A fiberglass bathtub can be a beautiful and enjoyable fixture to install in your bathroom that will last many years if cared for correctly. For decades, cast iron has been the only reliable fixture. Plumbers preferred cast iron due to it's solid construction and relative permanence. Cast iron is almost always coated with porcelain resulting in a durable, glass like surface. However, this surface is prone to chip and scratch, and a cast iron tub is generally a fairly standard size. Too, many homeowners are leaning more toward acrylic materials for tubs, shower pans, and enclosures, due to wide variety of sizes and shapes available, and the availability of a selection of non-traditional colors. If you have gone with the acrylic fiberglass fixture, you will find several tips here for the care and maintenance of your beautiful fixture that will ensure it lasts like a cast iron will.
Materials and Installation
Selecting a quality piece for your bathroom is critical and will ensure that you are not forced to replace it before you are prepared to do so. While acrylic fixtures are usually much less expensive, spending a little extra money will ensure that you are installing a piece you will enjoy. One of the most common complaints about fiberglass pieces is that they are flimsy and flex in the bottom or sides. Make sure you purchase a fixture that is reinforced. When installing the fixture, particularly when installing a shower pan or tub, a plaster or mortar underlay or base will give additional strength to to floor.
Cleaning a fiberglass acrylic bathtub should be done differently than that of a cast iron tub. The surface is much more susceptible to scratching, and so no abrasive cleaners should be used. Plain liquid dish soap is a perfect cleanser to use, as it is gentle and doesn't contain abrasives. Cleaning utensils should consist of either a washcloth or sponge, but never a scrub brush, steel wool, or Scotch Brite pad as these are liable to scratch the surface. Cleaning the tub has been equated with using the same care and products that you would use to clean your car. Frequent cleaning will also make the job easier.
There is very little that is needed to maintain the tub. Frequent cleaning is perhaps the first and most important maintenance task that should be done. Maintaining the shine on the tub requires a quarterly waxing. You can apply a spray on auto wax to edges and sides of the tub (it should never be applied to the floor of the tub), and buff it to maintain the high gloss sheen that it came with when new. Take care not to allow heavy or sharp items to fall onto the surface or the floor of the bath tub, as if it becomes cracked, it will require a professional to fix it. Frequently, it is not possible to fix the fixture at all and requires replacement.