Which material for bathtubs: advantages and disadvantages of each material

The bathtub is an integral part of the bathroom. It is an important and popular part of the interior. Bathtubs can be made from a wide variety of materials. And these in turn have different properties. An excursion into the world of bathtub materials shows the advantages and disadvantages of the individual materials.

From acrylic to glass: a variety of materials for bathtubs

Today’s bathroom is not just for personal hygiene. It is a place of relaxation and recreation. The bathtub is often the heart of this wellness oasis. It has blossomed from being a mere utensil to an exciting element of bathroom design, and the options when it comes to choosing a tub are almost limitless.

The materials used in production are just as diverse as the models and shapes of bathtubs. The most common materials are acrylic in various variants and steel enamel, cast iron, wood, glass or natural stone are used less frequently. Cast mineral tubs are in increasing demand because they have a particularly pleasant surface. For special shapes, on the other hand, materials containing synthetic resin are often used because they enable casting in one piece. The wide range of different materials offers a lot of design freedom, but it can also quickly become overwhelming. Before purchasing a tub, many people ask themselves which material is best for the tub.

Materials for tubs and their properties at a glance

The material from which the tub is made influences its appearance, durability, heat retention, feel and the maintenance required . Accordingly, you should choose a material that suits both your living style and your lifestyle. For example, a tub made of steel enamel is not necessarily the best choice for wellness fans who love long, hot relaxation baths. The material has a relatively low heat storage capacity, which means that the water cools down faster than with wood or acrylic. To help you choose the right bathtub, we present the most common materials here and explain the important advantages and disadvantages.

Tub made of sanitary acrylic: The easy-care classic

Sanitary acrylic, along with steel enamel, is one of the most commonly used materials for bathtubs. Above all, it impresses with its impact and shock resistance as well as its breaking strength. A non-porous and non-slip surface keeps maintenance costs low. The low assembly weight and chemical resistance also speak in favor of the material, which is also usually cheaper than mineral cast. Thanks to its ability to store heat, sanitary acrylic ensures a pleasantly warm feeling. Real quality tubs made in Germany are also scratch and heat resistant.

The bathtub manufacturer Mauersberger has an innovation ready. The company offers an acrylic surface (matt finish) that is comparable to mineral materials and feels similarly matt. The positive properties of sanitary acrylic are combined with a pleasant feel. And because the material is cast sanitary acrylic, the Mauersberger acrylic bathtubs not only have an even colour, they are also cheaper than composite materials.

Should the bathtub be enamel (steel enamel), acrylic or cast mineral? Each material has its advantages and its price.

Composite materials: bathtub made of mineral material

If materials based on acrylic or synthetic resin are mixed with minerals, one speaks of mineral materials. Like the sanitary acrylic, these composite materials are easy to form, lighter than steel enamel and yet durable. They have a very pleasant feel and feel warm, similar to sanitary acrylic. There are now many different types of these solid, easy-care fabrics. There are some manufacturer-specific designations here.

There are two different production processes. Either the base material is cast in a mold – then one speaks of mineral casting. Or the plate-like material is deep-drawn. This is done using a special vacuum technology that requires special machines. Accordingly, mineral cast bathtubs only describe a part of the bathtubs made of mineral material.

Due to the large number of manufacturers, users can choose from a wide range of tub designs

Quaryl, for example, is acrylic enriched with extremely fine quartz sand. It therefore represents a further development of acrylic. The combination of the two materials results in an even higher resistance of the surface. In addition, Quaryl is easy to form, feels comfortable, is hard-wearing and also recyclable.

Corian, a mixture of acrylic and minerals, is particularly easy to care for and dirt-resistant. Due to its non-porous nature, this material skilfully prevents the accumulation of bacteria and mold. In addition, Corian can be processed in many ways and thus made to fit perfectly. Traces of use can also be easily removed by light sanding.

A new, very light composite material is Duralmond. The mixture of synthetic resin and ground almond shells not only has very good haptic properties, but is also easy to shape and recycle.

Oval and corner bathtubs etc. can be accentuated not only with tiles, but also with design covers

The great advantage of mineral baths lies in their feel. It is important to users that the bathtub not only looks attractive. It should also feel nice. Solid surface bathtubs have a rather velvety surface, which makes them feel soft. In addition, scratches and other damage can usually be easily repaired. Sanding can be used to edit the tub and repair damage. The bathtub looks like new again afterwards.

Steel enamel bathtub: robust and durable

The most commonly used composite material is steel enamel. Consisting of sheet steel and glass, it has an overall high level of resistance and durability. However, it is sensitive to mechanical impact from sharp objects. Thanks to the dirt-repellent, non-porous surface, neither mold nor bacteria can accumulate on this material. In addition, this material is recyclable. Since steel enamel cannot store heat, the bath water cools down faster. In general, the material feels rather cold.

  • A layer of enamel protects the steel pan from corrosion, dirt deposits and cleaning agents, among other things

For individualists: wood, glass, natural stone, concrete

In addition to the classic cast iron, there are other traditional materials that are used to make tubs. Wood and natural stone, for example, have an incomparable charm and are good at absorbing and storing heat. However, a bathtub made of wood must be elastic and sealed for a long time. Natural stone is inherently susceptible to acids. Therefore, he is more demanding in care.
If wooden paneling for cast mineral or acrylic bathtubs is not enough, a bathtub made entirely of wood can perhaps convince you.

In contrast to an acrylic tub, a glass tub offers maximum transparency. The smooth surface is insensitive to water, alkalis and acids. In addition, glass can be wonderfully combined with other materials. In order to prevent water stains, however, cleaning is more complex.

If you like it puristic, you can create exactly the right look with a concrete bathtub. There are no limits to the variety of shapes. Poured in a liquid state, concrete can take any form and be individually adapted. If desired, color pigments make the familiar gray disappear. As with natural stone, the weight can become a challenge. Accordingly, the load-bearing capacity of the floor must be checked in advance.

Cast iron is a real oldie among bathtub materials. The iron-carbon alloy was the standard in furnace production for a long time. Friends of the vintage look love the material. Especially as a free-standing bath on four feet. The enamelling also ensures a pore-free surface for them. Compared to the steel bathtub, the cast iron models cool the water less quickly.

Spoiled for the choice of material: Find out exactly what you need before you buy a tub

Because there are plenty of materials for the bathtub, you should do more research before you buy. The individual substances have different properties and associated advantages and disadvantages. If in doubt, we recommend a detailed consultation! Experts who are well versed in the strengths and weaknesses of each material can help you find the best material for your needs

Feel free to inquire at a bathroom showroom in your area or at a bathtub manufacturer.

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