Bathtubs & Showers, Acrylic vs. Fiberglass

20th Jun 2023

fiberglass tub

The two most popular, cost-effective bath tub and shower options are acrylic and gelcoat fiberglass. Both are easy to install and maintain, but differ on price, durability and lifespan. To help you decide on which is best for your project, let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of each. Tile shower enclosures compared to acrylic or fiberglass ones, aside from being much less expensive, have no need for regular sealing or grout cleaning.

Acrylic Construction

Acrylic MAAX Bath

Acrylic is a variety of plastic and is an extremely durable material for bath and shower manufacture. The process for production of bath tubs with it requires heating large sections of acrylic and then stretching the softened sheets over a mold to create the proper shape and size. With its strong surface and composite backing material, acrylic is resistant to the wear and tear of everyday life — no cracks, no chips. Depending on your in home use, acrylic should require less maintenance than other bath materials. Its non-porous surface makes cleaning with a non-abrasive cleanser a simple and easy task.

Advantages of Acrylic

This illustration shows the process for thermo-molding the body of an acrylic body.

Acrylic bathtubs & showers are easy to clean and extremely durable, they don't scratch as easily as other materials. Acrylic is great choice for a main or kids’ bathroom.

Gelcoat Fiberglass Construction

The term Gelcoat is seen quite a lot today in bath fixtures. It’s short for "gel-coat fiberglass reinforced polyester," also known as simply "fiberglass." Gelcoating creates a layer of smooth, shiny material that the mold is coated with before the fiberglass is sprayed on. That coating is what gives the material its glossy finish and its color. The material gets its strength from the fiberglass-reinforced polyester that lies beneath. Gelcoat bathing material is lightweight, easy to maneuver and, for it's weight, it is very tough, flexible and resilient. As long as it is properly cleaned and maintained, a gelcoat bathtub/shower will keep its color and luster for a long time. However, gelcoat surfaces are a little more porous than Acrylic ones, they may show stains over time if not properly cleaned and maintained.

Advantages of Fiberglass

MAAX Sax Bath

Fiberglass bathtubs & showers are among the most affordable type of bathroom fixture. If you’re on a tight budget, Gelcoat fixtures can help stretch your dollar.


Don’t forget that Barton's Home also carries vanities, real granite and marble vanity tops, as well as bath faucets, toilets, ceramic tiles, and travertine mosaics to help complete your bath remodel; all at the Guaranteed Lowest Price.

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