Freestanding Bathtub Material Comparisons
Jump to a specific section:
- Stone Resin vs. Cast Stone Bathtubs
- Stone Resin vs. Acrylic Tubs
- Stone Resin vs. Cast Iron Bathtubs
- Stone Resin vs. Fiberglass Tubs
- Stone Resin vs. Porcelain Bathtubs
Today’s bathtub choices are plentiful with a host of styles, shapes, sizes, and materials to choose. The choice often comes with confusion. Which bathtub material is better? Which is more affordable? Why is one material type more expensive than another? Use the freestanding bathtub material comparisons below to get a better understanding of the different types of tubs on the market today.
Stone Resin vs. Cast Stone Bathtubs
Stone resin bathtubs are made from a blend of acrylic polymer and natural minerals while cast stone bathtubs contain crushed stone and resin. For example, cultured marble stone bathtubs typically feature a blend of crushed limestone, resins, and fillers with a clear gel topcoat. Cast stone tends to be heavier, and more expensive than stone resin. Both are easy to clean and maintain. If the gel coat of cast stone wears off, cracks may appear, and the porous surface will be harder to clean.
Stone resin bathtubs are nonporous with superior resistance against mold, bacteria, stains, dirt, heat, abrasions, chemicals, flaking and breakage. Should breakage occur, repairs are possible. Stone resin also has the edge over cast stone regarding durability, heat retention, and cost. Stone resin bathtubs are among the easiest to care for, too since they are scratch- and stain-resistant.
Both materials can be molded into virtually any tub style, size, and shape, resulting in comfortable bathing experiences.
Stone Resin vs. Acrylic Tubs
Acrylic tubs are made from vacuum-formed acrylic sheets reinforced with fiberglass. Acrylic is lighter than stone resin and quite easy to install, though they can feel a bit flimsy as a result. Acrylic tubs require proper reinforcement during installation, particularly on their stress points. Both stone resin bathtubs and acrylic tubs feature a non-porous surface that’s easy to clean and repairable should the surface become damaged or scratched. The finish on acrylic tubs can scratch or discolor over time. Both materials are durable and with good heat retention.
Acrylic tubs have the edge over stone resin bathtubs regarding price and weight. However, stone resin tubs are the clear winner regarding the high-end appeal, comfort, and the overall bathing experience.
Stone Resin vs. Cast Iron Bathtubs
Cast iron tubs are made from molded cast iron and covered with an enamel coating. Most cast iron tubs are much heavier than stone resin tubs. Both tub types are attractive, durable, low maintenance tubs with excellent heat retention and comfort. Both resist chipping and scratching and are easy to clean and maintain. Simply wipe clean with a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser. With cast iron bathtubs, you’ll want to use extra care by avoiding abrasive or acidic materials. Do not allow cleansers to soak on cast iron bathtubs. Repairs can be made should damage occur.
Cast iron bathtubs are the heaviest and most expensive tub types. Because of their weight, installation is more complicated than with a stone resin bathtub. You may need to reinforce the floor when installing a cast iron tub, for example. Not only is this more difficult, but it also adds additional costs to the project. Not only is the cost of a cast iron bathtub higher than a comparable stone resin bathtub, but the installation will also be more labor intensive, and thus more expensive.
Stone resin bathtubs have the edge over cast iron bathtubs regarding cost, weight, and installation.
Stone Resin vs. Fiberglass Tubs
Fiberglass bathtubs are made from layers of polyester resin with fiberglass reinforcement and a surface coating. They are much cheaper than stone resin bathtubs and lighter. However, they are also less durable and prone to cracks, scratches, and discoloration / faded finishes. Because of their lightweight construction, fiberglass bathtubs are also relatively fast and easy to install whereas stone resin bathtubs may require a bit more work and planning.
Both material types are easy to clean and maintain, and repairs are possible should the surface become damaged. Fiberglass tubs, however, have a porous surface, making it susceptible to water absorption, mold, mildew, and stains whereas stone resin bathtubs are resistant to all of the above and more. With this in mind, you’ll want to clean your fiberglass bathtub regularly. Do not allow mold to take hold as removing it once it has penetrated the material could be difficult, if not impossible.
Also, the durability of fiberglass is inferior to that of stone resin bathtubs. Like acrylic bathtubs, fiberglass bathtubs tend to flex and feel flimsy. The material may flex, leading to a feeling of instability.
Stone resin bathtubs have the edge over fiberglass tubs regarding beauty, durability, heat retention, resistance, and comfort.
Stone Resin vs. Porcelain Bathtubs
Porcelain bathtubs are made from steel sheets and feature a porcelain enamel coating. They tend to be fairly lightweight and quite common. They are available in standard sizes, making installation easy, assuming you have a standard space. Shapes and style choices, however, are limited.
Both stone resin and porcelain bathtubs are low maintenance and durable. Cleaning porcelain requires care as far as choosing suitable cleansers. For example, white vinegar, which is commonly used to clean surface around the home, is too acidic for the finish and could damage it. Better choices include common liquid dishwashing soap, ammonia, lemon, lemon oil, or baking soda. As with cleaning any bathtub, a regular cleaning schedule is highly recommended to ensure that your tub is free of potentially harmful mold and microorganisms.
The porcelain surface of porcelain bathtubs is prone to chipping. Even worse, rust will soon form once the steel is exposed. Porcelain repair compounds are available should a chip form. Likewise, you can repair stone resin tubs.
Porcelain bathtubs are among the most conventional bathtubs, and they tend to be an inexpensive choice. Stone resin bathtubs have the edge regarding style, heat retention, durability, maintenance, and comfort.
If you’re looking for a luxurious, durable, and affordable bathtub that’s built to last, easy to maintain, and a joy to use, consider a stone resin luxury freestanding bathtub.