Acrylic or Cast Iron Bathroom: Pros and Cons (160+ Photos). Which one is better to choose?
An acrylic bathtub will require an informed choice. In order for it to be durable, comfortable, fit well into the interior and not fall apart in a couple of years of operation, you will have to figure out what materials it can be made of, what thickness it should have, what color it should be. And also remember the small checks that you can arrange in the store: where to look? Where to knock? How to use a flashlight correctly? More about everything further in the article..
Differences from other materials
Acrylic is a relatively young material. It appeared on the construction market only ten to fifteen years ago and is not yet as widespread as other, more familiar materials.. It is a strong plastic, which can be given any color, any shape, fake for any other material.
Acrylic bathtub can be any color
Do you want a marble bath, but stone is too expensive and heavy? Acrylic will definitely do the trick..
It has a number of specific advantages:
- Low thermal conductivity. For baths this is very important, as lying in rapidly cooling water is not very pleasant. Acrylic, on the other hand, keeps the temperature unchanged for about half an hour, and also has a special heater.
- Plastic. Acrylic can be given any shape, the most bizarre. It can move in waves, it can have unexpected angles. There are even companies that make custom-made designs from acrylic..
- Ease of care. Acrylic is not prone to the formation of a layer of dirt on it, pathogenic microorganisms do not linger on it. It is easy enough to rinse it with warm water after each use..
- Light weight. It is easy to lift an acrylic bathtub to the desired floor, and it also does not have much effect on the floors..
- No noise. Falling water makes a dull, faint sound.
- Reliability. Acrylic will last more than two decades if you buy a structure not at the lowest price, and then use it carefully.
- Special coating. Unlike cast iron, the coating of which is usually slippery, acrylic is covered with a special plastic, on which, with an external smoothness, it is very difficult to slip and fall. For a house where an elderly person lives – very useful.
Acrylic is a relatively young material
But there are also disadvantages:
- Special care. Acrylic is easy to wash, but if it does get dirty, you will have to use specialized mild products that will not harm it..
- Temperature sensitivity. Like any plastic, acrylic will melt if the temperature rises too high. Low-priced models can even deform if too hot water is poured into them. In any case, it is usually recommended to pour cool first, and only then turn on hot.
- Sensitivity to mechanical stress. Acrylic can be scratched and impact resistance varies from product to product. If something heavy is dropped into a model with a low price, it is highly likely that it will crack..
The material is not prone to the formation of a layer of dirt on it
If you compare acrylic with cast iron and steel – traditional materials for manufacturing – you get the following result..
- strength – low, sensitive to chips, cracks, scratches;
- thermal insulation – low, water quickly changes temperature and cools down;
- weight – relatively small, it is easier to bring a steel structure into a house than a cast iron one;
- noise – strong, when the jet hits the bottom, it is audible throughout the apartment;
- form – well-defined, rectangular or slightly rounded corners;
- price – low, which is the main advantage of the steel structure.
Has low thermal conductivity
Cast iron characteristics:
- strength – the highest, it is difficult to break a cast-iron bath, even if you decide to do it on purpose and will use a construction tool;
- thermal insulation – high, but half of the temperature will be spent on heating the cast iron itself, as a result of which the water will still cool down;
- weight – huge, it is not easy to bring cast iron into the house, plus it presses on the floors;
- noise – medium, you can hear water, but if you close the door, the sound will be muffled;
- form – strictly defined, either rectangular or slightly rounded;
- price – high, which is justified due to the high reliability of cast iron, which can last for several decades and only peel off slightly.
Acrylic will last longer than two decades
- strength – not high, you should not drop heavy objects into the bath;
- thermal insulation – high, enough to keep the temperature for half an hour;
- weight – small, like any plastic, it is easy to bring into the house, the overlap does not press;
- noise – absent, since plastic dampens sound;
- form – any, up to the one invented by a specific buyer;
- price – high, which is justified due to the quality of the product.
AdviceIt is worth buying acrylic if you need an intricate shape or high thermal insulation. It also fits best into any modern interior..
Falling water produces a dull, faint sound
Indicators affecting service life
In order for an acrylic structure to serve for many years, you need to pay attention to two main indicators – how, from what it is made and how strength is provided to it..
Material and thickness
Of course, acrylic always has acrylic in its composition – but it can be combined with other materials, and the proportion in which it depends on how long it can be used..
- Three layers. If you are used to the fact that the more layers, the stronger the result, then this habit will fail – three layers of an acrylic bathtub indicate that it is not of high quality. The inner material of her ABS is a porous cheap plastic, which is used as a base because of its low cost. Then it is covered with a thin layer of acrylic (no more than ten percent), and then the final structure is reinforced. As a result, after about five years, the reinforcement is wiped, like the acrylic layer, and only ABS remains, which is quickly saturated with moisture and becomes completely unusable. This one is worth buying only if you are going to use it infrequently – or will still change it in the near future..
- Two layers. This one consists entirely of acrylic, and on top it is covered with a reinforcing substance – sometimes in one layer, sometimes in several. The result is more expensive, but it will also last much longer. It practically does not wear out, it is very difficult to achieve that a crack appears on it.
Just rinse with warm water
AdviceTo check how many layers a design you like consists of, just look at its very edge – the one that often bends down. The layers on it are visible to the naked eye.
In addition to the material, it is also important how thick the walls it forms:
- two or three centimeters it is very thin – it cracks easily, does not last long;
- four centimeters is average – it cracks less often, lasts longer, up to ten years;
- six centimeters is thick – it is difficult to make a crack on such a structure, it can serve for decades if you do not clean it with a metal sponge.
AdviceTo check how thick the walls of the bathtub are, it is not necessary to have a ruler with you, it is enough to shine a flashlight on them. If light is visible from the other side, then the wall is too thin. Additionally, you can tap it with your knuckles – the sound should be muffled.
Reinforcement and frame
Reinforcement of acrylic is a mandatory procedure, since plastic itself is not very durable. Epoxies, fiberglass or polyurethane are commonly used. They protect the bath from mechanical damage, from abrasion, from small cracks and chips.
You can check how well the reinforcement was carried out using the following tricks:
- inspect the edges – the reinforcing layer should be visible on them, and the thicker it is, the better and stronger the structure itself will be;
- press on the walls, the bottom – they should not bend, and if they bend, this means that the manufacturer cheated and applied a thicker layer to the edge than to the rest of the structure;
- use a flashlight again – the light should be equally clearly visible (or not visible if the design is expensive) from all sides;
- sniff – low-quality materials for reinforcement have a pronounced chemical smell, which will intensify when you pour hot water into the bath.
Sensitive to temperature
Additionally, it is worth checking how slippery the reinforcement material is.. To do this, put your hand on it and try to hold it to the side. If the skin slips, then it will definitely be possible to slip out of the bath, which means it is better to look for another design. At the same time, the surface should not be rough either, this indicates a low quality.
Having understood how high-quality the material of the reinforcement is, it remains only to inspect the frame – a metal frame that supports the entire structure.
Stylish version of a large bathroom
AdviceIf the frame of the most ordinary rectangular bathtub is for some reason reinforced, too complicated, this indicates a low quality. Without a complex frame, she simply cannot stand.
The final stage is checking for defects. The surface should be flat, smooth, without thickenings, cracks, chips. Otherwise, it will look bad, plus it will be inconvenient to wash it..
It depends on the material, frame, reinforcement how many years it will last. But it depends on the shape and size how well it fits into the interior, as well as how comfortable it will be to use it..
The size of the bathtub should be calculated based on the height of those who will use it, as well as on the characteristics of the bathroom in which it will be installed. There are only four parameters:
- Height. The standard is about seventy centimeters – an elderly person, a teenager, and a child can step over such a side. The height is large, suitable for people who like to relax in deep water.
- Depth. The standard depth is sixty centimeters from the edge to the drain hole. If you do less, the water will not cover the body lying inside. If it is more, you will have to keep your head straight so that it is not covered with water..
High-tech style in the bathroom interior
- Width. The standard width is eighty centimeters, but here, more than in other cases, the height and weight of the person who will use it matters. Obese eighty will be too little and you should think about buying a bathtub with a non-standard width – and they are meter, twenty meter and even wider.
- Length. There is no standard length for bathtubs – everything is very individual here, it depends on preferences. About twenty meters – seated, you cannot lie in it, but it is comfortable to sit down. Plus, such a short length makes sense in a small bathroom. Fifty meter – reclining position. Meter seventy – a person of average height can already lie down, resting his head on the side. Eighty meter – can be stretched to its full height.
Size should be calculated based on the height of the user
AdviceThere are square bathtubs for large rooms, there are designs that look more like swimming pools. There are tiny narrow bathtubs. The choice depends solely on personal preference..
Cast iron baths are always rectangular – this is laid down by materials and, in principle, does not change. But with acrylics, everything is much more interesting – they can have any shape, it depends only on the budget and imagination.
- Rectangular. A classic that does not age – this looks familiar, does not get out of nowhere, does not require any costs to fit into the interior, it will be easily built into any room, even the smallest.
- Square. The variety is rectangular, but looks very different. Original, stylish, looks interesting and unusual. In such a bath (especially if you buy with a jacuzzi function) you can spend evenings with your loved one.
- Oval. In fact, the same as rectangular, but it looks a little more old-fashioned, and therefore original. Free from sharp corners that a child or elderly person can catch on, and smooth lines look cozy and soothing.
- Round. It is rare as it requires a lot of space in the bathroom. It looks original and pleasant, especially if you carry out the lighting, it is good to choose the color – like a luminous bowl with bubbling water. Can become a real interior decoration.
- Sedentary. Usually it is a rectangular or oval structure, which has a special protrusion at the bottom, so that it is comfortable to sit in it. Looks somewhat unusual, but works well for older people who find it difficult to climb from a flat bottom.
- Corner. A bathtub for a small room, in which, however, you really want to have your own mini-pool. More than usual, it allows you to stretch out to its full height, is a triangle, and it is important to consider whether it is right or left – it depends on which corner the structure fits into.
Interestingly, the long side can be either a classic straight line or a curved semicircle, which gives the bathtub a kind of charm..
- Freaky. This shape is usually expensive, but it also looks appropriate. It can be a flower or a beautiful bowl, it can be a wave or a blurry blot. The main advantage is beauty. In terms of aesthetics, no other bathroom can be compared with such a bathroom. But it is difficult to fit it into the interior (if it was not originally sharpened specifically for it), and you also need to pay special attention to the presence of protrusions and depressions – it is important that water does not stagnate in them after draining.
AdviceTo get a good idea of how a certain shaped bathtub will fit into your interior, draw a room plan and see how it rises. To do this, it is imperative to measure the length, width of the room, as well as the main indicators of the bath..
Of course, both size and shape affect aesthetics to some extent. But still, their main purpose is to provide convenience. And there are indicators that have little effect on him, but they significantly affect the appearance.
The color of the bathtub determines the overall impression it will make – much more than anything else. Since acrylic is plastic, the offered palette is large, including a huge number of colors.. This could be:
- White. The traditional color of the bath, which is familiar to the eye, fits perfectly into any interior, makes it light, adds spaciousness. The only drawback, like all light colors, is that any dirt on it is very noticeable..
- Black. Original, but gloomy – it looks good either in a contrasting interior, where everything is shining and white, or in a touch of Gothic, where everything is dark. Looks good as a complementary color – after all, acrylic can be of several colors at once.
- Light warm shades. They add coziness to the room – pink, peach, beige always make the interior a little lighter, pleasing to the eye. More original than plain white, they have the same drawback – all the dirt is visible on them.
- Light cold shades. They give the room austerity, go well with mirrors, metal. Add space to a small room.
- Dark warm shades. These are saturated colors of any spectrum that make the room brighter, more contrasting, more interesting, but at the same time less.
- Dark cold shades. The same problem as with black – strict, hard to write. But if it works out, the result will be very original, interesting..
In addition to standard colors, there are also more interesting solutions:
- Transparency. There is a type of acrylic that looks like glass. This can be matte, can be absolutely transparent, can be colorless, can be colored. In any case, in combination with water, it will look like a sparkling jewel – especially if you correctly position the lighting and decorate the room so that the emphasis is on it..
- Imitation stone. Acrylic perfectly imitates natural stone – so much so that sometimes it is even called an artificial stone. You can order marble, granite and any other bath from it – you can only distinguish it by weight and slightly less reliability..
Frequently used color is white
It is possible to include “glass” or “stone” elements in the design of a colored bathtub – if combined correctly, it will give it a “zest”. For example, make a transparent wall, behind which the illuminated water will mysteriously boil..
In addition to tips on specific colors, there are also tips on which color to choose in relation to the interior:
- Suitable for everything else. If everything is pink, it should be of a slightly different shade, differing by only one tone. If everything around is blue – the same blue. This combination makes sense if, in addition to it, there is already a bright accent, or if you want to leave the room without an accent at all. It may look, however, a little monotonous and boring.
- Neutral. White, light shades of other colors is an excellent neutral solution that allows you not to highlight the bath, but at the same time not to fit it into the interior so that it merges with it. Somewhat more traditional.
- Contrasting. The solution that gives the room brightness, drive. The bathtub dramatically stands out in the spotlight, making the interior more pronounced and interesting. It is very important, however, to choose the color so that it fits perfectly, and for this use contrast tables from the Internet..
Add some contrast
AdviceChoose your color thoughtfully. Compare. Sketch it. And if you don’t want to waste time – take the traditional white, which suits everything..
It will be interesting for you:
The functionality of the baths is much more extensive today than at least ten years ago.. It includes a whole list of useful or eye-pleasing features, including:
- Massage. In fact, such an acrylic bathtub has a jacuzzi function – thin streams of water or air bubbles massage the skin, help to relax after a hard day, plus they look aesthetically pleasing, especially if the structure has a transparent wall. However, the pump is relatively noisy, the cost rises significantly, and the holes through which water or air passes must be carefully flushed to avoid clogging. Also, over time, some of them will fail and you will need to contact the master.
- Chromotherapy. It has been proven that different colors cause different sensations in a person. Blue adjusts to sleep, green calms and helps to focus, red leads to increased anxiety. Chromotherapy implies the presence of built-in lights in the design of the bath. When a person goes to bed after a hard day, the light begins to flicker faintly, calming, lulling. In addition, backlighting is beautiful, especially when combined with transparent elements..
With jacuzzi function
- Headrest. It implies the presence of a special headrest made of soft material that does not slip. A person lies down, settles his head and may even take a nap – this is much more convenient than resting the back of his head against a hard, cold, slippery edge. From an aesthetic point of view, it can act as a contrasting element if you choose the right color for it.
- Pens. Not very aesthetically pleasing, but very convenient for an elderly person who finds it difficult to get out of the bath without support. You can give them an interesting shape or choose a beautiful shiny metal.
Handles blend well with glass.
- TV or player. Allows you to watch your favorite movies and programs or listen to your favorite music while lying in the bathtub, which is soothing. As a rule, they are located so that it is convenient to watch, they have a special coating that does not deteriorate from water.
Stylish room interior
- Control screen. If it is equipped with all the new comfort devices, their work is synchronized using a special screen. From it you can turn on and off the massage, set the time when water starts to be supplied, set the required temperature and do many other useful things..
- Sensors. Shows the temperature and quality of the water. It is very useful if there is a child in the house who needs to be bathed in good water of a certain temperature..
- Heating. Allows you to maintain the water temperature at the same level for a long time, or to heat from zero if the hot water was turned off.
- Communication with other devices. The latest development that allows you to control the bathroom from a distance using the phone and give the command for filling even on the way to the house. It also allows you to connect to the “smart home” system, which is only gaining popularity.
The more functions, the more expensive the bath is, but the more enjoyable it is. Their choice depends solely on the size of the budget and wishes for comfort..
The more functions, the more expensive the product
To make acrylic look good in the interior, it remains only to surround it with additional accessories that will be combined with it.. Among them:
- Mirror. Very useful for hygiene procedures, usually hung over the sink. To make its harmony with the acrylic bathtub complete, you can carry out the illumination of the same color that stands on the bathtub lighting to it – then, when they turn on at the same time, there will be a very pleasant effect.
- Curtain. Like any bathtub, an acrylic curtain is needed so that water does not pour onto the floor, to hide the person bathing, to complement the interior. Sometimes it is neglected – if the appearance of the bathtub is such that it does not harmonize with the textiles in any way. More often than not, they choose such a color and pattern so that they go well with the color of the bath. If it is white, the curtain should also be light. If black – then either light for contrast, or the same black.
- Shelves. Usually angular, if it is not very large, and they are usually located near the bathtub, so that it is easy to reach them, take shampoo or soap. However, it should be remembered that acrylic is a fragile material. If something falls on it from the height of the shelf, a dent or crack may remain. Therefore, it is better to move them to the opposite corner. A good idea, by the way, if the bathtub has a transparent wall, would be to make them from the same glass..
- Accessories for procedures. They can be built into the bathtub or attached to the edge, or they can be placed around. It’s good if they match it in color, even better if in design. For example, for a classic rounded design, round and semicircular soap dishes, a toothbrush holder, a shampoo dispenser will look great.
A rug on the floor should also work on the general idea of the interior – let it be soft and of a similar color – and a towel holder and handrails that an old person can grab onto..
VIDEO: How to choose an acrylic bathroom?
Acrylic fits perfectly into hi-tech and minimalism, loft and even eco. The main thing is to choose exactly the combination of shape, color, size and accessories that will suit your interior..