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What’s the Difference Between Acrylic and Fiberglass Tubs?

Safe Step Walk-In Tub with Hydrotherapy

You’ll encounter two main types of tub material when researching walk-in tub options: acrylic and fiberglass. Both offer benefits for your bathing and maintenance routines, but which will work best for your home? Read on to learn more about the different materials available on the market when purchasing your walk-in tub, and why Safe Step uses fiberglass for our industry-leading walk-in tubs. 

Acrylic Tubs

Acrylic tubs are made of clear plastic with fiberglass reinforcement, making for a lightweight yet durable base for a walk-in tub. Manufacturers create acrylic tubs by warming an acrylic sheet and, once at the right temperature, placing the sheet in a vacuum mold to set. From there, they’ll remove any air between the sheet and the mold to perfect the tub shape. Once the sheet has cooled, Fiberglass Reinforcement Product (or FRP) is sprayed over the sheet in multiple layers for further structure. From there, customizable features like grab bars are introduced to the tub’s design. 

Fiberglass Tubs

Like acrylic tubs, fiberglass tubs are designed to be lightweight and low maintenance. To make fiberglass tubs, manufacturers weave fiberglass strands together and combine these with a resin gelcoat and layers of FRP in the tub mold. Once the last FRP layer is in place, manufacturers remove the tub mold and hone in on any imperfections in the tub’s structure and surface. When the fiberglass structure is complete, additional features like our MicroSoothe® air therapy system are added. 

Similarities Between Fiberglass and Acrylic Tubs

Fiberglass and acrylic tubs have much in common, from the manufacturing process to the final product. 

  • Both tub types include fiberglass and FRP, lending more strength to the finished tub. 
  • Both are lightweight materials, ideal for easy installation.
  • Acrylic and fiberglass are flexible materials, well-suited for additional customization of your walk-in bath.
  • Both materials are scratch-resistant, so daily use won’t result in much wear. Plus, neither tub will damage your floors during installation. 

Differences Between Fiberglass and Acrylic Tubs

For all they share in common, there are some key differences between fiberglass and acrylic tubs.

  • Due to their more complex manufacturing process, acrylic tubs are often more expensive than fiberglass. 
  • The vacuum mold process used during acrylic tub creation may lead to weaker, thin spots in the tub’s structure. 
  • You can reglaze acrylic tubs to fix cosmetic damage from regular wear and tear. However, this is usually a temporary fix.
  • Fiberglass is easier to repair (and cheaper to replace) than acrylic due to its simpler manufacturing processes. 

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Safe Step’s Choice: Fiberglass With a Gel Coat Finish

Woman relaxing in the Safe Step Walk-In Tub

We want to make choosing, installing and using a walk-in tub as simple and attainable as possible for our customers. That’s why we build our ease-of-use certified tubs using fiberglass and a gel coat finish—ultimately, they’re more affordable and easier to clean than tubs made with other materials. 

For Safe Step customers with mobility challenges, the benefits of our design are obvious: fiberglass’s forgiving, wear-resistant properties make it a low-maintenance option. You’ll spend less time and energy on cleaning your tub and more time enjoying it. 

Safe Step Material Benefits

Financial Advantages Of Walk-In Tub

Learn more about why we use fiberglass with a gel coat finish for our tubs. 

  • Fiberglass is Low Maintenance: Cleaning your Safe Step tub is easy. A quick rinse with warm water after your bath and a weekly clean with your preferred gentle cleaning product should be all that’s needed to keep your tub in good shape for years to come. 
  • Fiberglass is Sanitary: The sanitary gel coat layered over fiberglass in every Safe Step tub is nonporous, meaning it’s resistant to mildew, bacteria and mold growth. Cleaning is easy and effective, with nothing harmful penetrating that layer of gel coat.
  • Fiberglass is Cheaper to Manufacture: Fiberglass is easier to manufacture, keeping costs lower for our customers when they buy walk-in baths—and our Lowest Price Guarantee ensures you get a safer bathing option that fits your budget. 
  • Fiberglass is Lightweight: Since it’s so light, fiberglass is easy for our installation experts to install quickly and correctly. Our walk-in tub installations can take as little as one day. 
  • Fiberglass is Customizable: Fiberglass’s flexibility means it’s easy to customize for additional features or even different styles, like our Hybrid™ walk-in tub and shower combo. 

Choose Safe Step for a Safe, Quality Tub

At Safe Step, we’re experts in designing and installing accessible, easy-to-use walk-in tubs that give independence and dignity back to seniors and those with mobility challenges. We use fiberglass in our tubs for an easy-maintenance, lower-cost experience that enhances our customers’ daily lives for years to come. 

Request your free quote to learn more about safer bathing in the comfort of your own home. Our experts are more than happy to help you discover the Safe Step difference

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This isn’t a sideline for us — it’s a specialty. Every detail of our tubs and showers are built to last and backed with a lifetime guarantee.
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Made For You
in Tennessee

This isn’t a sideline for us — it’s a specialty. Every detail of our tubs and showers are built to last and backed with a lifetime guarantee.

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