Bathtub design and manufacturing have changed so much over the years. From acrylic and fiberglass to steel and cast iron, there are so many types of bathtubs. If you’ve had your bathtub so long you’re unsure what material it is, there are some tricks to help you narrow it down.
Grab a Magnet
Find a strong magnet and hold it against the wall of your bathtub. If it sticks, then your tub is made of steel or cast iron. Unlike metal, acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs are not magnetic.
Press on Your Bathtub
Firmly press your hand against the side of your bathtub. If it has a little give, it is made of acrylic or fiberglass. These materials have a little give or flexibility. Meanwhile, steel or cast iron will not have any give when pressed on.
Surface damage differs by tub material. If your tub has chips or is rusty, it is made of some type of metal. However, if it has any scratches or cracks around it, it should be made of acrylic or fiberglass. Fiberglass bathtubs are also known for staining and fading over time. Acrylic bathtubs won’t fade.
From removing panels and framing to looking in the crawl space or basement underneath the bathtub, there are many ways to see your bathtub’s support system. Cast iron bathtubs are extremely heavy and often feature extra supports underneath them. Most claw foot tubs are cast iron. Here’s what to look for:
- Cast iron has supports that look pebbly.
- Steel supports look metallic.
- Fiberglass supports look like a bunch of strings.
- Acrylic supports appear to be smooth.