Acrylic bathtubs are easy to maintain and clean, hold heat well, and are manufactured in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Not all the news is good, however: Acrylic tub owners must be careful about exposing the tubs to excessive heat. They have a shorter lifespan than other materials and are prone to scratching. As with any building material, you should understand all the pros and cons of an acrylic tub before the tub is installed.
Acrylic tubs are available in a very wide variety of colors, making it easy to match any bathroom decor. They can also be molded into many different shapes, making them highly customizable.
The high-gloss finish of acrylic tubs make them smooth and stain resistant, so they are easy to clean. The color goes all the way through the material, so scratches aren't as noticeable as they are on other tubs. Scratches can be easily patched by applying acrylic filler and sanding it smooth.
Thermal Properties and UV Resistance
Acrylic bathtubs hold heat well, which means your bath water stays warm longer. You'll be able to relax in the tub longer before the water starts to get cold. Acrylic is also resistant to ultra-violet light, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor tubs and spas. The material's heat absorption properties also help to keep heat in when you use an outdoor spa in the winter.
Weighting in at 60 to 70 pounds, bathtubs made of acrylic are much lighter than cast-iron tubs that can weigh 200 to 400 pounds, making them much easier for do-it-yourselfers to position in the home. A lighter tub also means less floor support is needed to hold the weight of the tub. Remember, however, that water will add weight, so your floor still needs to be solid.
Although scratches in acrylic can be repaired, you should expect to get them. Acrylic is a relatively soft material and will scratch or chip when exposed to abrasive cleaners, scouring pads or dropped items. Exposure to water temperatures over 167 degrees Fahrenheit will soften acrylic and may cause it to lose its shape.
Some acrylic tubs are reinforced with fiberglass to add strength. This works well but makes the tub a bit more expensive.
Acrylic bathtubs are one of the least expensive options, but they have a shorter lifespan than other materials. You can expect your tub to last about 10 to 15 years before it needs replacing because of cracking or discoloration.