Q: What's special about a cast iron tub? Is it the thermal properties?
What is so special about a cast iron bathtub? Is it the thermal properties of the cast iron or is it simply their old-time look and feel? Any drawbacks to cast iron? Thanks.
A: Cast Iron is better!
The other advantage of cast iron is durability. The average cast iron tub can last a lifetime (30 years) or more. The average fiberglass or acrylic tub will have 1/2 that lifespan in good conditions. The cast iron can also be truly re-finished if anything tragic happens like scratching or chipping. Acrylic and fiberglass tubs can have a new top coat applied, but those re-finishing techniques can not match a true porcelain finish that you get on cast iron. Cast iron also just feels better when getting in and out. The thickness and weight of the cast iron feels much more stable and solid. Acrylic and fiberglass tubs tend to flex a little with the weight of the water and person. This can be limited with a mortar set, but it is almost impossible to get close to the strength of cast iron. The flexing of the acrylic and fiberglass tubs also means you have to maintain caulking and grout more as the movement encourages those items to fail. Hope that helps.
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Certainly the biggest advantage is their ability to hold heat. The only drawbacks I can think of is perhaps weight and cost.
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