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Which bathtub is better: steel, acrylic or cast iron?

Long-term and regular use of a bath requires a responsible approach to its choice. Before purchasing, when choosing what kind of bathtub you need: steel or acrylic, or maybe cast iron, you need to understand all the features of each of them, which affect the comfort of staying in the bathroom, installation and operation, and the suitability of the product to the interior.

Bath in the interior

Bath selection criteria

Basically, the characteristics of a product depend on its material. It affects both tactile sensations and the variety of bath shapes. The degree of heat transfer of the product and many other indicators also depend on the material.

When deciding which bathtub is the best option for you, you should weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of each material, based on the main indicators:

  • shape and design;
  • durability, reliability and strength;
  • resistance to high temperatures;
  • features of care;
  • price;
  • installation features.

Selection of sanitary ware material

Shape and design

A cast iron bathtub can only be purchased in a rectangular shape, since it is difficult to make a more intricate configuration from this material. If according to this criterion you are not satisfied with a cast iron bathtub - acrylic or steel, they have a variety of design solutions. Both of these materials are extremely ductile.

[note]The particular sophistication of the contours of the product should be alarming, as this may indicate a low quality bathtub - high-quality material takes complex shapes with difficulty.[/note]

Cast iron bathtub with painting

When choosing cast iron and steel bathtubs, it is necessary to carefully check the quality of the enamel coating, which should be uniform, without smudges:

  • The enamel color of cast iron products is usually white, but today there are also colored models and even exclusive ones with painting. The coating of a cast iron bathtub is easily damaged when hit by something heavy, and repairing it is quite expensive.
  • Shades of a steel bathtub vary from snow-white to beige.
  • Acrylic plumbing has an almost unlimited range of shades. The color of the product is set during its manufacturing process and does not fade over time.

Durability, reliability and strength

Steel bath

The quality of the material used in the production of the bathtub is a decisive factor on which the strength and service life of the product depend:

  • Bathtubs made of cast iron are heavy, have a sufficient margin of safety, and are highly stable. The service life of the product is 25 years or more. It largely depends on the quality of the enamel.
  • When choosing: cast iron or steel bathtub, it is important to consider their weight. A steel bathtub is much lighter, which makes it easier to transport and install. This same factor negatively affects its stability. The main indicator of the quality of steel products is the wall thickness, which should be at least 3 mm. The service life of a steel bath is 15 years.
  • When comparing whether an acrylic or cast iron bathtub is more suitable, it should be noted that acrylic products weigh significantly less. The strength of such bathtubs depends on the method of their reinforcement, which gives additional rigidity and protects against deformation. Most high-strength models are reinforced with a special metal mesh. The service life of a classic-shaped product is about 10 years, a bathtub with a complex configuration is 5-6 years.

Round acrylic bathtub

High temperature resistance

The material of the plumbing fixture determines its heat capacity:

  • Cast iron retains heat for a long time, but its heating time is long.
  • A steel bathtub does not retain heat well - the water cools quickly, and you have to constantly add hot water during long baths. But the product itself heats up quickly during the filling process.
  • An acrylic bathtub is superior to both steel and cast iron in terms of heat capacity. Acrylic heats up quickly and retains heat for a long time.

Features of care

An important factor when choosing plumbing fixtures is the specificity of its care, aimed mainly at preserving the enamel coating:

  • For cast iron bathtubs, detergents are contraindicated as they corrode the enamel, cause it to tarnish or change color, or cause rusty stains.
  • Cleaning powders should not be used to clean steel bathtubs; they damage the enamel.
  • When caring for acrylic products, it is necessary to avoid detergents containing strong solvents.

Cost of different types of baths

The price of each product depends on the quality of its material and manufacturer. The most budget option is a steel bathtub (from $100). Products made of cast iron and acrylic of average quality will be approximately the same (from $200). The most expensive option is an acrylic bathtub with additional reinforcement.

Installation Features

Acrylic bathtub support frame

In many ways, the subtleties of installing bathtubs are related to the characteristics of their material:

  • Transporting and installing a cast iron bathtub involves a number of difficulties due to its significant weight, which can reach 120 kg. Before installing a cast iron bathtub, you must also make sure that the ceiling can support its weight.
  • An acrylic or steel bathtub is better than a cast iron bathtub in terms of transportation and installation on site, since their weight is much less. This allows them to be installed in a shorter time.
  • You can install a steel bathtub yourself. Her average weight is 40 kg, but this is also the reason for her instability.

[note]Steel products make a loud sound when filled with water, which explains the negative reviews about them. Therefore, when installing them, it is necessary to carry out noise insulation measures using polyurethane foam, cork or polyethylene.[/note]

  • When installing an acrylic bathtub, you will definitely need to purchase a support frame-frame in advance, without which it is impossible to operate the product - it will sag. It is also often necessary to purchase a drain-overflow system and a decorative screen.

Colored sanitary ware in the bathroom interior

In addition to the material, it is important to choose the right size - most bathtubs of traditional shapes fit into the standards. Having decided on a jacuzzi, a bathtub for two, or a designer product, you need to make sure in advance that the dimensions of the plumbing fixtures correspond to the room. It is more practical to purchase colored bathtubs complete with a toilet and sink. All plumbing fixtures must be from the same manufacturer - otherwise a mismatch of shades may disrupt the unity of the interior.