So you have chosen the type of bathtub that you want installed, now it is time to choose the material that your new tub will be made from. Every bathtub has its good and bad points and certain tubs are only made from particular materials. For example, you aren’t going to find an air bathtub on the market made out of metal or cast iron.
Cast iron bathtubs are very strong and long lasting, they are usually going to be covered with a porcelain coating. The tub is probably the most durable tubs installed in homes, and can be usable for decades if properly taken care of. They are easy to clean but you do not want to use strong techniques that scour or scratch the surface. These tubs are usually quite heavy and need good supporting structure to hold.
Enamel on steel bathtubs look like cast iron tubs but are lighter in weight. They are easy to clean and because they are not as heavy you can put them into a new bathroom easier than the cast iron. They should be cared for like cast iron tubs so as to not scratch an expose the underlying metal. If metal is exposed for either tub it can lead to rusting.
Acrylic bathtubs consist of plastic and another material. It has a high gloss that resembles the cast iron tub and enamel on steel tub but it is lighter than either tub. It does scratch easier but at the same time is easier to repair. These tubs are easy to form thus making them popular with whirlpool and air bathtubs because they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types.
Fiberglass gel coat bathtubs are made from fiberglass plastic and covered with a gel coat. Air bathtubs and whirlpool bathtubs are often made this way because it is easily shaped. They provide glossy, smooth, and easy to clean finishes and surface area. This is not as durable as acrylic and can be scratched or even cracked if it is hit hard enough.
Composite bathtubs are made from materials that engineered from composite materials that create the back of the tub. The surfaces are enameled. The idea is that they will have the benefits of your cast iron tub but not carrying the weight that a cast iron tub has. This means you don’t have the same weight to withstand. There have been reports of these tubs cracking so you want to check with a plumber before using this type of material.
Cultured marble bathtubs utilize crushed marble and resins to create a solid surface. It looks a lot like quartz. They are generally covered with a clear gel coat and provide a strong, easy to clean, and stain fighting surface. They are easy to mold.
The material is brittle and does not forgive poor installation or over tightening of the faucet and the spouts. Cracks are almost usually not repairable and scratches can be buffed out. The main issue with these tubs is the long term durability associated. They simply do not stand the test of times as well.