When you’re planning a bathroom remodeling project, the first step is to take a look around your bathroom and determine your top priorities with regard to what you want to change. This is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at your tub, shower area, etc., to really see if it’s working for your needs. If you do decide to replace your tub, you’ll need to decide which type of tub to install.
While acrylic and fiberglass are both popular options, we exclusively install acrylic tubs. To learn more about acrylic vs fiberglass tub options and why acrylic is our material of choice, continue reading this in-depth guide.
When you’re ready to talk to our installers more about your tub replacement project or you want to request a quote from us, please don’t hesitate to reach out by contacting us online or calling your local EZPro Baths Express location.
All About Fiberglass Tubs
As a popular bathtub material, fiberglass tubs are made from tiny strings of interwoven glass which are heated together and shaped into a variety of tub sizes. They typically have a gel coat finish to give them a smooth and glossy appearance. Unfortunately, there are many disadvantages of fiberglass bathtubs and showers as this gel coat is soft, making the material prone to scratches and staining over time.
Fiberglass is a lightweight material, so many home builders use it in second-story bathrooms, as there is no need to put in additional support between the floor and the tub.
Fast Facts About Fiberglass Tubs
- You can’t use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers to clean it, as they will scratch the gel coat
- The gel coat will eventually wear away, leaving the porous sublayer exposed to water
- It’s a more cost-effective tub option, upfront, but it can be more expensive to repair or replace later
- Fiberglass doesn’t retain heat as well as other materials, so your water will get colder faster when you’re trying to relax
All About Acrylic Tubs
Acrylic bathtubs, on the other hand, are made from sheets of plastic that are reinforced with layers of fiberglass that are then molded to your desired shape. Thanks to the manufacturing process, acrylic tubs are more durable than fiberglass options, making them a popular option for homeowners who plan to stay in their houses for the foreseeable future. Compared to fiberglass, acrylic tubs have a smoother, glossier finish, and are available in more color options.
Fast Facts About Acrylic Tubs
- It’s easier to clean than fiberglass and you can use a variety of cleaning supplies without worrying about damage
- It’s more durable than fiberglass, lasting around 30 years
- Unlike fiberglass, it won’t stain, crack, or peel over time
- It’s a thicker and less brittle material than fiberglass
- Thanks to silver ion technology, it’s less likely to develop mold, mildew, and bacteria
Common Questions We Get About Fiberglass Tubs
Because fiberglass is a common bathtub material, we find that our customers have a lot of questions about them when planning a remodel. We’ve rounded up some of the most common questions we get about fiberglass tubs so it’s easier for you to decide whether you should replace your old fiberglass tub with an acrylic one instead.
How Much Does a Fiberglass Tub Cost?
The short answer is that the cost of a fiberglass tub depends on several different factors. The total cost you’ll pay largely depends on the following:
- The size and style of the tub
- How difficult it is to remove your old tub and install the new fiberglass one
- The contractor you hire for the job and the labor rate they charge
- The faucets you choose for your tub, which range in cost depending on material and style
At the end of the day, fiberglass is one of the cheapest tub options, but it comes at a cost. Since fiberglass tubs don’t last as long as acrylic and they are more prone to damage, they’re not cost-effective in the long term.
How Can I Tell If a Tub Is Fiberglass or Plastic?
If you didn’t have your house built, there’s a good chance you might not know what type of tubs you have in your home. In that case, you might not even realize that you have a fiberglass tub that you’d eventually like to replace.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can look for to help you determine what material your tub is made from. For starters, take a look at the inside of your tub. Is it starting to fade from white to a more yellowish color? If so, it’s probably made from fiberglass.
Next, look at the edges of the tub. If they are thin, this is another sign that you likely have a fiberglass bathtub. Finally, if there are a lot of scratches in your tub, that’s another sign that it’s most likely made from fiberglass.
Why Do Fiberglass Tubs Crack?
As we mentioned above, fiberglass is not as durable as acrylic. Not only is it prone to scratches, but fiberglass can also eventually crack. Here’s a closer look at the most common causes of cracks in fiberglass bathtubs:
Heavy objects: Because fiberglass tubs are delicate, any time you drop an item in your bathtub, there’s a risk it can crack the finish. Even if you wouldn’t traditionally consider these items to be “heavy,” something as simple as dropping a shampoo bottle can crack your fiberglass tub.
Improper installation: When your fiberglass tub was initially installed, it needed proper support. If it doesn’t have it, the weight of your body in the bathtub, or even just the weight of the water inside it, can press against the weakest parts of your tub, eventually causing cracks to form.
Harsh cleaners: After years of daily use, it’s not uncommon to notice that your bathtub looks grimy. When these stubborn stains don’t respond to a quick wipe-down with a soft rag, you’ll probably want to bring out the heavy-duty cleaners to get the job done. However, when you use abrasive cleaners in a fiberglass tub, they will weaken the surface and eventually lead to cracks.
Can Fiberglass Showers & Bathtubs Be Repaired?
As you can see, it’s a matter of when, not if, your fiberglass bathtub will become damaged. But, technically, most cracks can be fixed by using an epoxy bathtub repair kit. However, keep in mind that unless you’re handy and familiar with how to use tools like a drill, rotary tool, etc., this project might be too much for the average DIYer.
Beyond that, depending on the size of the crack in your tub, a repair kit may not be enough to adequately fix it. When you have multiple large cracks, your best bet is to replace the tub altogether, with a more durable material like acrylic.
How Long Does a Fiberglass Tub Last?
On the high end, you can expect your fiberglass tub to last around 15 years, but without proper care and maintenance, it may need to be replaced around the 10-year mark instead. To help extend the lifespan as much as possible, avoid using abrasive cleaners, try not to drop anything in your bathtub, and check the caulk sealant from time to time to see if it needs to be replaced.
What Will Clean a Fiberglass Tub?
So far, we’ve talked a lot about how not to clean your fiberglass tub. But, if you have a fiberglass tub in your home, here are a few cleaning tips you can follow to prevent damage:
- Instead of a traditional cleaner, use a mixture of two parts vinegar and one part water to spray in your tub, allowing it to sit for up to 20 minutes
- Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently wipe away soap scum, dirt, and grime from your tub
- Rinse the tub thoroughly and use a microfiber cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner
For very stubborn stains, you can create a paste by mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, allowing it to sit on the stains for up to an hour before wiping it away.
Acrylic vs Fiberglass Tub Options: Acrylic Is the Clear Winner
Are you sick of your fiberglass tub? If you’re tired of having to treat it with kid gloves for fear of scratching or cracking it, it’s time to think about replacing your tub with a more durable option. All of our acrylic bathroom remodeling options are made from virgin acrylic, which has a thicker top layer compared to other acrylic materials.
This makes it a much more durable option than fiberglass, so you can use your tub without worrying about damage. Best of all, our acrylic bathtubs are backed by a lifetime warranty against fading, discoloration, and cracking, and fall under our 20-year labor warranty.
Hire EZPro Baths Express to Replace Your Fiberglass Tub
When you’re ready to upgrade your bathroom with a beautiful, low-maintenance, and durable bathtub, there’s no better choice than EZPro Baths Express. We are knowledgeable about acrylic vs fiberglass tub options and would be happy to remove your old fiberglass tub and complete an acrylic bathtub replacement or acrylic shower remodel.
To request a free quote for your project, please contact us online or call your local EZPro Baths Express location.