What’s the Right Finish for Your New Bathtub?

Are you planning a bathroom remodel? If so, perhaps you’ve had it up to “here” with that once popular baby blue look, complete with matching bathtub, toilet, and tiles. Or whatever else you have that once was trendy, now turned eyesore. 

In the process, one decision you’ll need to make is “what kind of bathtub?” These days, bathtubs come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Here’s some information to help you make the right decision. 

Porcelain Over Cast Iron

Cast iron has been the trusted material for bathtubs for hundreds of years. With proper care and maintenance, a new cast iron tub can easily last 50 years or more. Cast iron bathtubs are typically coated with porcelain (or enamel) which not only helps the tub maintain a beautiful glossy finish, but resists chipping, scratching, and fading.

Cast iron also retains heat better than other materials, keeping your bath water warmer longer. And because they come in various sizes and styles, from claw foot to pedestal to soaker tubs, you can select one that complements the exact design style you settle on.

On the other hand, a cast iron tub can easily cost you more than twice its fiberglass counterpart. So, if you’re on a tight budget, or renovating a bathroom that gets little use, it might not be worth the added investment.


Less expensive, often readily available, and offered in a variety of styles and sizes, fiberglass bathtubs are a sound choice, as well. They are made by painting a mold with a polyester resin, and therefore can be molded into any shape desired. This makes fiberglass a great choice for openings that do not fit standard sized bathtubs, as well as extra-large or oddly shaped custom designs.

Because they are light in weight, fiberglass tubs are also easier to install than heavier materials, most notably cast iron.

Fiberglass bathtubs are easy to maintain; simply wipe down dirt and soap scum with a mild cleanser and a rag. Hard, abrasive cleansers can scratch the surface of the coating, so only use gentle cleaning products like dish soap and water.  Their porous nature also requires frequent cleaning, otherwise the surface will absorb moisture which can create a mildew problem. 

While they can be significantly less expensive than cast iron bathtubs, fiberglass tubs have a much shorter lifespan – about 15 years.

Here at Plumbtastic, we can advise you every step of the way to help ensure you get exactly the bathroom you want, well within your budget. And, of course, you can count on us for all the installation services you need. Contact us today for an initial consultation and proposal.

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