Sentrel Bath Systems Frost color. Tub/shower combo

Acrylic Tubs vs Cast Iron

7 minutes

Acrylic tubs and cast-iron tubs are some of the most popular materials for homeowners to update the look and style of their bathroom. This is because both materials have a wide range of benefits that make them an excellent choice for a bathroom update. However, there are also some key differences between the two materials that homeowners should be aware of before making a final decision. Below, we will discuss some of the key differences as well as the similarities between these two popular materials so that homeowners can make the best decision for their bath or shower update.  

Acrylic bath tub in Mocha Travertine

How are Acrylic Tubs Made?

Acrylic tubs are made by combining different plastics using a curing process to harden the material and comes out into a sheet. It is then heated and then vacuumed into the desired shape. Acrylic tubs are then reinforced by fiberglass. This results in a material that is much stronger and more durable than traditional plastics. In addition, the material is also much lighter than other types of tub materials, making it easier to install and move around.  

How are Cast Iron Tubs Made?

Cast iron tubs are made by pouring molten iron ore into a mold. This results in an extraordinarily strong and durable material that is also very heavy. Because of this, cast iron tubs are often considered to be more of a permanent fixture in a bathroom than acrylic tubs. In addition, cast iron tubs can be difficult to move and install. This is because they are so heavy. Cast iron tubs often require multiple people to move and to install them. This often makes cast iron tubes expensive not just for the material but also the labor for installation.

Cast iron bathtub

The Comparison: Acrylic Bathtub vs Cast Iron 

When it comes to choosing between an acrylic tub and a cast iron tub, the choice can be difficult. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, and homeowners should consider all the options before making your final decision. Both acrylic and cast-iron tubs offer a wonderful choice for a bathroom update. However, the key difference between these two materials is the weight, installation, cost of labor and materials, durability, maintenance, and heat retention. See below for a breakdown of these characteristics to help you choose the best tub for your bathroom. 

Durability & Appearance 

Cast iron tubs are known for their durability and strength. With the proper maintenance and care, these tubs can last for decades. The base of a cast iron tub is made of metal, so it is exceptionally resistant to cracking and denting. Since cast iron tubs are poured into a mold, this can severely limit the designs available. Cast-iron tubs are usually found as free standing tub, garden tub or claw foot tubs. If you were looking for a tub and shower combination, this type of material may not be the best choice for you. 

On the other hand, acrylic is amazingly flexible and can be molded into just about any shape or color. This allows the homeowner to find the perfect tub to match their bathroom décor. Unfortunately, acrylic tubs are not as durable as cast iron and can be more susceptible to cracking and denting. However, modern acrylic tubs are reinforced with fiberglass, which makes them much more durable than traditional acrylic tubs.  

Weight Differences 

Another key difference between acrylic and cast-iron tubs is contributed to the weight difference. Cast iron tubs are incredibly heavy and can weigh up to 300-500 pounds, depending on the size. This makes it difficult to move and install, often requiring multiple people or special equipment.

On the other hand, acrylic tubs are much lighter and can weigh anywhere from 60-100 pounds, making them much easier to move and install. 

Maintenance Differences 

The level of maintenance for each of these tubs also differs greatly. Acrylic tubs do require more maintenance. This is because they are more prone to staining and scratches.  

Cast Iron tubs require extraordinarily little maintenance because of their durability. The metal exterior does not scratch easily and does not require regular treatments. Additionally, these tubs are non-porous, which means they will not absorb stains and odors. Homeowners may find that cast iron tubs require more cleaning, but they will not have to worry about deep cleaning or harsh chemical treatments. 

Both of these tub materials should be cleaned regularly, at least once a week. We created an article on how to maintain and how to clean acrylic tubs.

Cost Differences 

The cost of materials and labor also plays a role in deciding between acrylic and cast-iron tubs. Cast iron tubs are usually more expensive due to the manufacturing process, the weight, and the difficulty of installation. 

On the other hand, acrylic tubs are usually much cheaper in comparison. Since they are much lighter and easier to install, they require less labor and are much easier to transport. Additionally, since acrylic is cheaper than cast iron, this may be a deciding factor for some homeowners. However, since acrylic tubs are not as strong and durable as cast iron, they may need to be replaced more frequently. 

Heat Retention 

Another difference between cast iron and acrylic tubs is heat retention. Cast iron tubs are known for their ability to hold heat much longer than acrylic tubs. This can be a notable feature since they allow you to enjoy a hot bath without having to continually add hot water. Acrylic tubs do not retain heat either, so they cool down faster and require fresh warm water to maintain the heat. 

Cast Iron vs Acrylic tub: What is the Best Bath Material for a Bath Remodel?  

Ultimately, which material is best for your bath remodel depends on your budget, preferences, and expectations. Cast iron tubs are incredibly durable, heat retaining, and luxurious. However, they are significantly heavier and more expensive than acrylic tubs. Acrylic tubs are much lighter and easier to install, but they do not have the same level of durability as cast iron tubs, but with regular maintenance and care, they can last a lifetime.  

Here at DaBella, our Bath & Shower materials are provided by Sentrel Bath Systems. They offer a wide range of beautifully designed patterns, colors, textures, and sizes for our acrylic baths. We also provide professional installation for all our tubs, so you can rest assured that your bath remodel will be completed safely and efficiently. We can help you find the perfect bath or shower for your bathroom and stay within your budget. With our top-quality products and highly trained professionals, you can be confident that your bath remodel is a success. Whether you are looking for a modern, classic, or contemporary look, we have the perfect tub for you backed by industry-leading warranties. Contact us today to get started on your dream bath remodel. 

Choose DaBella for Your Next Bath Remodel Project 

When deciding on the best bath for your remodel, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each material. At DaBella, we strive to provide our customers with the most reliable and durable bath replacements and products available. When choosing DaBella for your acrylic bath installation, you can trust that it will last for years to come and add value to your home. With the help of our experienced professionals, we can help you find the perfect tub or shower that fits both your style and budget. Contact DaBella today at 844-DaBella to learn more about how we can transform your bathroom into a beautiful and functional space for you and your family.