Choosing Bathtub Materials For A Bathroom Remodel

A List Of Bathtub Materials To Consider For A Bathroom Remodel

Today, one of the most popular remodeling projects for many homeowners is a bathroom renovation. Whether its a fabulous spa-like oasis in your master suite or the bath guests use when they visit, your bathroom should be designed for functionality, and as stylish as any other room in the house. 

After all, the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house. It's often the first room you enter in the morning, and the last one you leave at night. It's where you spend time relaxing in the tub with a glass of wine after a hard day of work, and where you get ready for a fabulous night on the town with your loved ones.

Remodeling a bathroom is a significant project with several important functional and aesthetic decisions you'll need to make. From lighting to tile, to fixtures, you'll have a wide range of materials and styles to choose from.

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One critical decision you'll need to make is choosing the right bathtub. Buying the right one is an important decision that can not only affect the functionality of your bathroom but is an essential aesthetic choice as well.

In this post, we're not going to look at the various choices in style, size or type of bathtub is right for you, we're going to dig a little deeper into your options when it comes to bathtub materials.

What Are The Most Common Bathtub Materials?

Many homeowners don't think beyond the size and type of bathtub to include in their remodel. Well, you might be surprised to know that you have more options than you might have thought in terms of materials.

Which you ultimately choose will come down to a combination of comfort, ease of maintenance, looks and of course, your budget. Here are some of the pros and cons of the most common bathtub construction materials.


These types of tubs are made with acrylic sheets and fiberglass. They are lightweight, easy to install, and quite affordable. However, it's essential to reinforce them during installation properly. They offer a warm touch, are crack resistant, and can stand up to high temperatures and resist harsh chemicals.


Fiberglass is a type of plastic formed into layers, then molded and covered with a layer of gel-coat resin. It's an affordable choice for homeowners on a budget. Because it's also a lightweight material, it's easy to move and install. However, fiberglass is brittle and porous in nature. It regularly absorbs water and can crack. Over time the color and finish will deteriorate.


Porcelain tubs are typically constructed from cast iron or steel which is then coated with a laver of porcelain enamel. This is made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate using high heat, which melts it. When it cools, it hardens into a durable coating. Porcelain maintains a beautiful sheen and is very smooth. Naturally, scratch-resistant, cleaning is easy, and mild detergent with warm water will usually knock out any tough stains. Unfortunately, they can be quite slippery, making them a falling hazard. While resistant to scratching, it is prone to chipping if it sustains a hard impact.

Cast Iron

Looking for longevity? Cast iron will last forever. It's probably the most durable tub available and is resistant to scratching, chipping, denting, and chemicals. Cast iron tubs come in a variety of colors and offer a “richness that's hard to match. They also retain heat quite well. Unfortunately, they're incredibly heavy and often require extra floor reinforcement.

Using More Exotic Bathtub Materials For Aesthetic Appeal

Along with these common materials, today, manufacturers are offering selections in more exotic materials like engineered and natural stone, metals, and even wood! Here are some more unusual choices to help you create your dream bathroom!


Relatively new to the bathtub market, solid-surface tubs are durable, retain heat well and come in a variety of subtle, natural-looking materials. They're also made in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be repaired if it's ever needed. However, they're somewhat heavy and relatively expensive.

Cultured Marble

These are made with natural crushed limestone, resin and finished with Gelcoat. They offer a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles. Price-wise, they fall somewhere between acrylic and cast iron. Like natural marble, cultured marble retains heat well and offers a comfortable natural look. However, like marble, it's very heavy. Cleaning is a bit of a hassle as it requires considerable care If not the can discolor and experience mildew build-up.


Made by hand-hammering sheets of pure copper into the shape of a bathtub, copper is a beautiful material that will create a stunning focal point in any bathroom. Maintaining a copper tub is easy and doesn't need harsh chemicals. Naturally resistant to chipping and scratches, a copper tub will change over time acquiring a stunning patina. The only drawbacks are that they are heavy, and somewhat rare and hard to find, making them one of the most expensive options on the market.

Other metals

Along with copper, there are several additional choices in metal bathtubs, including stainless steel, and nickel-plated. Like copper and cast iron, these materials are heavy and may require additional structural support. They are also quite expensive and quite stunning!


Take your bathroom to the next level with a glass tub. If you're looking for a unique, modern look, nothing is as impressive as a glass tub. It's not for everyone, but if you love minimalism and high-style, a glass tub is worth a look.


Make a bold statement with a natural stone bathtub. Stone tubs are available in a wide range of stone species including marble, onyx, granite, travertine, basalt, sandstone and soapstone. This option is at the high-end in terms of price, and they are cumbersome and will require special structural framing to support their weight.


If you want an authentic, one-of-a-kind statement piece with an incredible “wow factor” and a price to match, a custom carved wood tub is a great choice. Not only are they beautiful, but wood bathtubs also keep the heat longer. The best feature is that you can customize a wood bathtub from the choice of wood, to the size of the tub. You can make an artistic statement and have it custom carved for the ultimate bathing experience.

Today, you have more choices than ever before when it comes to the material used for your bathtub. You're really only limited by your bathroom space, your creativity, and your budget. Bathtub materials and styles are changing rapidly with changing tastes. Speak with your interior designer or design-build firm to explore all of the options available.

If you're planning a bathroom remodel in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area give the award-winning design experts at Degnan Design-Build-Remodel a call at (608) 846-5963. Let us help you design the perfect spa-like bathroom you've been dreaming about!