If you are deciding between fiberglass and acrylic shower pans, how long each one will last may affect your decision. Acrylic shower pans go through a different manufacturing process than any other type of shower pan, and it affects their longevity. Before you decide on an acrylic shower pan, take into consideration its life span.
It is very difficult to say exactly how long an acrylic shower pan will last because many factors influence its life span. Under normal conditions, it is safe to say an acrylic shower pan will lasts several years at the minimum and possibly up to 10 years or more. Acrylic is very durable, and it is completely corrosion resistant. So, rust is not an issue in determining life span, but it is still difficult to tell just how long one will last without knowing a few things about the product.
Acrylic shower pans are built from one single sheet of acrylic, a material similar to latex and also used in the manufacturing of paint. This acrylic sheet is pressed into the shape of a shower pan by large forming machines, which actually stretch the sheet in certain areas. When the sheet is stretched, it becomes thinner and therefore less durable and crack resistant. If a crack forms, it is likely to form in one of these areas. However, no one can say exactly when the crack will occur.
Material and Thickness
Another factor in the longevity of acrylic shower pans is the thickness of the material used in the construction. Basically, the thicker the material, the longer lasting the product. Shower pans with a higher concentration of acrylic in the material, outlast other units. The acrylic allows the material to bend and flex, resisting wear and cracking, one of the main reasons acrylic shower pans need replacing.
Maintenance and Repairs
Acrylic shower pans last longer when properly cared for and maintained. Some units may even outlast cast-iron tubs or pans, depending on the environment they exist in. Regular cleaning with gentle household cleaners removes staining and keeps the shower pan looking new. Complete refinishing kits apply a whole new surface to the shower pan, a step that will further extend its life span. When cracks forms in the shower pan, a repair can return the pan to like-new condition. The same goes for chips, scratches and dings; all are fairly easy to fill and repair with an acrylic shower-repair kit.