Some remodeling projects consume too much time or cost too much money for you to consider undertaking them without shortcuts. Building a shower stall from the ground up is one such endeavor. For those without the technical know-how or the time to build a shower stall, numerous pre-made shower stalls exist that you can purchase and place in a bathroom. The differences between acrylic and Swanstone -- both used in pre-made shower stall construction -- include the materials themselves and the brands.
The generic name "acrylic" denotes any plastic polymer formed from acrylic and methacrylic acid. These plastics appear in numerous applications, including the construction of pre-made shower stalls. Manufacturers create thin sheets of acrylic, stretch and heat them, and use a vacuum to suck the sheet into the shape of the intended shower stall. Fiberglass is then instilled with the acrylic to harden the material and give it a scratch-resistant finish. According to the authors of “Kitchen and Bath Idea Book,” acrylic showers usually cost significantly more than similar showers made from material such as gelcoat but also last longer.
The Swan Corporation
Swanstone is a solid surface material manufactured by the Swan Corporation, which produces kitchen sinks, counter tops, vanity mirror tops and bowls, table tops, shower walls and floors, bathtubs and miscellaneous items such as freestanding outdoor showers, laundry tubs and shower seats and bars, all from its own materials. The company maintains contracts with institutions like University of California, Berkeley for large installations and also manufactures products for individual home use.
Swanstone surfaces are made from modified, reinforced acrylic filled with minerals. The minerals and the type of acrylic involved remain secrets of the Swan Corporation. According to literature published by the company and informational videos found on the Swan Corporation website, Swanstone materials last five times longer than competing materials like acrylic. You can hit Swanstone with a hammer, heat it to temperatures of 450 degrees Fahrenheit and regale it in chemical baths, including materials such as acetone, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, nail polish remover, ethanol and Class II acids without damaging its surface.
Acrylic vs. Swanstone Showers
Swanstone showers contain acrylic, technically making them a registered brand of acrylic showers. However, Swanstone showers contain numerous materials not found in standard acrylic showers that purportedly make them much stronger and more durable than their generic counterparts. Furthermore, acrylic showers commonly contain just one part, the acrylic mold. Swanstone showers for indoor use contain a wall and a floor, each a separate part. Swan Corporation products intended for domestic use come with 25-year warranties.