cast iron or acrylic tub

mel71September 8, 2007

Hi bathroom people...

I have spent a lot of time in the Building and Kitchen Forums, but this is my first visit to the Bathroom Forum. I am looking for advice on a 60" tub for my kids bathroom. I was thinking cast iron because it last forever and looks classic.

I would like to know what are the pros and cons of each material. And if anyone can suggest a cast iron tub that has a big deep opening simular to Kohlers acrylic tub called Bancroft.

Thanks

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heimert

What about the 5 foot Tea for Two by Kohler? I think that's pretty deep. You can get it without the whirlpool feature.

BTW, I've been evaluating the same question, and while I'd prefer cast iron because it continues to look good for years and years, whereas acrylic seems to dull, it's hard to justify the weight and expense. Well, the contractor will hate the weight.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:08AM
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mpwdmom

Cast Iron, hands down. But are you sure you want a deep tub for kids? We love our Toto 1525 (60 x 32, 16 in. deep). EVERY single time I take a bath I am thankful that we made that choice! Our GC was pushing Americast, and maybe it's OK, but not what we wanted.

Susan ~

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 1:24AM
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green-zeus

Acrylic is fussy to clean. You can get checking in the surface. I have acrylic tubs and I hate them. All things being equal, that is the features you want, go with cast iron. Especially in a kids' bathroom.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 9:23AM
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mahatmacat1

mpwdmom, just to be clear: you mean that the Toto is shallow, so you're happy that you got it? Or that it's *cast iron* and thus you're happy you got it?

I can't find the exact numbers, but the depth to drain can't be more than 13"--or could you see what it is exactly, please? The spec sheet I found doesn't have that information.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 11:22AM
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budge1

Fly, we have the same tub as mpwdmom and it is 12" to the drain. Like mpwdmom we love our tub and it seems plenty deep for us. The tub we used for baths before we got this one is an old clawfoot and I find this one to be almost as deep and just as comfy.

The clawfoot is on our 3rd floor and I thought I might be tempted to continue using it for my solitary soaks but the new one is just as nice - and I don't have trudge upstairs :-)

I had gone back and forth about acrylic vs cast iron. I cant' remember all the pros and cons of each but I do remember wondering if the cast iron would be worth it for all the delays it caused us getting it and trouble for the GC getting it in. Now that we have it, I am so glad I didn't talk myself out of it. I just love the solid feel of it and how it radiates the heat back once you fill it up.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 2:18PM
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mpwdmom

Flyleft, I am thankful that we chose the Toto...our old cast iron tub was the same length (60') but was only 30" wide and 14" deep. So this one seems plenty roomy enough for us. As to the overflow, I can't recall but when it hits that point, I've got enough water! ; )
Susan ~

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 5:45PM
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mahatmacat1

Ah, I see, thanks, budge & mpwdmom.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 9:22PM
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salviastreet

I currently have an acrylic tub, but am planning a remodel and I have been following the threads on this forum having to do with cast iron vs acrylic tubs. I was in a hotel this past week and the cast iron tub itself was COLD! This was San Diego and the room temp was normal. I understand that cast iron will hold hot water hot longer, but what about when you first get in and touch the sides? Does this have to do with lack of insulation? Obviously this made me worry about cast iron in my old house during the snowy winter.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 1:48PM
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budge1

Salviastreet, a cast iron tub will feel cold until it is filled with hot water and then it will warm up and hold the heat keeping the water warmer longer. It will also radiate the heat back from the sides that are above the water line.

Did you get in the hotel tub before it was full of water? It may take a couple of minutes before the iron heats up, but I've always found that by the time the tub was full the walls of the tub were warm.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 3:44PM
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salviastreet

I did get in right away, as I am usually in a hurry to get going. Sometimes there is occasion for a leisurely soak, but not daily. For my part, I could adjust and wait just a little to get in for the tradeoff benefit of the solid feel of the cast iron, which I strongly prefer to acrylic. But the bath will be the only one in the house, and will be used as a shower for my husband, who often uses tepid or barely warm water. So I'm considering how much it matters that the tub will be cold to the touch for him too.

Thanks for the insights - this forum is amazing for real information!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 10:25AM
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mahatmacat1

FTR, I have insulated my acrylic tub in the master so well that it holds lots of lovely heat for at least 1/2 hour, my litmus-test time. So it's possible to achieve the effect with acrylic, even without that fabulous new inline heater for soaking tubs.

My main question was wrt toughness, actually, since the next tub we need will be in a kids' bathroom. For *toughness's* sake, I'm thinking cast iron, even though it's second floor. Maybe I will change my mind when it comes to actually getting the thing UP the stairs...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 11:58AM
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premier

Besides from the pros and cons mentioned above, it depends on the FMV of your house. Cast iron is expected in more expensive homes. In less expensive homes, cast iron may be appreciated but acrylic would be acceptable.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 9:13PM
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sexytexaswoman24_yahoo_com

I'm an interior designer, and I see a lot of statements that are very wrong. Even though acrylic can begin to look dull, there are way more pros than cons to having an acrylic tub. Acrylic tubs are lighter, stronger and easier to install than cast iron tubs. A cast iron tub requires more floor support, more labor to install and is more expensive to transport. Also, the natural warmth and thickness of acrylic tubs combine to preserve heat much longer than a cast iron tub. Someone stated above that cast iron holds more heat, not true. These days, acrylic tubs are being made of many different layers, allowing them to hold heat for longer periods of time. The only real benefit of a cast iron tub is that its overall look will last. Normally the option of a whirlpool tub should be selected before construction on a home begins because the deck must be framed in to hold your unit and it may have specific plumbing requirements that affect the rough-in. It's your decision, but I think you should do a little more research on your own without the influence of others. Many people really choose cast iron tubs for their look, not for their benefits. There are many ways to keep acrylic tubs looking great. The most popular option amongst my clients these days is Re-Bath (http://www.re-bath.com/). It's an inexpensive way to update not only an old tub, but an old bathroom.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 12:50AM
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mel71

Thanks for all the imput. I still don't know what I am going to do, but I will most likely go with acrylic since it now looks like we are going to have to sell this house when we are done with it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 8:31PM
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mahatmacat1

mel, just so you know, I've heard some horrible stories about Re-Bath. Google them and see what you find. Not disputing your experience, Tiffany, but rebath is a franchise and there's no guarantee of quality from one franchisee to another, unfortunately. When it gets bad it can get *really* bad.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 9:10PM
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biondanonima

I debated between the Toto 1525 and the Kohler Bancroft, and finally went with the Kohler because of the depth - it's 20" deep as opposed to the Toto's 16". For me, that was important, as I could only fit a 5' long tub - we're tall (6'0 and 6'3) so the extra depth makes up for the shortness of the tub in relation to our heights. So far, I love it - it's much nicer than my old porcelain beast, it cleans easily, feels very solid and holds the heat extremely well.

Anyway, don't know if that helps at all, but honestly I think you'll be fine whichever you decide!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 9:54PM
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jejvtr

Cookware for ages has been made from cast iron - it is highly prized for it's heat retention capacities - it's elementary physics

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 9:55PM
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oruboris

Cast will look new longer in a kids bath, or any bath that sees a lot of use.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 5:30AM
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lazypup

I much prefer a fiberglass tub because they are easy to keep clean and if it gets damaged it is easy to repair.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 8:57AM
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mpwdmom

the natural warmth and thickness of acrylic tubs combine to preserve heat much longer than a cast iron tub

I disagree with Tiffany on many points, but especially THAT one. Geez...

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 1:25PM
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rogerv_gw

I like the comment about acrylic being stronger than cast iron...that makes sense to me (*smile*). That shows very little real understanding of plastic versus cast iron.

We have a cast iron tub (replaced a fiberglass tub/surround), and it is very easy to live with, easy to clean, ends up nice and clean and shiny every time. I much prefer the solidity of cast iron, especially since the flexing of the fiberglass was what eventually did it in.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 5:33PM
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teachbls

Absolutely, cast iron. I don't think you'd ever regret doing the "real thing". We have a kohler two by two. While it was a real effort to hoist it up to the 2nd story MB, it was not an in issue to install it one way or the other. We are very pleased with it.

Your credentials as an interior decorator notwithstanding, Tiffany, your pronouncements regarding the "advantages" of a plastic tub over an iron one are pretty sketchy. Are you certain you're not a salesperson for acrylic tubs?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 9:08PM
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Brewbeer

Cast iron all the way.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 9:23PM
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aaron2005

Do you guys with Cast Iron ever worry about weight on the 2nd floor? I know it's heavy getting up there...but, with water and one person we are talking about around 1000lbs for the Toto1525.

Does anyone know if there could be a potential for weight issues?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 10:35AM
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mahatmacat1

What we need is a *trustworthy* Americast-type material to step in and fill this huge gap!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 12:41PM
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Patricia43

Fly, I could not agree with you more. I think there is definitely a market for something in between but who knows what? But, when they do, they will sell better than hotcakes. Someone is sure messing around with the wrong projects when they could be making a fortune on just such an item.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 2:18PM
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mahatmacat1

If I could, I'd find someone competent to work on it to MY specifications :) and sink some VC into it...

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 3:23PM
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marcus_utahgeology_org

I'm bumping this old post up because I'm considering an acrylic clawfoot tub in part because I think it should keep the bath water hot, longer than cast iron. Yet I keep finding statements such as:
"Cookware for ages has been made from cast iron - it is highly prized for it's heat retention capacities - it's elementary physics" Isn't cast iron cook wear good because it transfers heat?

"the natural warmth and thickness of acrylic tubs combine to preserve heat much longer than a cast iron tub
I disagree with Tiffany on many points, but especially THAT one. Geez..."

But it seems to me that cast iron and other metals are used as heat sinks. Think circuit boards or air-cooled engines where the metal fins disperse the heat of combustion. Cast iron seems good at transferring heat but a poor insulator. Wouldn't cast iron transfer heat out of the water. Does the thermal mass of cast iron really mean it keeps the water warm longer despite this?

Acrylic and other plastics seem to make much better insulation. Think ice chests (yes the wall cavity insulation is key but the plastic walls help).

Is the cast iron holds heat longer line just an urban? Has anyone ever seen this question addressed with anything other than dogma? Perhaps it is a question of thermal mass vs. heat transfer?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 7:59PM
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