Acrylic VS Fiberglass Bathtub: What’s The Difference?

acrylic vs fiberglass bathtub

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Acrylic bathtubs and fiberglass bathtubs are so similar in appearance that people often get confused about them. So what’s the difference?

Acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs are different in many ways, such as production process, price, weight, appearance, and so on.

How do they make it?

The distinction of acrylic bathtub and fiberglass bathtub is the difference that results from production flow, let us see their respective production flow first so.

How is acrylic bathtub produced?

1. Heating sheet: first put the acrylic sheet into the heater to heat and soften it

2. Vacuum forming: put the softened plate on the mold, Vacuum forming

3. Coated with resin and fiberglass: after cooling, coated with resin and glass fiber reinforcement, generally coated with three layers of fiberglass, can also be under customer requirements

4. Cut: Then cut off any excess

5. Install bracket: then install bracket at the bottom of the bathtub. The stainless steel bracket is usually installed for the freestanding bathtub, and galvanized iron bracket is installed for the jacuzzi bathtub

6. Docking: If it is a docking bathtub, then the next step is the docking of the bathtub, to ensure that the bathtub is tight and does not leak

7. Polishing: Use a polishing machine, sandpaper, and knife to polish the surface of the bathtub to make it smoother and shinier

8. Assemblies (if required): Install accessories

9. Test the water (if it is a jacuzzi): if it is a jacuzzi, also need to test the water, test whether the various functions of the jacuzzi can be used normally, and check whether the bottom will leak

10. Packaging: After production and inspection, packaging will be carried out, generally carton + wooden frame. If customers have special requirements, we can also make customized packaging

acrylic tub production line

How are fiberglass bathtubs made?

FRP, or fiberglass reinforced plastic, is heated by multiple layers of tiny interwoven glass threads to fit the required shape or mold. Then, it is shaped, shaped, and sprayed with a resin gel coat. For details on the process, check out this article

What are the similarities between the acrylic and fiberglass tub?

Before we discuss the differences between acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs, let’s take a look at the similarities. I will give you a sense of the similarities in terms of appearance, price, style, weight, cleaning and repair, and discoloration.Process: whether it is an acrylic bathtub or a glass fiber bathtub, they will use glass fiber, but the amount is different.

1. Appearance:

If you put a glass fiber bathtub and an acrylic bathtub in front of you, it is really difficult to distinguish with the naked eye. Because they have the same appearance, no matter what color they are, they are both shiny

2. Price:

Compared with bathtubs of other materials, such as cast iron, ceramic bathtubs, acrylic, and fiberglass bathtubs, the prices are relatively cheap. They are the best choice for many people with limited budgets.

3. Choice (style):

Acrylic and glass fiber are both soft materials, and they can be made into various shapes, so no matter which material the bathtub is, there are many styles to choose from. Can also be customized according to customer requirements

4. Weight:

The weight of the two materials is relatively light compared to other materials. Perhaps acrylic will be heavier than the fiberglass bathtub, but neither will damage the floor and is also easy to transport.

5. Cleaning and repairing:

They also do not require expensive maintenance. The cleaning of these two bathtubs is relatively easy, and there is no need to carry out large cleanings all the time, nor do they need very complicated detergents. Homeowners only need to use simple cleaning products such as soapy water, vinegar, or water to clean fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs. They are also more resistant to scratches than bathtubs of other materials, so there is no need to repair and maintain them frequently.

6. Discoloration:

These two materials may also discolor at the same rate over time if they are often cleaned with rough materials.

What are the differences between the acrylic and fiberglass tub?

After seeing so many similarities above, I wonder if you are confused? There are no two leaves that are the same, and naturally, there will not be two materials that are the same. The following will help you better understand the difference between the acrylic bathtub and glass fiber. I will still talk about 6 aspects separately.

1. Price:

Although the bathtubs of these two materials are very cheap, the fiberglass bathtubs will be cheaper, probably by 100-200 dollars cheaper than the bathtubs. Because the process of acrylic bathtub will be more difficult than the process of fiberglass bathtub.

2. Weight:

As mentioned above, the weight of the acrylic bathtub will be heavier than the fiberglass bathtub. Acrylic bathtubs require thicker plates to achieve the same strength as fiberglass bathtubs. Therefore, the fiberglass bathtub will be more friendly to the floor, and it is also more convenient to move upstairs and downstairs. The average weight of acrylic tubs is 100lbs while that of fiberglass tubs is 70lbs.

Tips: For a free-standing bathtub, the weight of the bathtub is an important point. A heavier freestanding bathtub would be better because it is more difficult to move or turn over during use

3. Sturdy (lifetime):

Glass fiber is thinner and more brittle than Acrylic, so after a long time, it is easier to crack. The average service life of fiberglass bathtubs is 10-15 years.

The acrylic used in the bathtub is thicker than fiberglass. It is also harder, which makes it stronger and less prone to cracking. This means that the acrylic bathtub can be used for up to 30 years.

4. Repair:

Fiberglass will be easier to repair than Acrylic. Generally, the repair of glass fiber can be done by yourself. But as mentioned above, because the glass fiber is thinner, it is easier to crack. Acrylic is not so easy to crack, but if it cracks, then the acrylic bathtub is easy to leak, and it will be more troublesome if you want to repair it.

5. Cleaning:

Relatively speaking, acrylic will be easier to clean. Because the surface of acrylic is smoother, there are not so many pores, and it is not easy to scratch

6. Appearance:

Fiberglass bathtubs are more likely to fade after long-term use. Because the color of the fiberglass bathtub is only on the outer shell of the bathtub, the color of the acrylic bathtub is the color of the plate itself.

In addition, although the bathtubs of both materials are very shiny, the acrylic bathtub will be shinier and the touch will be smoother.

Summarize:

Acrylic bathtubs and fiberglass bathtubs are two very similar and cost-effective bathtubs. In comparison, I would recommend the acrylic bathtub more because it is less prone to breakage, maintenance costs will not be high, and after-sales problems will not be many.

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