quite heavy, which can pose a challenge during installation.
  3.  Depending on the construction of your home, your steel bathtub may need to be grounded to mitigate the risk of electrical hazards.
  4.  Furthermore, due to its weight, the bathroom floor may also require reinforcement.
  5.  For various reasons, the cost of a steel bathtub is higher. This could potentially make a steel bathtub unaffordable for your budget.
KBR Acrylic Baths Steel Baths
  • Cheaper and easier to produce.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Warmer than steel, retains water temperature.
  • New models are stronger and do not warp.
  • Durable, can withstand impacts with minimal damage.
  • Wide range of colors and designs.
  • Flexible material, can be molded into various shapes.
  • Steel is a hard material made from iron.
  • Widely used in the construction of buildings, machinery, cars, and ships.
  • May crack or develop holes if heavy objects fall on it.
  • Material will always bend slightly even when installed correctly.
  • Can discolor over time due to UV light and some cleaning chemicals.
  • Not 100% recyclable.
  • Does not offer sufficient resistance to high temperatures.
  • Sensitive to alcohol and powder products.
  • Steel baths are generally more expensive and can feel cold.

What Else Should You Consider?

Now that we have listed the pros and cons of both materials, there are a few more aspects to consider when making a choice. For instance, think about your bathing habits. If you enjoy a nice bath several times a week, you might decide to invest a bit more in a bathtub that offers a more luxurious feel.

Do you enjoy long baths? If so, choose a well-insulated tub to keep the water warm for longer. You might be wondering which material, acrylic or steel, retains heat better. While it can be said that acrylic has better insulating properties than steel, most of the heat escapes from the water surface, reducing the overall effect. Therefore, the difference is not as significant as one might expect.

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