Why build Acylic Clawfoot Baths? - what's wrong with cast iron?
We stopped building and supplying cast iron baths a long time ago, and have used super high density European sanitary acrylic ever since. There are three main reasons: Thermal Performance, Ease of Repair and Lower Cost Installation. Here's why:
Acrylic keeps hot water hotter longer:
Cast Iron is a conductor. It channels the heat out of the water and into the room quickly. The result is water cools faster with a cast iron bath. Acrylic though is an insulator. It keeps the water in the water, saving you time and money. The thermal performance beats cast iron hands down. But still we see other manufacturers writing about how their cast iron baths heat up the water. It just doesn't work that way. This is particularly important for hospitality installations, as a few hundred cast iron baths being needlessly heated every day soons drives huge power bills.
Acrylic keeps its showroom finish longer:
Enamel surfaces chip and rust over time, and the only solution is a complete recoating and enamelling. But this is expensive, usually requires unfitting and then refitting the bath tub, and often colour matching is never quite the same - ever for a plain white bath tub (guess how many types of "white" there are...) Acrylic however is a solid surface and we deliberately build our baths with a thick sacrificial outer sheet. What this means is that scratches and nicks can be easily polished out, keeping a shiny new showroom finish much longer. The ease of repair beats cast iron hands down.
Acrylic has a much lower cost of installation:
The cost of fixtures and fittings is usually not the greatest part of the cost of a bathroom renovation or installation. Instead the greatest cost is usually skilled labour - the cost of people. Acrylic bath tubs weigh less, which means fewer people needed on site to install them, and often do not need the structural supports a cast iron bath need, meaning less structural costs. In nearly every installation an acrylic bath will cost less to install than a cast iron one.
I can't use an Acrylic Clawfoot Bath in my restoration (right?)
At Clawfoot we mainly build acrylic clawfoot baths, and rarely supply cast iron or enamelled baths, if at all. On the few occasions when we do its usually as an exact replacement for a historically accurate restoration. But most of our customers aren't restoring a house, they're renovating it and that's a huge difference.