Choosing a bath can be a minefield due to the wide choice of materials that they are manufactured from.
Here we give an outline of the different materials available and the pros and cons of each. Hopefully this will give you a good starting point to make an informed bath choice.
* Cast Iron Baths – Cast iron has been used in the manufacture of baths for several hundred years. It has a proven track record as a good choice of material.
Advantages of cast iron baths –
1) Extremely strong material that is very rigid.
2) Very hardwearing surface layer. The vitreous enamel surface layer is fired onto the cast iron bath at 900 deg C. This surface layer is impact resistant, scratch resistant as well as acid resistant.
Disadvantages of cast iron –
1) Very heavy material. When cast iron baths are full of water and in use these baths can be very heavy. In most homes this is not a problem as floors are extremely strong, but in older properties floors may need to be strengthened.
2) Water can cool down quickly as cast iron is a good conductor of heat.
* Steel Baths – Steel baths were manufactured as an alternative choice to cast iron.
Advantages of steel baths –
1) Strong material, but not as rigid as cast iron.
2) Very hardwearing surface layer. As with cast iron baths, steel baths have the vitreous enamel surface fired on at 900 deg C, making the surface equally impact, scratch and acid resistant.
3) Relatively light material.
Disadvantages of steel baths –
1) Water cools down quickly not a quickly as cast iron baths.
2) Can sound hollow when tapping the material.
* Stone Resin Baths –a stone resin composite with a natural high gloss white finish.
Advantages of stone resin baths –
1) Extremely strong material which is very rigid.
2) Manufactured from a stone resin composite giving good heat insulation properties.
3) Hardwearing surface layer.
3) Feels good to the touch with a quality surface finish.
4) Any accidental damage or surface scratches can easily be repaired and polished out.
5) This material shows quality.
Disadvantages of stone resin baths –
1) Expensive to buy.
2) Stone resin baths are heavier than most baths but are still only about 60% of the weight of a cast iron bath.
* Acrylic baths with fibre resin reinforcement – Made of an acrylic shell that is then reinforced with a fibre resin backing to give the bath rigidity, strength and extra weight.
Advantages of acrylic baths with reinforcement.
1) These baths are well priced.
2) Bath surface is warm to touch with good heat retention properties.
3) Baths are light but very strong.
4) Hardwearing – surface scratches can easily polished out.
5) Very rigid with very little flexing in the bath.
Disadvantages of acrylic baths with reinforcement.
1) Often pigeon holed with acrylic only baths.
2) Baths can sound a little hollow.
* Acrylic Baths – Made of an acrylic shell of various thicknesses
Advantages of acrylic baths
1) Cheap to buy.
2) Bath surface warm to touch with good heat retention.
3) Baths are very light in weight.
4) Any surface scratches can easily polished out.
Disadvantages of acrylic baths –
1) Baths flex.
2) Baths sound hollow.
3) Quality appears to be cheap.
4) Not very strong and can crack quite easily.
* Fibreglass, Wood and Solid Stone Baths
Fresh designs and and the idea of bathing as a more social and less functional activity have led to some pretty innovative ideas and the use of materials not usually associated with baths. Fibreglass Baths can make a bold statement in a large bathroom while a solid carved stone bath is bespoke made for a touch of real luxury.
Wooden baths use traditional ship building techniques to create a real fairy tale bath that can be incorporated into any them.
Whatever choice you make, always take time to think it through; buying a bath is a major purchase, and one you will have to live with for a while. IF you’re not sure visit a showroom, and talk to the experts – that’s what they’re there for.
Enjoy your bath!