7 Best Bathtub Materials

Typical Cost To Remodel a Bathroom Average: $4,500 - $25,749
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Here are the top 7 bathtub materials, from budget to high end, along with their estimated costs.

If you are ready to install a new bathtub, contact your local remodeling pros for a FREE Estimate!

Cost of Bathroom Remodel
$7,210 - $14,612
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Plastic Bathtub

Best Bathtubs

A plastic bathtub a great choice if you are on a tight budget. Its greatest feature is that it holds heat fairly well, so you will be able to enjoy long soaks. Plastic is also less prone to chipping than an iron tub with enamel.

On the down side, it is susceptible to scratches, staining and is not very long lasting. Overall, it is a good choice for a starter budget home or a rental property.

Care Tip:

If you install a plastic tub, be sure to avoid harsh, abrasive cleaners.

Bathtub Cost: $180-260

Acrylic Bathtub

Acrylic Bathtub

One of the most popular, versatile and affordable options, that works with the majority of bathtubs, including whirlpool, is acrylic. It has numerous advantages that make it pleasant to use and easy to clean.

While it is typically budget-friendly, there are high-end models available, costing thousands of dollars. One is pictured below, an Acrylic Air by Avon.

Top benefits:

– beautiful high gloss finish and texture
– warm to the touch
– resists cracking and chipping
– stands up to high temperatures and ultraviolet light
– resists mildew and harsh chemicals
– available in a wide range of colors and shapes, including unique ones, since it can be easily molded.

Care Tip

Acrylic can be scratched, so its is best to wash it with a mild, liquid detergent, rather than an abrasive cleaner.

Bathtub Cost: $290-500 and up

Fiberglass Bathtub

Fiberglass Bathtub

Another inexpensive, strong yet light-weight modern tub material, available in many shapes and sizes is gel-coated fiberglass. Compared to other options, fiberglass is considered to be a cheap freestanding tub.

One major downside is that it is not long lasting, and is susceptible to stains, mold and mildew. Other potential issues include color fading and spider cracking.

Care Tip

To avoid stains and mold, clean the tub regularly. If you don’t, once the mold penetrates the surface, it may be very difficult or impossible to remove.

Bathtub Cost: $500+

Metal Bathtub

metal bathtub

If your bathroom remodel calls for an old-world style, and money is not an issue, a metal bathtub is a perfect choice. Enameled cast iron, also known as porcelain, is one of the classic freestanding bathtubs.

While absolutely charming, strong and durable, these tubs are very heavy, and may require extra flooring support. Also, they are cold to the touch and do not retain heat. To remain warm, you will constantly need to keep adding hot water.

The baked-on enamel surface is resistant to cracks and chips. However, these will occur eventually, and will require expensive professional assistance to fix. Another thing that may not appeal to many people, is that they come in limited shapes and sizes. Many can only accommodate one person.

Other high-end metals that offer a unique look are copper, stainless steel (great sparkle), and nickel plated. They are often made double – walled to retain heat.

Care Tip

A cast iron tub is not easy to clean; it has a special “non-skid” surface on the bottom, which can be very difficult to take care of.

Bathtub Cost: $700-2,000 and up

Stone Bathtub

best bath tubs

If you are looking to make a bold style statement, one of the best bathtubs is stone. While very expensive, these are often hand-carved and are a true work of art.

Typically, these bathtubs are made of marble, travertine, sandstone or granite. Any one of these will bring a sense of natural luxury to your bathroom space.

Note, that it is very heavy, so you need to make sure that your floor can support as much as 2000 lb. On the up side, stone is very pleasant to the touch and retains heat better than most other materials. It is also very long lasting and durable, and will not be susceptible to chips and cracking.

Care Tip

To maintain its natural beauty and longevity, each type of stone requires its own special care and needs to cleaned regularly.

Bathtub Cost: $5,000-16,000 and up

Wooden Bathtub

Japanese Wood Soaking Tub

Wood is making a huge comeback in the West because of their superior ability to keep heat longer than other materials.

It is considered to be the best soaking tub and is usually used in aroma therapy rituals. You can custom order it to be any length, depth and stained to your color preferences.

For the ultimate bathing experience, consider a handmade $7,000.

One major disadvantage is that over a period of time, water may damage the wood, as exposure to moisture causes the material to rot, split, crack and warp.

To protect from moisture, many manufacturers put a number of coats of sealer or clear fiberglass. Overall, it will not last as long as others.

Care Tip

Avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning, so that the sealer does not get scratched, exposing the wood. It is also recommended to use it at least once a week, to prevent the wood from drying out.

Bathtub Cost: $1,500-4,500 and up

Resin Bathtub

Which is the best material for a bathtub

If you love the look of a stone, but your bathroom floor cannot sustain its heavy weight, a resin tub is a perfect alternative.

It is a high quality composite, that is very durable, yet lightweight. Moreover, it can be formed into many different shapes and sizes. These modern bathtubs are scratch and stain resistant, as well as easy to care for.

Care Tip

Most dirt with easily wash off the surface with warm water. To maintain its appearance, simply wipe clean with a soft cloth after each use. If you need to use a cleaner, purchase one made specifically for painted surfaces.

Bathtub Cost: $2,500-9,000

Cost of Bathroom Remodel
$7,210 - $14,612
See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

About Leo Bender

Leo has been a contractor since 2003, specializing in: roofing, siding, general contracting (GC) and residential remodeling. Leo is also a Certified HVAC, Oil & Gas Heating Technician/Installer. In addition to roofing and remodeling, Leo is passionate about Solar, green building and energy conservation, so a lot of my time and energy goes to installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

See more about Remodeling Calculator team here

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4 comments on “7 Best Bathtub Materials

  1. 40nFly

    Oh wow! Thanks for your comments about the acrylic. I was going to take this article’s word that it’s easy to clean. FYI, to clean your tub, use baking soda. After a shower/bath, sprinkle baking soda all over, including the sides. Leave it over night and then scrub in the morning. Make sure you wet your sponge first, then scrub away. Not only is it healthier, but it gets the job done.

  2. nagesh

    This bathroom offers the best of both worlds with a freestanding tub and glass-enclosed shower with gray and white mosaic tiles for a tranquil, spa-like bathroom retreat.

  3. Alveva Hohler

    This must be untrue. I have lived with cast Irene bathtubs most of my life. That’s to say some 50 years. They don’t chip til they are very old. Some 30 to 50 years. Now I have an acrylic tubb. Moast irritatingly dirt sticks to the surface. One must use a lot of manual power to get it off. It has to be cleaned with detergent every day. I diseprove of that as it’s not environmentally friendly. And it is cold to the tuch compared with cast iron. It takes longer to heat. I wanted to find a good tip for cleaning, but a mild detergent just doesn’t do the job. I want a tub that can be rinsed with hot water and a cloth. But I wouldn’t trust your article.