Taking a Bath – Tub Choices for Bathroom Remodeling
You have been thinking about a new bathtub for your bathroom remodeling but don’t know where to start. First, you have to decide what is important to you in a tub.
- Do you want a longer tub and is there room for one?
- Do you want a deeper tub for those long soaks?
- Do you want a whirlpool tub with water jets to massage your back and aching muscles?
- Do you want a Yugo tub or do you want a Cadillac tub?
…and the material you will use to finish the walls around the tub also affect tub selection.
Enameled Steel Bathtubs
Constructed of sheet metal with a thin porcelain glazing, these are very easily chipped. My advice on steel tubs is you better put the for-sale sign out front before you even install one. We have not installed a steel bathtub in the past 20 years and probably never will. Most brand new homes today, even in the $500,000 range, have a cheap steel tub.
Fiberglass tubs can be both good and bad. It all boils down to quality and the right selection of tubs. The undesirable fiberglass tubs are made with a gel coat finish. This is a thin colored layer of fiberglass that is soft and easily stained or scratched. The better fiberglass tubs are made of pressure and heat-molded material with the color throughout and no layers to chip, crack or peel. This results in a hard fiberglass that is very resistant to stains and mildew. The fiberglass tubs we use carry a 10 year warranty. Average life span is around 20 years. These tubs lend themselves to matching wall surrounds that are very practical and low maintenance.
These tubs are vacuum-molded from sheets of colored acrylic and reinforced with fiberglass. Acrylic sheets are made of pure plastic. Plastic is that ‘nasty’ stuff that will still be in the landfill 1000 years from now. That particular feature of durability is it’s strong suit. High-gloss acrylic tubs are resistant to mold, mildew and chipping. The color goes all the way through and therefore scratches and chips can be sanded and buffed out. Acrylic tubs are offered in deeper styles for those long, hot soaks. They can also be set up with whirlpool jets to ease those aches and pains. Acrylic tubs are noisier than cast iron but there are ways to quiet them. These tubs usually have a 1-2 year warranty and a life expectancy around 20-30 years.
Porcelain Cast Iron Bathtubs
Cast iron tubs are the ‘Cadillac’ of tubs. They offer a rock-solid feeling of strength and a rich, glossy surface. The porcelain finish is very durable and easy to clean. Cast iron tubs are the heaviest in weight and therefore, the quietest. They carry a lifetime limited warranty and life expectancy should be in the 50-75 year range.
Contact Freedom Builders & Remodelers 815-985-0310 for a consultation on your next remodeling or renovation project