Acrylic Vs. Fiberglass Shower

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Deciding which type of shower to place in a new or existing home is important. The material used to make the shower stall or combination shower and tub stall will determine how long the stall will last. Before choosing to use either an acrylic or a fiberglass shower, homeowners should consider the pros and cons of each shower type.

Composition

  • The two types of showers are the most common types and are very similar in that they are both made from molded plastic. Oddly enough, acrylic shower stalls include bits of fiberglass within their composition, and fiberglass showers encompass numerous materials, including particles of acrylic.

Process

  • The difference in the two showers and their features exists because of the alternating processes in which the showers or tub stalls are created. Acrylic showers are made from the combination of materials that are heated, stretched into a mold and then vacuumed into the final molded shape. Fiberglass, alternately, is made by pouring the melted materials into a gel-coated mold. The gel coating remains on the fiberglass shower or tub stall.

Acrylic

  • The vacuum-creation process of the acrylic shower stall makes a stronger and more scratch-resistant surface. This means that an acrylic shower stall will last a longer time. Additionally, acrylic liners can be placed over existing tub and shower stalls to transform old stalls into stronger, more durable and longer lasting acrylic showers and tubs. The process used to create acrylic showers eliminates pores in the shower or bath stall, preventing mold, soap scum and hard-water buildup from embedding into the stall and causing it to break apart, rot or leak.

Fiberglass

  • Fiberglass showers are less expensive than acrylic showers, because fiberglass showers do not last as long as acrylic stalls. Unfortunately, this is due to the way in which the fiberglass showers are made. The gel-coating from the mold is transferred onto the fiberglass shower and protects the fiberglass material from water damage. The fiberglass is porous underneath the gel coating. Over time, the coating wears away, the fiberglass materials are exposed and eventually, excessive water exposure and frequent wetting and drying will lead to cracks and the necessary replacement of the fiberglass shower.

Considerations

  • Cost is the main consideration for many homeowners placing a shower in a new or existing home. Though fiberglass showers are less expensive, they will need to be replaced before an acrylic shower. If money is an immediate issue, then perhaps a fiberglass shower is the best choice, followed by an acrylic lining when money will allow. If money is available, an acrylic shower is a great investment, postponing the need for a replacement.

References

  • Photo Credit "Way to "hide" a clawfoot tub" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: SharkeyinColo (Mary-Frances Main) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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