Different types of tub showers are available today, including cultured marble and acrylic. These are two common choices, and each has advantages and disadvantages. When selecting a new tub for your home, look at the pros and cons of each one to help you make an informed decision.
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Cultured marble is simulated marble made from a resin compound and ground-up marble. The result is a solid panel that looks like marble but installs like a fiberglass panel. The cultured marble comes in slabs that are cut to fit the exact dimensions of your shower area. Molding is installed around the edges of the panels to complete the installation. Silicone caulking is run along the edges and seams of the panels to seal and protect the walls from water.
Advantages of Cultured Marble
Cultured marble is easy to install, less expensive than regular marble and has the look of marble. It is three-quarter marble, so the product is not entirely synthetic like acrylic. The material is resilient as well and easy to clean. Using a water and vinegar mixture removes stains. The resin in the cultured marble also prevents staining that occurs with nontreated or unsealed marble tubs. So cultured marble is similar to acrylic in terms of stain resistance. If you want the look of stone without the hassle, cultured marble is a good option.
Acrylic Tub Benefits
Acrylic tubs are made with a synthetic, acrylic material, the same kind used to make paints. The material hardens into a shell that is durable and made in virtually any color. Acrylic tubs install in a similar fashion to cultured marble. These tubs will collect stains after prolonged use, but cleaning is simple. Household cleaners remove soap scum and dirt with relative ease. A sponge or scrubbing pad is all you need to clean the surface of an acrylic tub. They also come in all kinds of styles, shapes and sizes, just like cultured marble tubs.
Repairs and Availability
Repairing a cultured marble tub is very similar to repairing an acrylic tub. To remove scratches from cultured marble, a special kit with a similar resin is used to cover the scratch. Once dry, the patch is sanded and painted to match the surface of the tub. Acrylic tubs also have a repair kit with an acrylic filler that spreads over the damaged area. Once it drys, it is also sanded and painted. The only difference may be availability and price. Since cultured marble tubs are crafted by many small companies and use real marble, they are more expensive than acrylic. Only countertops and shower pans in cultured marble are available at the large home improvement centers.