bathtub replacement

Old 10-28-02, 11:41 AM
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bathtub replacement

Removed our old cast iron tub and want to replace with new tub/shower. Have removed some walls so will be easy to put in place. Looking at fiberglass vs. acrylic. Does anyone have any suggestions to which is the best for the money?

Old 10-28-02, 04:24 PM
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Fiberglass versus acrylic

Acrylic is a solid sheet material that is heated and vaccum formed to the desired shape. It is then reinforced at the back with fiberglass to give it strength. The color in acrylic products goes all the way through. Scratches can be buffed out.

Fiberglass is a material that adheres to a mold and then a gel coat finish is sprayed onto it. Fiberglass has a thin gel coat that when worn away or scratched reveals the substrate material that absorbs soils, oils, and stains.

"There are three primary types of "plastic" tub and shower units: gel-coated fiberglass, acrylic reinforced with fiberglass, and acrylic backed with a structural composite. Side by side, these products look very similar, however there are important differences.

The gel-coat products, when constructed with high quality ingredients, can be very hard and durable. The manufacturing process is critical, as the liquid gel-coat must be applied evenly on the molds at the correct temperature. Gel-coated products if damaged or scratched can be repaired with great success. Repairs performed correctly are permanent and virtually invisible.

Acrylic units are usually constructed using large sheets of solid colored acrylic plastic. These sheets are heated so that they soften. The softened sheets are then stretched over a mold to achieve the desired shape of the shower or tub unit. This stretching process, however, sometimes causes the acrylic to be very thin as it stretches around corners. Those units with the highest percent of acrylic tend to offer higher performance levels. Repairs to these units are not always successful.

Never use cleansers that contain abrasives, as these can scratch fixtures. If you simply make a practice of cleaning the tub or shower area every two weeks, you will avoid the heavy soap buildup that often necessitates heavy scrubbing. Virtually every manufacturer has a recommended cleaner that they strongly suggest you use. Follow these instructions and you will have a beautiful tub and shower area for many years.

Finally, if you do select one of the "plastic" units, you can keep it looking new with a little known trick. Once a month, take just fifteen minutes and apply a high quality spray automotive wax to the wall surfaces only. Never apply wax to the floor of the unit. Buff this wax out and it will be as shiny as new!

Acrylic & Fiberglass Tubs And Showers
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Retrieved 28 October 2002

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