Acrylic vs. Cast Iron tubs

scpalmettoFebruary 3, 2014

Presently I have a cultured marble tub and it has simply not held up well in the 10 years we've had it. The finish is gone and water spots are always a problem if I don't thoroughly dry every inch. As we get ready to reno the bath, I am seeing more acrylic tubs in styles that appeal to me. How do they hold up and are they easy to maintain? I have had cast iron in the past and loved how it held the heat and never found it to be difficult to keep it looking nice.

So, cast iron vs. acrylic??? Pros and cons please. Thanks

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xc60

Cast iron, all the way. So much easier to keep clean and looking good much longer.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 9:53AM
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xc60

Cast iron, all the way. So much easier to keep clean and looking good much longer.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:00AM
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jackfre

Check out Victoria Albert tubs. They are a cast limestone. I installed one in our old house and just put one in our new re-model. They have been excellent.

Otherwise, I prefer cast iron.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:43AM
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cat_mom

Another vote for cast iron.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:16AM
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geoffrey_b

I don't think they will make cast iron tubs in 20 years. They were made of cast iron cause that was the only material they had.

Now there are acrylic tubs. Weight 1/3 as much.

@jackfre: "ENGLISHCASTî is made from finely ground volcanic limestone mixed with resin. As the stone-rich alternative to both cast iron and acrylic it is 100% one piece, hand finished and packed with naturally desirable properties:"

Jack - it's an acrylic tub - for $3,500? Are you kidding?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 2:27PM
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scpalmetto

Geoffrey, thanks for your input but I have to ask, do you personally do the cleaning of your tub and how easy or difficult is it to maintain? Essentially being plastic, wouldn't it scratch?
The cultured marble I have now sounds much like the cast limestone that jack mentioned and that has not held up well for me at all. The finish is gone in less than 10 years.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 3:01PM
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geoffrey_b

We have a Kohler Expanse. It's an acrylic tub - gel coated. You need to use a non-abrasive cleaner. You can clean it with a little dishwashing detergent, Lysol bathroom cleaner.

These tubs are installed with a small layer of mortar. When you set the tub - it squishes - the mortar - a really a solid install.

I know a guy who builds 'high end' bathrooms - he says he's installed one cast iron tub in the last 10 years.

When redoing the bath - install a grab bar!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Acrylic Cleaners.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:17PM
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scpalmetto

Thanks, and yes, I will install a grab bar. I am old and need one but I would advise anyone putting in a tub these days to do the same - if only to hang a damp face cloth on.

I love to spend forever reading a good book while soaking in the tub and sometimes if the weather is bad the dog gets bathed in there so I am not confident an acrylic will hold up to the heavy use our tub gets.

But, the styles of the acrylic tubs are so much more interesting........

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:12PM
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cat_mom

"I know a guy who builds 'high end' bathrooms - he says he's installed one cast iron tub in the last 10 years"

We renovated our two main bathrooms within the last 3-4 years. We installed not one, but two cast iron tubs (one in each bathroom). We also installed a cast iron shower pan in our guest bathroom about 6 years ago. Our bathrooms may be small, but they certainly have some "high end" touches. We are very glad we chose cast iron, and would do so again in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:26PM
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scpalmetto

I have a feeling many do not take many tub baths these days when a shower is so much quicker. The beautiful tubs I see in magazine pictures (mostly acrylics) are more for occasional use.

I'll keep my mind open and go and look and talk to more dealers but I suspect I'll fall back on what I know will hold up. Even though they don't make the porcelain on cast iron as heavy as they used to, it is just a harder finish than resin or acrylic.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:29AM
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tracie.erin

We redid our two baths recently. In one we put a cast iron shower pan (Kohler Salient), and in the other an acrylic airjet tub. The cast iron feels sturdier, and with the comments about the tubs holding heat better, I wish it had been in the budget to do a cast iron tub. :/ If you can, I would. I take a bath maybe twice a month, always with a good book like you, a candle, and with my cellphone sitting in a bowl and playing Pandora.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:46AM
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writersblock

Another vote for cast iron.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:59AM
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andy_m

Acrylic is much less expensive and look great when new, but they dull and look old quickly, and you have to be careful cleaning them.

I tore out an acrylic about 4 years ago and put in a Kohler Tea for Two cast iron.. cost $2200... and worth every penny.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:24PM
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crl_

Very happy with our cast iron tub and would choose cast iron again. Through multiple houses (owned and rented), cast iron has always been easiest for me to keep clean.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 2:28AM
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DreamingoftheUP

Cast iron.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:39AM
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KayalPauline

Cast iron tub being heavy my apartment owner doesn't allow it to be installed, so I had to get a pedestal model tub which is made from the mix of acrylic and fiber glass. It is lighter and cheap too. Till date I haven't found any issues with them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pedestal Model Tub

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:06AM
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snookums2

Cast iron is more durable, beautiful and holds heat. The plastics I've seen have spider cracks and finishes going. I don't think they are usually supported well on the base as I've read can be done to make them feel more solid and be inflexible there. They seem to be very popular even in expensive homes.

Would not consider acrylic or fiberglass unless necessary. And replacing tubs is not a small matter. It's a long term decision.

P.s. What I have seen might have been fiberglass. But the cultured marble and corian sinks get damaged too.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 23:00

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:41PM
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