There are two materials that are most commonly used in the creation of walk in bath tubs. They are acrylic and fiberglass. The obvious reasons for this are strength and aesthetic appeal. Still there are more benefits – some that are shared and some that differ. This leads to an important question when choosing a tub. Which is best for seniors? Acrylic or fiberglass?
Acrylic models definitely have their benefits over fiberglass ones
These acrylic tubs are a popular choice for two reasons. First of all, this extra layer adds a little more strength and durability to the surface of the tub. This is important for the peace of mind of the user and longevity of the product. The longer a product can last, the better the investment. This is important for those with long-term illness and disability. Extra strength also means that larger users don’t have to worry about the weight allowance. It is less likely to crack or chip and remains pretty good looking. Others point out that acrylic tubs can often maintain the water temperature of the bath. This could be a deciding factor for those that want a long soak in a hot bath.
On that note, there is greater long-term visual appeal to an acrylic tub. There is the fact that it is much easier to take care of this type of walk in bath than one with a fiberglass build. This layer is non-porous, so doesn’t pick up discoloration and impurities as much. This makes it easier to clean, which is important for those with disabilities, or those that employ cleaners once a week.
The problem with this approach is that these acrylic options are often more costly
fiberglass tubs are sometimes cheaper because of the additional molding processes that go into creating the acrylic ones. fiberglass is easier to work with, so labor costs and production time are reduced. The flexibility of the material means that you can get some interesting shapes with molded seats and other details. Some would also argue that fiberglass tubs with gel-coats are more appealing to look at when cared for. There are smooth and shiny and can look great. Finally, just because acrylic is more scratch and dent resistant, that doesn’t mean that fiberglass is weak. There is a reason why designers turn to this material so often.
So which is the best option for seniors?
The choice here depends on a few important factors. Budget is vital here. There will be some seniors in need of a change that don’t have the budget or social support for an expensive option. This is where a fiberglass tub makes more sense. However, those acrylic models can be more of an investment because of the longevity – making this a one-time purchase for many users. Then there is the shape of the tub. Seniors in need of a seated tub with lots of clever features may find more option with fiberglass. But, acrylic seated models have a little more strength. Finally there is that issue of cleaning. Many seniors can’t clean the tub by themselves, so dirt and stains could build up. If cleaning is an issue, the acrylic material might be the better option.