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Fiberglass vs Acrylic Tubs: Which One to Choose & Why?

fiberglass vs acrylic tub
Written by Elizabeth Fincher
Last Update: August 10, 2023

What are you going to do with that space in your bathroom? You should be thinking about bathtubs because there is nothing that completes a shower than a suitable bath. This is the junction where I would like to introduce you to the mumble-jumble behind fiberglass vs acrylic tub if you have ever wondered which is best for you.

Have you ever seen a movie star soak his sins and senses away in a bathtub? Ever envied that movie star? Or are you here just because you are thinking “bathtubs” (no problem information is necessary).

Just before you get your tub, take the time to make an informed decision on what bath you would like to get. There are so many variables out there which range from metal to stone tubs. As fancy as those two variants, there are only two, and everyone would either be talking about fiberglass or acrylic glass?

These are the most common materials used in making bathtubs, and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. This piece should help guide you in making an intellectual judgment.

Fiberglass vs Acrylic Tub: What Makes Them Different?

fiberglass vs acrylic bathtub

Ever wondered what makes these two materials different? Acrylic tubs can be produced by taking a solid acrylic and then heating it until it is workable, then they are stretched over a mold. After the plastic is cured, the shape is established and pulled out of the frame.

Acrylic tubs come in two variants; the first variant of acrylic tubs has an additional layer of fiberglass sprayed on for rough usage. After which the container is sealed so that it can be shined after which the protection placed.

The second variant is supported with composites, which makes it heavier and stronger.

Fiberglass, however, is made from the same material used in making the finishes of boats, cars, and buses. They are significantly lighter than acrylic bathtubs; the polyester resin is sprayed over the mold, then this mold is covered with fiberglass fibers.

Then it’s making stages they can be covered with gel or acrylic to make it shine. After that, the tub color is added.

Acrylic bathtubs

Good quality acrylic bathtubs are generally high-gloss, scratch-resistant and durable. They are smooth and would shine light till the morning, with its high gloss, the tub retains the shine and will always feel smooth with a surface scratch resistant.

Don’t worry about your cats or dog finding its way to your bathroom.

Acrylic tubs will not collect scratches from sharp or rough objects, or substance. Like your cats or dogs, claw or even you child teething, trust me, your child teeth cannot spot out marks on the acrylic bathtubs.

With the right amount of cleaning and maintenance, they should be able to last long. Don’t worry this will not break easily. Like I said earlier, this could last a lifetime.

Fiberglass Bathtubs

In the limited advantages and disadvantages among the fiberglass and the acrylic bathtub, these boasts as it’s real pro as an inexpensive option.

If you are on a budget or you are having this for the short term.  It is easy to clean and relatively durable.

However, acrylic materials are more durable, and in the long term, might boast of being the more economical option.


On face level, the acrylic and, fiberglass show similar features: they both shine, are affordable and are woven into different models to deepen the pool of choices.

  • Shine: In their creation, they are sealed and covered with plastic products; this makes them both shiny and beautiful when they are produced.
  • Affordable: Compared to stone and metallic materials, acrylic and fiberglass tubs provide a more economical solution to that space in the bathroom
  • Choices: There is a deep pool of variants in the market because they are well sought after. Manufacturers invest a lot of money to satisfy shape, color, and size preferences between these two variants.

The Differences:

Similarities between this two do not take away the inference that they might also have differences; below are highlighted some variation that can determine what is right for you.


Fiberglass is lighter and thus is easier to use in different conditions, for instance, when you want to install them upstairs. They are straightforward to transport through the stairs and would require less support on the floor directly below the tub.

Since acrylic tubs use a thicker layer of material, and will generally weigh more than fiberglass. They are still considerably lighter than cast iron or other variants of containers, they are quite heavier than fiberglass, and you need to put in more care during installation.


The average life cycle of fiberglass tubs is 10-15 years because they are relatively brittle as compared to the acrylic variants, which can last a lifetime. The thinness of the fiberglass variant means that it is prone to cracking over the years.

There are a few more advantages of acrylic plastic.  Acrylic in tubs is thicker than fiberglass. They are also harder, making them durable and less likely to chipping and cracking. Their life span is 30 years

Ease of Repair

  • Fiberglass

While fiberglass might be more prone to cracks, they are also easy to repair at home. Small problems regarding fiberglass can be easily refinished; all that is required is some remixing, sanding and repairing; these problems are covered in the repair kits.

If there are significant scratches or cracks, remember that the final covering is the ones that retain the color. So, the color of the fiberglass will show through them. And you will have to use care so you can match the color.

  • Acrylic Bathtub

This, however, is one solid surface in which the color goes all the way down through the material. Like some popular countertops, scratches are not visible. With fine-grit sandpaper, you can sand the scratches away.

When acrylic materials crack, they usually would go all the way through the material and cause a leak. Repairing acrylic tubs are more complicated, and one would have to consider addressing the entire structure itself.

Ease of Maintenance

  • Fiberglass

If you want to preserve the glossy appearance of your tub. It is always important to remember that fiberglass tub retains their presence through a gel coat resin which constitutes the final layer.

Since it is a covering, it is considerably softer than acrylic tub finishes. Because they are thinner, they are more vulnerable to scratches and quickly fade, and the high gloss will not last.

So, they can be treated the same way car and boat finishes are maintained. When cleaning them, it is recommended to use smooth cleaners and generally avoid anything that would definitely damage the finishes.

  • Acrylic

This tub is much thicker and more substantial and are less prone to scratches and would not quickly lose its color. The shiny gloss would persevere longer because they are not sprayed-on.

The finish is not going to be removed during the use of certain clean products. The best way to maintain acrylic tubs is by using gentler cleaners that will keep the naturally glossy finish.

Fiberglass vs Acrylic Tub: Which One is for You

acrylic vs fiberglass tub

These two variants have their pros and cons, like every other thing one has to consider his options as related to the pros and the cons and personal budget.

The pope and the president when in public places are usually protected with acrylic glass; hence, they are a viable option in strength.

However, they are expensive when compared to fiberglass. Acrylic crystal is more durable and scratch-resistant, and they are more likely to keep their new look longer.

However they leak when they crack so must be handled with extra care, even though they are tight. It is often suggested that “the higher they are, the are the father they fall,” this logic can be inferred in the acrylic variant as the harder it is, the more likely a significant problem (although hard to come by) would completely ruin your tub.

Still confused about what to buy between acrylic bathtub vs fiberglass? Both have their advantages and disadvantages between them. Whatever you choose you have to know how to take care of it. Maintenance is genuinely the only durability at the end of the day.

I personally would pick acrylic because they are more durable, scratch-resistant and would maintain a long-lasting glossy look.

The best fiberglass tubs provide an affordable way to make use of that space in the bathroom. They are both easy to install, durable, and have a large number of designs available for each.

Owning a home with stairs mean that the lightweight of fiberglass feels appealing. But if you want minimum maintenance with no worries the acrylic should do just fine with this factor, it should not be too hard to pick a suitable tub for you.

About the author

Elizabeth Fincher

Elizabeth started her career as an interior design artist at a multinational interior design farm. She completed her masters degree from the University of North Texas back in 2010. She was also a Spelling Bee runner-up when she was 14. She took interest in bathroom interior designing after joining her first job. Later she started her own firm as an independent artist. She’s been one of the founding members of Toiletsguide. She examines the design and ergonomics of the units we review and directs the interior decoration team of our in-house research facility. Elizabeth plays piano masterfully and always finds time to entertain us in between our busy schedules.

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