Will building a small grooming tub (for dogs) out of fiberglass be more expensive than building one out of plywood and sealing it?
Both would be inappropriate choices for around animals. Fiberglass will scratch badly from their nails, and plywood cannot be waterproofed adequately to hold water and neither can be adequately sanitized, which is a basic requirement. Your best bet would be to look to the restaurant industry for a stainless steel mop basin or single basin sink. You can often find used ones from closing businesses if you need to be on a budget. Look on craigslist or visit a Habitat for Humanity Restore or other reuse center as well. Our local shelter used a plain donated enamel on steel bath tub and elevated it on concrete blocks and it worked just fine, and was able to be cleaned and sanitized.
I believe someone here made an animal bathing center in their remodel, cannot for the life of me recall who. Maybe someone else remembers, I thought it was a neat idea but didn't commit it to memory as we don't plan on ever having pets.
If it is a permanent fixture, I would consider building it out of tile, properly waterproofed and installed. Basically I would build a miniature shower. I vaguely recall there was someone here that built a dog tub/shower, and I think it was made out of tile. Or if your dog is small enough, maybe a very large single bowl sink would work (cast iron or stainless steel would probably be best).
Alternatively, I have been looking for portable bathing solutions in the hopes I might be able bathe my dog in the winter in the utility room (which has a floor drain). I found one at Drs. Foster & Smith.
Here it is! From beaglesdoitbetter:
Beagles' tub is a true grooming tub. She just had her tilers tile on top of it. I also have a grooming tub. We were able to find it on craigslist. Still not cheap, but I wanted one that was larger than a mop sink and had a door in the front. What size/style would work best depends on the size of the dogs you have. An opening with a door makes it a lot easier if you are dealing with large dogs so you don't have a lot of lifting. Having it raised off the ground is much better for your back.
"plywood cannot be waterproofed adequately to hold water and neither can be adequately sanitized, which is a basic requirement. "
This is completely untrue. People make LARGE plywood aquariums. Of course they hold water and can be scrubbed and sanitized clean. Neither would fiberglass be scratched up if it's sealed properly.
It can't be a permanent feature, it has to be on wheels and I have to push it away into storage when it's not in use. Tile would have made a very nice one but I don't have that option.
I can't use any small sink. I'm bathing and grooming all size dogs. The Drsfosterandsmith one is basically an over priced trough and not suitable. The sides are too low to prevent water from being splashed and making a mess. Nor is it elevated. Unless it's connected to a stand, it's not stable and therefor, not safe. I need an elevated tub for my back and also so my recirculating pump can function and I can use fresh water for a rinsing cycle and have it drain into a nearby utility sink.
Part of building my own will allow me to have a door in front for just that reason and also allow me to attach restraints for wild dogs and dogs who are unable to stand on their own.
Here is a link that might be useful: Boosterbath
Thanks, I've thought about that one too but the sides are so low. Water would get everywhere. I read reviews on it when I was looking at it and that was a common problem. I *could* put something around to have high walls but by then, it wouldn't be much of a bargain anymore.
Plywood would be heavy but if I get appropriate casters, what would be the problem? Heavy means stable. I don't want it flopping over if a dog thrashes.
Having friends in boatbuilding, I'm well aware that marine grade plywood and enough epoxy can seal wood to be waterproof, but it is extremely expensive, and it also is not abrasion resistant. Not good for around dog nails. Why do you thing they make you wear boat shoes on board a boat? It's to keep the grit from street shoes off of the delicate surfaces because scratching them leads to eventual moisture damage.
It's the same with fiberglass. All any "protective coating" of fiberglass is is an acrylic or polyester resin, preferably coated with an automotive grade paint if you want the most durable surface. Neither resin nor paint are noted for being very abrasion resistant. Just look at all of the complaints about those one piece fiberglass showers that get put into mobile homes and low cost builder's homes. They get scratched up in no time.
According to NSF guidelines, a scratched surfaces cannot be properly sanitized except by heat or prolonged exposure to a very strong sanitizing agents. Many of those solutions, like a strong bleach solution in the presence of possible urine, require a respirator, or to be used with wide open windows. Since any dog grooming station should always be sanitized between clients, having a surface that is difficult to perform that task would not be ideal and will add time, expense, and a lot of difficulty to your job.
Yes, you could do either as a very temporary but not as cheap as you envision solution, but neither is as low cost as doing something of a bit higher quality that will last you 100x as long. A stainless steel sink or tub fixture will be light weight enough to be portable and durable enough to be worth your time and effort to create a hefty enough cart to be able to provide stability and support for it--although something mobile and sturdy enough to bathe a 100 lb fractious dog in it is a bit of an oxymoron.
Why are you reinventing the wheel? Why not just get a proper stainless steel grooming tub?
"Why are you reinventing the wheel? Why not just get a proper stainless steel grooming tub?"
Because they are VERY expensive, even second hand and I groom pro-bono for rescues.
Time for your rescues to put in for a grant or find a generous donor. No rescue dog should be bathed in a bath that can't be sanitized properly.
Also, remember that anything raised probably cannot have high sides, or it will be difficult for you to reach in/over to bathe the dog.