However, the vast majority of walk in tubs you find on the market will be made from either fiberglass or acrylic. Some walk in tub manufacturers choose to go with fiberglass-based tubs because fiberglass is much cheaper than acrylic and it’s an easier material to work with.
To create one of these tubs, manufacturers start with a pre-formed bathtub mold. From there, it’s just a matter of applying layers of fiberglass mat and gel coat over the mold until the desired thickness is achieved. The walk in bathtub manufacturer will then apply fiberglass resin and a hardening catalyst. When it dries, the formed bathtub is separated from the mold.
An acrylic bathtub is an entirely different animal. To build one of these tubs, walk in bathtub manufacturers start with a flexible sheet of acrylic. The sheet is heated and placed over a preformed mold. Then, a giant vacuum sucking machine uses pressure to wrap the sheet around the mold to form the tub. The acrylic is then given a chance to cool and harden before it is separated from the mold.
<===Check out this video that shows how a standard acrylic bathtub is made. It should give you a very good idea of what you can expect from a walk in tub.
The better quality walk in tubs will have strong stainless steel support frames added. Many of the inferior tubs will either have no frame support or it may be made of untreated plywood. These are disasters waiting to happen.
Anyway, the next step in building an acrylic tub consists of cutting out a space for the doors. The doors are also made of acrylic and are shaped using a molding process similar to what the tub’s shell underwent. The doors are put in place and aligned with the frame. This is followed by drilling holes for the fixtures, attachments, and accessories.
Should You Purchase A Walk in Tub Made Of Acrylic Or Fiberglass?
If you haven’t guessed which type of walk in tub is best based on materials used in the manufacturing process, I’ll share a bit more information with you.
Acrylic is a high-gloss, non-porous, solid-surface material. It is thick and strong and is masterful at keeping mold and mildew from spreading. Because it is a solid surface water-proof material, it’s easy to clean and the color won’t easily fade. If you have a solid surface countertop in your home (such as Corian), then you know the strength of this material. Acrylic can last for 30 years or longer, but it is not cheap.
On the other hand, fiberglass is an inexpensive porous material. This means that it is more susceptible to having a build-up of mold and bacteria. Fiberglass bathtubs are also more likely to chip and scratch, making maintenance even more difficult. This can also shorten the life of the tub. And while acrylic tubs can last three decades, fiberglass tubs will begin to show wear and tear within one decade.
When you get a fiberglass bathtub, it will have a matte finish as opposed to a high-gloss finish. This may or may not be of importance to you.
I’m not going to tell you which tub to buy because I don’t know your budget. In addition, despite all the doom and gloom about fiberglass you may come across a manufacturer that is offering some quality affordable tubs made from this material. As I mentioned earlier, not all walk in bathtub manufacturers follow the same tub-making process.
The wise thing to do is to ask lots of questions and check out what other people are saying about their experience with a particular tub.
Walk In Bathtub Manufacturers
Below you’ll find a walk in bathtub manufacturers list of quality providers that you can use as a starting point in your search. Since this a fast growing market, you’re bound to come across additional competitors. Also remember that there are many independent sellers of walk in tubs, so you should be able to find some good deals.
American Standard Walk in Bathtubs
Bathing Solutions (Northwest Walk In Bath)
Best Buy Walk-In Tubs
Complete Home Living Solutions Canada
Kelowna, British Columbia
DCE Bathing Systems
Fort Worth, TX
Dignity Walk-In Tubs and Spas
Home Living Solutions
Independent Living USA
Delray Beach, FL
Valley Stream, NY
South Daytona, FL
Safety Bath Hydrotherapy Systems
Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
Grand Prairie, TX
Anaheim, CA 92805
San Diego, CA
The Walk In Bathtub Company
Walk-in Bathtub Store
Mount Dora, FL 32757