Compare Acrylic vs Fiberglass Shower Costs
An Expert Comparison of Acrylic and Fiberglass Shower
Acrylic Shower Overview
Acrylic is a very durable type of manmade plastic that is one of the most common materials for showers. The material is so durable, in fact, that it’s used to make airplane windshields.
Acrylic has a naturally shiny finish, much like glass, but it is stronger and lighter in weight than glass. Acrylic showers are available in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Often, acrylic showers have fiberglass reinforcements.
Acrylic Shower Cost
One-piece acrylic shower units begin at about $800 and can cost upwards of $3,500, depending on factors like size, features and brand name. If you’re looking to purchase just a base, budget about $250 to $700. Acrylic bathtubs usually run $500 to $1,000.
Acrylic Shower Pros
- Durable - Acrylic is a tougher than fiberglass, so it will last longer. Because the color goes all the way through the surface, scratches aren’t as obvious. And any scratches that do appear can be buffed out with polish.
- Easy to clean - Acrylic is a nonporous material that naturally resists mold, soap scum and hard-water buildup.
- Many design options - Acrylic is available in a wider selection of color and design options than fiberglass.
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Acrylic Shower Cons
- More expensive - Acrylic showers are considerably more expensive than fiberglass, although the material is still relatively affordable compared to other types of showers.
- Prone to chemical damage - Certain types of cleaners will damage an acrylic shower, and that damage is difficult or impossible to repair. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to find out which chemicals are safe.
Fiberglass Shower Overview
Fiberglass is a lightweight and attractive material that is also very popular for showers. Fiberglass showers are made by applying a gel coating over a molded fiberglass base. They are less expensive than acrylic showers but they don’t last as long.
Fiberglass Shower Cost
One-piece fiberglass shower units usually cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Fiberglass shower bases typically cost $150 to $400.
Fiberglass Shower Pros
- Less expensive - Fiberglass showers are the least expensive of all the shower materials on the market. They’re a good choice if you’re on a very limited budget.
- Easy to install - Because fiberglass showers are so lightweight, they’re easy to install. Many homeowners decide to tackle installation as a do-it-yourself project.
Fiberglass Shower Cons
- Difficult to clean - Fiberglass showers are porous, allowing stains to seep below the surface. Over time, the surface becomes dull and discolored. Once a fiberglass shower is stained, it is very difficult to clean.
- Not as durable - Fiberglass is a relatively strong material, but it’s not as strong as acrylic. Fiberglass showers simply won’t last as long. And because the color is only as deep as the gel coating, scratches in fiberglass are very noticeable and difficult to repair.