Choice of Cast Iron or Acrylic


Cast iron is the original and traditional method of clawfoot tub production.  The tubs are very heavy and no two tubs are identical.

Acrylic tubs, depending on the method of production, can be as strong as cast iron, consistently finished, more perfect in appearance and relatively light and easy to install.

Cast iron tubs are normally two to three times the weight of a good acrylic tub and generally need at least four people to maneuver into position for installation.  Acrylic tubs will need only two installers.

If you are installing your tub upstairs, you will be well advised to give stronger consideration to an acrylic tub.  Upstairs flooring and sometimes even ground floor installations may require additional reinforcing to carry the weight of the tub.

Most good quality acrylic tubs maintain water temperature better than cast iron tubs. Cast iron is a superb conductor of heat.  When hot water is poured into the tub, some of the heat will transfer into the body of the cast iron.  This will result in a heated exterior of the cast iron tub surface which will in turn dissipate into the cooler air.  Acrylic is not a natural conductor of heat.

When you enter an enameled cast iron tub after filling, you will immediately notice the cold enamel on your back, this will not happen with acrylic.

If scratched or chipped, good quality acrylic tubs can be repaired by almost anyone to look as new.  Cast iron tubs will require professional repairs and often will need to be removed from the home.  This can be very costly.

So, why choose cast iron at all?

Cast iron is the traditional method of manufacture and some buyers will never consider anything else.  A cast iron tub will always be at least as strong as even the best acrylic tub.  In spite of the drawbacks noted herein, a properly manufactured cast iron tub will be around for 100 years or more.  Cast iron tubs are heavy and do not need to be attached to the floor.  Many buyers simply consider them to be more upmarket than acrylic tubs and they like the strength and weight.

Why choose an acrylic tub?

Again, not all acrylic tubs are created equal.  If you choose the good quality acrylic tub, it will be easy to handle and install plus easy to repair if damaged. It will retain the heat in the water longer and at a consistently higher temperature than a cast iron tub.  A well designed and produced acrylic tub will last a lifetime and if properly maintained over the years, it will always look shiny and new.
Due to the lighter weight, it will need to be attached to the floor.