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Home » What are the Types of Bathtub Materials? Acrylic & Fiberglass & Enameled Steel

What are the Types of Bathtub Materials? Acrylic & Fiberglass & Enameled Steel

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When choosing a bathtub, the material it is made of plays a significant role in its overall performance, durability, and aesthetic appeal. With a wide range of options available, understanding the different types of bathtub materials is essential for making an informed decision. From the affordable and versatile acrylic to the timeless elegance of cast iron or the luxurious allure of natural stone, each material brings its characteristics and considerations. 

This article will explore different bathtub materials’ unique features, advantages, and drawbacks. Whether you prioritize durability, easy maintenance, or a specific aesthetic, this article will be your go-to resource in selecting the perfect bathtub material for your needs and preferences.

I have another article on what the bathtub is; click here to learn more.

Common Materials Used for Bathtubs


Acrylic is a widely used and popular material for bathtubs due to its versatility, affordability, and favorable characteristics. It offers a wide range of design options and is lightweight for easy installation. Acrylic bathtubs retain heat well, making for a comfortable bathing experience. While susceptible to scratching and potential discoloration over time, regular care and maintenance can help preserve their appearance and longevity.



Acrylic is a durable material that can withstand daily use and resist chipping, cracking, and staining. It is known for its long-lasting performance, making it a reliable choice for a bathtub that will endure over time.


Acrylic bathtubs are lightweight compared to other materials like cast iron or stone. This makes them easier to handle during installation and potentially reduces the stress on the bathroom floor.

Versatile Design Options

Acrylic can be molded into various shapes and sizes, offering multiple design options. Whether you prefer a traditional, contemporary, or customized design, acrylic bathtubs provide flexibility in meeting your aesthetic preferences.

Heat Retention

Acrylic has good heat retention properties, allowing the water to stay warmer for longer periods during your bathing experience. This enhances comfort and enjoyment, as you can relax in warm water for an extended time.

Easy Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining acrylic bathtubs are relatively simple. They are non-porous, which means they resist staining and require minimal effort to keep clean. Regular cleaning with non-abrasive cleaners is typically sufficient to maintain their appearance.


Acrylic bathtubs are generally more affordable than materials like cast iron or stone. This makes them a cost-effective option for homeowners upgrading their bathrooms without breaking the bank.

Pros of Acrylic Bathtub

  • Versatility in design
  • Lightweight 
  • Good heat retention 
  • Affordable 
  • Non-porous 
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable 
  • Repairable 
  • Comfortable to the touch

Cons of Acrylic Bathtub:

While acrylic is a popular choice for bathtubs, it also has some drawbacks that are important to consider:

  • Susceptibility to Scratching
  • Vulnerability to Chemical Damage
  • Fading and Discoloration
  • Less Impact Resistance
  • Limited Heat Resistance


Fiberglass is popular for bathtubs due to its affordability, lightweight construction, and durability. It is commonly used in residential and commercial settings, offering easy maintenance, good heat retention, and a wide range of design options.



Fiberglass bathtubs are lightweight, making them easier to handle and install than heavier materials like cast iron or stone.


Fiberglass is known for its durability and resistance to chipping, cracking, and scratching. It can withstand regular use and maintain its structural integrity over time.

Easy Maintenance 

Fiberglass bathtubs have a smooth, non-porous surface that resists stains and is easy to clean. Regular cleaning with mild, non-abrasive cleaners is typically sufficient to maintain their appearance.

Versatile Design Options

Fiberglass can be molded into various shapes and sizes, offering versatility in bathtub designs. It allows many options to suit different bathroom styles and preferences.

Good Heat Retention

Fiberglass bathtubs have decent heat retention properties, allowing the water to stay warm for a comfortable bathing experience.


Fiberglass bathtubs are generally more affordable than materials like cast iron or stone, making them a budget-friendly option for homeowners.

Comfortable Surface 

Fiberglass tends to feel warmer and more comfortable to the touch compared to materials like cast iron. It provides a pleasant bathing experience.

Resistance to Fading 

Fiberglass bathtubs are often coated with a gel coat finish that helps protect against fading and discoloration caused by UV rays or harsh cleaning agents.

Customizable Features

Fiberglass can easily be modified to accommodate additional features such as built-in seats, armrests, or safety handles, offering customization options for those with specific needs.

Pros of fiberglass bathtub:

  • Affordable
  • Durable 
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to Clean
  • Non-porous 
  • Heat Retention
  • Customizable Designs
  • Good Insulator

Cons of fiberglass bathtub:

  • Less Impact Resistance
  • Potential for Fading
  • Limited Color Options
  • Repair Complexity

Enameled Steel

Enameled steel is a sought-after bathtub material for its durability and heat retention. It combines the strength of steel with a protective enamel coating, offering resistance to chipping and scratching. Enameled steel bathtubs are easy to clean, affordable, and provide a sleek and glossy finish. However, they may be heavier than other materials and may require care to avoid enamel wear or discoloration over time.



Enameled steel bathtubs are highly durable and resistant to chipping, scratching, and staining. The steel base provides strength and structural integrity, making it a long-lasting option for a bathtub.

Heat Retention

Enameled steel bathtubs have excellent heat retention properties, allowing the water to stay warm for longer. This enhances the bathing experience, as you can enjoy a relaxing soak without the water quickly cooling down.

Smooth and Easy-to-Clean Surface

The enamel coating on the steel surface creates a smooth and non-porous finish, making it resistant to stains and easy to clean. Regular maintenance involves simple wiping down with mild cleaners to maintain its shine.

Affordable Option: 

Enameled steel bathtubs are generally more affordable than cast iron or stone materials. They offer a budget-friendly option without compromising on durability and functionality.


Enameled steel is lighter than cast iron, making it easier to handle and install. This can be advantageous during installation and may require less structural reinforcement of the bathroom floor.

Pros of Enameled Steel Bathtub

  • Durability
  • Heat Retention
  • Easy to Clean
  • Affordable
  • Less prone to chipping or cracking
  • Good impact resistance

Cons of Enameled Steel Bathtub

  • Limited Design Options 
  • Enamel Wear and Discoloration
  • Moderate Heat Retention
  • High thermal Conductivity hence feels colder on touch

Cast Iron

Cast iron is a classic and highly regarded material for bathtubs due to its exceptional durability and timeless appeal.  It retains heat well, offering a luxurious bathing experience. Cast iron bathtubs are renowned for their ability to withstand chipping, scratching, and denting. However, they require adequate structural support during installation.


Here are some notable features of cast iron as a bathtub material:


Cast iron bathtubs are incredibly durable and have a long lifespan. They resist chipping, scratching, and denting, making them highly resilient to regular use.

Heat Retention

Cast iron has excellent heat retention properties, allowing the water to stay warm for longer during a bath. It provides a cozy and comfortable bathing experience.

Sturdy and Stable

Cast iron is a heavy material, providing a solid and stable foundation for a bathtub. This stability reduces vibrations and ensures a secure bathing experience.

Luxurious Appearance

Cast iron bathtubs exude a sense of luxury and elegance. Their sleek, glossy finish and smooth curves add a touch of sophistication to any bathroom décor.

Sound Insulation

Cast iron absorbs and reduces noise, creating a quieter bathing experience than other materials. This can be particularly beneficial for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Resistant to Fading

Cast iron bathtubs are highly resistant to fading or discoloration over time. The enamel coating protects the surface and maintains its original appearance.

Easy to Clean

The smooth and non-porous surface of cast iron makes it easy to clean. Regular cleaning with non-abrasive cleaners helps maintain its shine and hygiene.

Variety of Styles

Cast iron bathtubs come in various styles, including classic clawfoot designs or contemporary freestanding models. This variety allows for customization and ensures compatibility with different bathroom aesthetics.

Pros of Cast Iron Bathtubs

  • Exceptional durability and long lifespan
  • Excellent heat retention properties for enjoyable baths
  • The luxurious and timeless appearance
  • Sound insulation
  • Resistant to fading and discoloration over time
  • Easy to clean and maintain with regular cleaning
  • A wide variety of styles and designs are available

Cons of Cast Iron Bathtubs

  • Heavyweight, requiring proper structural support during installation
  • Higher cost compared to other bathtub materials
  • Longer initial heating time due to thermal conductivity
  • Susceptible to chipping or scratching if impacted by heavy objects or sharp tools


Choosing the suitable bathtub material is crucial when designing or renovating a bathroom. Each type of bathtub material offers its own set of features, advantages, and considerations.

By carefully considering factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, heat retention, aesthetics, and cost, you can make an informed choice that aligns with their specific needs and creates a luxurious and functional bathing space.

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