Most people look at bathtubs and showers for their size, color, and shape without paying much attention to the materials they are made of. However, there are some differences between acrylic and fiberglass models that you should consider before choosing the suitable model for you. Acrylic consists of a material that is vacuum-formed on a mold and heated. The result is a waterproof membrane that is nonporous and does an excellent job of retaining its shine. It’s also durable, won’t easily crack or chip, and can withstand a great deal of regular cleaning and use. Scratches easily, so users should use abrasive or hot abrasive cleaners. This material is also resistant to fading or clouding and keeps water warmer longer.
There are three types of acrylic and fiberglass showers available on the market: gel-coated fiberglass, fiberglass-reinforced acrylic, and structural composite-backed acrylic, according to the question’s builder’s website. Each type of acrylic and fiberglass shower has a similar look. Choose a plastic battery that adheres to the American National Standards Institute and the American Society for Testing and Materials. Both institutions develop voluntary standards for manufacturers to ensure the quality and safety of various products, building materials, and their installation.
Acrylic Shower Overview
Acrylic is a very durable type of artificial plastic that is one of the most common materials for showers. It’s so tough that it’s used to create airplane windshields. Acrylic has a naturally lustrous sheen, similar to glass, although it is more durable and lighter. Showers made of acrylic come in a range of shapes and colors. Acrylic showers are frequently reinforced with fiberglass. Often, acrylic showers have fiberglass reinforcements.
Acrylic consists of a material that is vacuum-formed on a mold and heated. The result is a waterproof membrane that is nonporous and does an excellent job of retaining its shine. It’s also durable, won’t easily crack or chip, and can withstand a great deal of regular cleaning and use. Scratches easily, so users should use abrasive or hot abrasive cleaners. This material is also resistant to fading or clouding and keeps water warmer longer.
Acrylic bathtubs and showers will generally cost more than fiberglass models. The reason is that the process used to make them is more complex, and the materials are more expensive. This is particularly the case concerning models that have various molding details, such as formed seats. The gel coating is smooth and shiny and sits on top of the fiberglass. This is the layer that gives the model its color and finishes.
- Its hardness and resistance to weathering is greater than that of classic glass
- Unlike glass, acrylic is a much more scratch-prone material
- It is considered a material of excellent dimensional stability , with good thermal and electrical conductivity
- The light transmission can be almost total of up to 93%
- It is also a product that is highly resistant to corrosion.
- Its manipulation with essential DIY tools is easy and simple
- Its use has exploded in maximum security projects as a substitute for glass in nurseries, gyms, and shops of all kinds
- It is also a 100% recyclable material
Acrylic Shower Cost
One-piece acrylic shower sets start at around $800 and go up to $3,500 depending on the size, amenities, and brand name. Budget between $250 to $700 if you’re only searching for a base. Acrylic bathtubs are typically priced between $500 and $1,000.
|Durable – Acrylic is more difficult to work with than fiberglass. Thus it will endure longer. Scratches are less evident because the color runs through the surface. Scratches can be polished out with polish if they do occur.||Acrylic showers are more expensive than fiberglass showers. However, they are still inexpensive when compared to other types of batteries.|
|Good resistance to impacts and scratches, light and non-slip material, hygienic||Sensitive to shocks, scratches, and aggressive cleaning products, low resistance against UV rays|
|Cleaning is simple – Acrylic is a nonporous substance resistant to mold, soap scum, and hard-water buildup by nature.||Easily harmed by chemicals – Certain cleansers might cause harm to an acrylic shower, which is difficult or impossible to restore. To find out which compounds are safe, read the manufacturer’s instructions.|
|Design options – Acrylic has a broader range of color and design possibilities than fiberglass.|
Fiberglass Shower Overview
Fiberglass is a popular material for showers since it is lightweight and appealing. A gel coating is applied on a molded fiberglass substrate to create fiberglass showers. They’re less expensive than acrylic showers, but they’re not as long-lasting.
Fiberglass Gelcoat is the other material that is mainly used in the production of bathtubs and showers. Fiberglass is a porous material consisting of a colored polyester resin that is sprayed into a mold. The mold, in turn, is reinforced with fine glass particles. It is more brittle than acrylic and has a greater tendency to discolor and dull over time. If this material is not supported correctly, it can break or flex. Also, if it is scratched significantly, it usually cannot be repaired. However, there are advantages to buying a fiberglass model. This is a lightweight material, so it is much faster and easier to install. Fiberglass bathtubs and showers are less expensive than their acrylic counterparts, and if they do form a crack, all you need is an epoxy resin kit for easy repair. It is also flexible, durable, and strong. With proper care, a model made of this material will maintain its shine and color for quite a long time.
- It is considered a type of amorphous ceramic product composed of silicates and alkalis.
- Its hardness is 470 HK, and it has excellent resistance to bending and compression.
- Glass stands out for having excellent thermal conductivity.
- It acquires excellent optical properties: a part of the light is refracted, another absorbed, and a third transmitted
- It is also a product that is highly resistant to corrosion.
- The malleability and versatility are very present in its materials to be pressed, laminated, and even stretched.
- Its initial use was strictly ornamental, although today, it is used for countless projects: bottles, hip replacements, mirrors, windows, etc.
- It is material. There is no limit to the number of times it can be reprocessed and reused.
Fiberglass Shower Cost
The cost of a single-piece fiberglass shower unit ranges from $300 to $1,000—shower bases made of fiberglass range in price from $150 to $400.
|Less expensive – Fiberglass showers are the most affordable of all shower materials available. If you’re on a tight budget, they’re a good option.||Difficult to clean – Because fiberglass showers are porous, stains can creep beneath the surface. The surface becomes dull and tarnished with time. It’s difficult to clean a filthy fiberglass shower.|
|Lightweight and durable material, Prix approachable, extensive palette of forms, available in different dimensions, easy to clean||Porous surface requiring regular maintenance|
|Easy to install – Fiberglass showers are simple to install due to their lightweight. Many homeowners opt for a do-it-yourself approach to installation.||Not as durable – Fiberglass is a tricky substance, but it isn’t as strong as acrylic. Showers made of fiberglass will not last as long. Scratches in fiberglass are particularly apparent and difficult to fix because the color is as deep as the gel coating.|
While there is no right or wrong answer when choosing between acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs and showers, knowing what you are looking for can make your decision easier. Suppose you are looking for durability; lean towards acrylic. If cost is more important, go with fiberglass.