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Disadvantages of Fiberglass Bathtubs and Showers

Are you planning a bathroom remodeling project in the near future? You’ll quickly learn that there are many decisions you’ll need to make in the process. One of the most important of those decisions is which material to use for your new bathtub or shower. Fiberglass bathtubs and showers are a popular option with many homeowners, but before you choose them for your home, there are some important disadvantages that you should consider. 

Throughout this detailed guide, you’ll learn more about some of the cons of fiberglass tubs and showers and find out more about why acrylic is our material of choice. When you’re ready to replace your replace fiberglass showers and bathtubs, and get your bathroom remodeling project scheduled, we’d be happy to chat with you about your ideas.

To get started, please contact us online or call your local EZPro Baths Express location

What Is Fiberglass?

Fiberglass bathtubs and showers are made from a mixture of woven glass fibers and polyester resin. Then, it’s often sprayed with a special gel coating to help protect it against fading. Once the material is made, the manufacturer pours it into a bathtub or shower mold, creating one whole unit without any seams. 

Since the manufacturers have to use a mold, there are some limitations to the styles, sizes, and shapes that you can choose for your fiberglass tub or shower. They are often not available in as many textures or colors either, especially compared to acrylic options. 

Disadvantages of Choosing Fiberglass Bathtubs and Showers

Affordability is one of the biggest reasons that fiberglass showers and tubs are popular, as they’re cheaper than some other materials. However, you’ll want to weigh that affordability against the clear disadvantages of this material. Is your tub fiberglass or acrylic? There are many reasons you should avoid a fiberglass shower or tub. You can explore them below. 

Durability

As a lightweight material, fiberglass tubs and showers are thinner than other materials. Unfortunately, this makes them much less durable than their acrylic counterparts. 

Additionally, the gel coat that we mentioned above is very soft, which means that it’s easy to crack or scratch your fiberglass shower or tub with normal use. Even just dropping a bottle of shampoo or conditioner in your fiberglass tub can cause it to crack. Also, over time, it’s not uncommon for the gel goat to wear away, which leaves the porous sublayer exposed to the water, which will eventually degrade.

Beyond that, fiberglass is a flexible material, meaning it can shift over time. This puts strain on the caulking around the tub, causing it to crack. Once the seal is broken, it reduces its waterproofing properties and will require fiberglass tub repairs or replacement to prevent damage to your bathroom.

Heat Retention

Few things in life are quite as relaxing as soaking in a hot bath after a long day. Unfortunately, your soak may be cut short in a fiberglass bathtub. Compared to acrylic, fiberglass has poor heat retention, so your water will get colder faster. 

Cleaning Issues

When your fiberglass tub or shower starts to look dingy, you have to be careful about how you clean it. The soft nature of fiberglass means that it can’t withstand abrasive cleaning materials, as they can scratch the gel coat. Instead, you have to use vinegar, water, and baking soda along with a soft cloth to keep it clean. 

Inconsistent Surface

During the fiberglass production process, the gel coat we’ve talked about is applied to the surface with a sprayer. Because of this, the color and thickness of the spray are not always consistent across the surface of your shower or bathtub. While this isn’t as noticeable in the shower, you might notice these inconsistencies when soaking in a fiberglass tub. 

acrylic tub replacement

Common Questions About Fiberglass Bathtubs and Showers

Whether you currently have a fiberglass tub or shower that you’re trying to care for or you’re interested in replacing your fiberglass bathing area with an acrylic bathtub or shower, you might have some questions. Let’s take a closer look at some of the fiberglass questions we most often hear from local homeowners. 

How Long Does a Fiberglass Tub Last?

Generally speaking, a fiberglass tub or fiberglass shower has an average lifespan of about 15 years, depending on how well you maintain it. If you use harsh cleaners or are careless about dropping things in your fiberglass tub or shower, it probably will have a lifespan closer to 10 years instead. 

If your fiberglass tub or shower is more than a decade old, it’s time to start thinking about replacing it with a more durable material. 

Are Fiberglass Bathtubs Good?

Honestly, the answer depends on how you plan to use your bathtub. If you want to replace or remodel a bathtub in a rarely used bathroom for a low price, then a fiberglass tub could be a good option for you. However, if you are looking for a replacement tub for your kid’s bathroom or you want to take a relaxing bath nightly, then a fiberglass tub is likely not the best choice for your needs. 

When you are planning your bathroom remodel, our installers would be happy to chat with you about your needs to help you decide which tub or shower material will work best for your family. 

Will a Fiberglass Tub Burn?

Do you dream of sitting in a hot bath with a few candles burning to help you relax after a long day? If so, then you might want to rethink getting a fiberglass tub. If you accidentally dropped that candle, you’d have to worry about the flame burning your tub and leaving a nasty stain. 

Depending on the severity of the burn, you may be able to get rid of it with an epoxy resin, but it doesn’t always work. 

Can a Fiberglass Tub Be Painted?

While, yes, you can technically paint a fiberglass tub, we don’t usually recommend it. In most cases, it can be hard for the paint to properly adhere to the surface, which means it will eventually start to peel. 

If you do decide to try painting your fiberglass tub, it’s important to take the time to sand the surface so the paint will better adhere to it. However, a much easier option is to replace or remodel your bathtub instead. 

acrylic tub replacement

What Makes Acrylic a Better Option Than Fiberglass?

Here at EZPro Baths Express, we exclusively install acrylic bathtubs and showers because we believe they offer the best value to our customers. Below, you can learn more about what makes this material popular with so many local homeowners. 

It’s Durable

Perhaps the factor that sets an acrylic shower or tub apart from fiberglass the most is that it’s a much more durable material. With proper maintenance, it’s not uncommon for an acrylic tub or shower to last longer than 15 years, without scratching, cracking, or fading with use. 

In fact, we’re so confident in the acrylic tubs and showers we install that we back them with a 20-year labor warranty and a lifetime warranty against cracking, discoloration, and fading. 

It Comes in a Variety of Styles and Designs

No matter what design aesthetic you desire for your bathroom, you can bring your ideas to life with an acrylic tub or shower. Acrylic comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, styles, and designs, so you can customize your bathing area however you’d like. 

It Retains Heat

As we mentioned above, fiberglass is not good at retaining heat, which is particularly a concern for bathtubs. Acrylic, on the other hand, is a non-porous surface that has excellent heat retention properties so your bath water stays warmer for longer. 

It’s a Lightweight Material

While fiberglass is known for being lightweight, acrylic is too. This makes for an easier installation process, so you can start enjoying your new tub or shower as quickly as possible. In fact, our team can often complete the installation process in as little as a day or two. 

It’s Affordable

Fiberglass is often chosen because it’s a cost-effective material, but you can rest easy knowing that acrylic tubs and showers are also affordable. In the long run, acrylic is actually more cost-effective, since it tends to last longer and requires fewer repairs compared to fiberglass. 

What’s even better is that EZPro Baths Express is here to help you get the bathroom of your dreams for the right price. We offer a variety of financing options like low monthly payments and zero-interest payments so you can pay for your new acrylic tub or shower in a way that works best for you. 

It’s Easy to Clean

With fiberglass, you have to be careful about how you clean the surface, but the opposite is true for acrylic. It’s very easy to clean your acrylic tub or shower thanks to silver ion technology, which helps prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. 

shower replacement with acrylic

Ditch Your Fiberglass Tub or Shower and Opt for Acrylic Instead

Are you ready to upgrade the bathrooms in your home by getting rid of the old fiberglass bathtubs and showers? EZPro Baths Express is here to make the process as easy as possible. We specialize in acrylic tub and shower installations, so you can get more enjoyment out of your home.

To get an exact quote for your project, please contact us online or call your local EZPro Baths Express location!