Monday, October 26, 2009

Today’s Acrylic Clawfoot Tubs Go Toe-to-Toe With Traditional Cast Iron Clawfoot Tubs


Acrylic clawfoot tubs are offered in all the same styles and finish as their cast iron counterparts. Weight remains the main difference between the two types. I guess you could say that acrylic bathtubs could be considered featherweights compared to the heavyweight cast iron tub. However, today’s durable acrylic tubs are not chumps and can go round for round with their cast iron counterparts.

Round 1: Style
Acrylic tubs are offered in all the popular vintage styles of tubs including slipper, double ended, and pedestal. However, acrylic tubs are typically only offered in sizes five feet longer or greater, whereas, cast iron tubs are offered in smaller sizes. More manufacturers produce cast iron tubs. As a result, there is generally a wider selection of cast iron tubs available. Further, since each manufacturer offers their own style and selection of finishes of tub feet, more feet options are available for cast iron tubs. Finally, some manufacturers provide custom painting options for their cast iron tubs.

Round 2: Plumbing Options
Acrylic clawfoot tubs use the same clawfoot faucets and clawfoot shower sets as similar cast iron tubs. Likewise, tub drains and supply lines will also fit acrylic and cast iron tubs alike. Typically, people want to match the finish of their tub’s plumbing with its feet. Most faucet finishes are very similar between manufacturers. However, oil rubbed bronze and other specialty finishes may vary among manufacturers. Therefore, we recommend pairing the manufacturer’s plumbing with their tubs if you have concerns about matching finishes.

Round 3: Weight
Traditional clawfoot cast iron tubs can weigh over 80 lbs per foot in length and nearly twice as much when filled with water. Therefore, the weight of cast iron tubs may be a concern, especially for second story installations. Acrylic tubs typically weigh a third as much as similarly sized cast iron tubs making them a stylish alternative where tub weight becomes a concern.

Round 4: Bathing Experience
Cast iron tubs are very heavy and therefore provide a reassuring feeling for the bather when entering and exiting. The surface of acrylic tubs warms up quickly to the temperature of the bath’s water. Cast iron, on the other hand, retains the temperature of the room longer than an acrylic tub. Therefore, acrylic tubs maybe preferred in baths that are difficult to keep warm during winter months.

Round 5: Durability
The porcelain interiors of cast iron tubs are abrasion, stain, and wear resistance. The interiors of acrylic tubs are chip resistant but can be scratched and will break down if strong chemical cleaners (especially acetates) are used to clean it. Cast iron tub are capable of being refinished extending their lifespan much further than what should be expected from acrylic tubs.

Round 6: Ease of Installation
Installation of both acrylic and cast iron tubs is similar. However, due to their lighter weight, it is much easier to move an acrylic tub.

Round 7: Price
The price of acrylic tubs is often very comparable to similarly styled and sized cast iron tubs. Since Shop 4 Classics provides free shipping on both types of tubs, the cost of shipping is not relevant when purchasing your tub from Shop 4 Classics.

Since acrylic tubs are offered in all of the same styles and within the same price ranges as cast iron clawfoot tubs, the process of choosing between an acrylic and a cast iron clawfoot tub often ends with a technical decision. Visit Shop 4 Classics Clawfoot Tub Buying Guide for more information on selecting the right tub for your home.

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