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Porcelain vs Acrylic Bathtub Comparison

Acrylic and porcelain bathtubs make excellent additions to any bathroom, but it is important to understand their differences before you choose the right one for your home. Here are their primary advantages and disadvantages:

What are the main differences between Acrylic and Porcelain?

Acrylic bathtubs are constructed by bonding an acrylic finish over a fiberglass tub and porcelain bathtubs are made by applying an enamel coating over a tub of iron. Through their construction, porcelain tubs are a great deal heavier than acrylic, making porcelain tubs harder to install. Porcelain is also a harder material than acrylic, meaning their surfaces are more durable and more scratch resistant, although they are susceptible to heavy impacts.

Here are the main differences in detail:

1.Weight 

Of the two, Acrylic is much lighter than Porcelain. This means that acrylic has much more flexibility when it comes to installation and placement in the bathroom, making it much easier to install than a porcelain tub. It’s lighter weight also means that it is much easier to manipulate and use, thus, giving it a wide range of available shapes and sizes on the market. affects the number of sizes and shapes available. Contrastly, porcelain is much more limited in available shapes and sizes due to the additional weight of the material itself, making it much more difficult to install. 

acrylic bathtub example.

2. Heat Retention 

Acrylic tubs have a much better heat retention than porcelain tubs. Porcelain tubs are created by layering a porcelain coating over an iron or metal base. This creates a separating layer between the coating and the structural material of the tub itself, meaning the material will release heat much faster. Acrylic on the other hand is constructed from reinforced fiberglass and it a contiguous material bonded together into the shape of a bathtub, meaning the material will retain heat for longer periods of time as there is no other material to get in the way.It is important to note that there are some models of porcelain tubs that are foam insulated to help retain heat for longer, and if done so, the tub’s heat retention is about equal to acrylic. 

3. Cost 

Due to the nature of how they are constructed, porcelain bathtubs are generally more expensive than acrylic. This cost also takes into consideration that porcelain tubs require more maintenance than acrylic and are generally more expensive to install as well.

4. Durability 

Acrylic is generally a much more durable material when compared to porcelain. Although porcelain tubs have a much harder surface and are more resistant to scratches when compared to acrylic, the harder surface is much more susceptible to cracks and chipping from heavy impacts. Acrylic is a softer material and can therefore can weather hard impacts much easier. whether hard impacts much easier.

5. Maintenance 

Maintaining either porcelain or acrylic is actually very similar. They both require a great deal of care to clean properly without damaging the material itself. The big difference is that acrylic can be cleaned with a commercial based cleaner or detergent where porcelain cannot.Porcelain requires a hand wash of either a vinegar solution, lemon water or soap. Avoid using steel wool or any abrasive brushes as well when cleaning your porcelain tub. Either material will discolor over time if proper care is not applied.

porcelain bathtub example.

6. Restoration 

Restoration is the same for both materials, although in the case of acrylic, it is slightly easier to repair/restore an acrylic tub than a porcelain tub. If an acrylic tub is damaged, it can be repaired with a refinishing kit, which will reapply a coating over the surface, removing many of the initial blemishes. Repairing a porcelain tub is accomplished in a similar method, using a store bought refinishing kit, although in many cases, it is advisable to seek professional application.

7.Popularity and Re-sellability 

In terms of popularity and resell value, both of these materials are fairly popular. Porcelain provides a more classic look and feel, where acrylic is more modern and easier to incorporate in any color scheme. Porcelain used to command more value on resale, but today, both of these are about equal as many homes contain both a modern and classic appeal. 

Overall: Which is the better material?

Overall, acrylic is a much more versatile bathtub material than porcelain. It has arguably better durability, better heat retention, and it is much more flexible in terms of design and style. Maintenance and repair for both materials is about even, and generally acrylic is cheaper than porcelain, so unless you are married to the classic look, acrylic is the recommended choice for your bathroom. 

 

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