Bathtub material


Last week we discussed some of the different types of bathtubs. Once you have decided which type of bathtub you might like in your home it’s time to choose a material. It’s important to note though that not all types of bathtubs come in every material. Below we will discuss some of the different materials and which types of bathtubs are suited for that type:

Cast Iron
Cast iron is a extremely long lasting and durable material and it is usually covered with a porcelain coating making it able to last for decades. Cast iron is usually found on alcove or free standing tubs. Their finish is very strong and easily cleaned. However, the porcelain that does eventually wear away or chip will reveal the cast iron which can rust. Cast iron tubs are also extremely heavy and a need good support system.

Enamel On Steel
Enamel on steel bathtubs or porcelain on steel have a very similar look to that of cast iron except they are much lighter. Just like cast iron their surface is easily cleaned and maintained and are also susceptible to rusting if the porcelain chips or gets scratched exposing the steel underneath. However, their lighter weight means that they’re easier to install into a remodeled bathroom and it doesn’t require as much support as the cast iron tub.

Acrylic is a high gloss material very similar to the look on cast iron and steel tubs, but it’s a much lighter weight than both cast iron and steel. It can be scratched more easily but these scratches can also be repaired easier than a porcelain enamel surface. Because acrylic is an easily formed material it is often found on whirlpool bathtubs.


Fiberglass reinforced plastic is covered in something called gelcoat. The gelcoat provides a smooth and glass like surface for the tub and can be easily cleaned as well. It is very similar to acrylic but it’s usually not as durable. You can usually find some whirlpool bathtubs made from this material because it can be shaped very easily.

Composite tubs are made with engineered composite materials and the outside surface is finished in enamel. The purpose of composite tubs is to try to achieve the benefits of cast iron, such as heat retention and a strong surface finish without the weight associated with cast iron tubs. Some people report a slight bend and/or creaking with composite tubs but sometimes this can be related to the technique used to install it.

Cultured Marble
Cultured marble is actually a type of engineered stone where crushed marble is combined with resin to produce a solid product. You could say it’s very similar to quartz countertops (see our article on counter top material). Once made cultured marble is usually covered with a clear gelcoat in order to provide a durable yet easy to clean and stain resistant surface. However, cultured marble is a brittle material and it isn’t very forgiving of overly tightened faucet and/or water spout fixtures that can crack the surface. While any surface scratches can usually be buffed out cracks are usually unrepairable.

Wood is definitely a different style choice and can look extremely beautiful but it does comes with some issues. Wood tubs need a very good surface sealer in order to prevent deterioration and bathtubs that are constructed out of several pieces of wood must have those seams tightly joined and sealed so it doesn’t leak. Long term durability as well as maintaining a leak proof tub are things you’ll need to consider before deciding to go with wood.

Be sure to check back next week for the last part on bathtubs as we will be discussing bathtub installation techniques.


Are you looking to install a new bathtub or replace an existing one? If so we can help. Give us a call today.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains