What Types of Materials Are Bathtubs?

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As the largest fixture in the bathroom, the bathtub plays a big part in the overall look of the room. Because of this, bathtubs are available not only in several colors but also in several materials that match, complement or stand apart from the rest of the bathroom fixtures and decor. These materials are all water-tight and sturdy.

Metal

  • Although most metals rust and corrode over time, metals such as aluminum and stainless steel resist corrosion and can therefore be used to make bathtubs. These materials are malleable and durable, holding up to years of repeated exposure to water. Metal bathtubs are available in several colors, including white, black, beige and pink. Metal bathtubs are strong enough to stand on their own; many standalone bathtubs are made of metal. Cast iron is used as a frame for bathtubs, which are then coated with other materials.

Porcelain

  • Porcelain is the semi-crystallized ceramic often used in bathroom tile and fixtures. Porcelain lacks structural integrity and cannot, by itself, provide the strength a bathtub needs. Instead, this substance is laid over another material, such as cast iron, and made to cover all visible parts. Porcelain tubs do not usually exceed 5 feet in size because of their weak structural integrity. Porcelain is softer than metal but can also be tinted in shades of blue, white, beige and pink.

Plastic

  • Varieties of plastic bathtub include vinyl, PVC and acrylic. These tubs are available in a great variety of colors and can be molded to almost any shape. Because of this, molded plastic bathtubs are popular choices for whirlpools and other luxury tubs. Plastic is also an economical choice for a bathtub; plastic tubs are commonly seen in apartment complexes and housing developments, which need large quantities of uniform bathtubs.

Stone

  • Stone bathtubs are made from materials such as marble and are more expensive than other options. Stone is harder to work with than metal or plastic, but stone tubs are available in several shape configurations as well as colors ranging from onyx black to green and white. Bathtubs made of stone are sturdy and often visually appealing. However, stone expands and contracts depending on the temperature, and it can crack if temperature changes are too rapid. This can be expensive, since stone bathtubs cannot be patched and must be replaced.

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