Acrylic bathtubs in the domestic plumbing market appeared relatively recently. Just some 10-15 years it took an acrylic bath to take its place next to the bathtubs made of cast iron, which have long been familiar to our people. This is due to the large number of advantages that acrylic plumbing has, for example, less weight, low price or original shape. However, as you know, the greater the choice, the more difficult it is to make a choice.
In fact, having come to a plumbing shop, sometimes one's eyes widen from the acrylic baths offered for sale and, mainly, most consumers have a logical question - which acrylic bath is better to choose, because the price of plumbing is far from an indicator of its quality and durability. Let’s try to understand in detail all the nuances of choosing high-quality sanitary ware, and at the same time, we’ll talk about what consultants are often silent about.
- What is the best acrylic bath material
- What should be the thickness of the acrylic sheet and reinforcement
- Choosing the size and shape of the bathroom
- Structural strength and frame
- Additional options for acrylic bathtubs
- How to choose a manufacturer
- What you need to look at in the store when buying an acrylic bath
From the name of the plumbing, it is clear that the acrylic bath is made of acrylic. Acrylic is a component mixture of complex polymeric compounds of esters and methacrylics. Speaking in simple human language, acrylic is a type of plastic, which is characterized by its strength, elasticity and smooth surface.
On sale you can find plumbing made of the following material:
- ABS / PMMA;
Material - ABS / PMMA, is a two-component material consisting of acrylonetrile butadiene styrene and polymethyl methacrylate. Acrylonetrile butadiene styrene is a type of elastic plastic, and polymethyl methacrylate is a type of homogeneous organic plexiglass. In fact, in this material, ABS fulfills the basis and accounts for about 90% of the total mass, and the acrylic layer itself is made of PMMA, about 5-10%. The disadvantage of an acrylic bathtub made of ABS / PMMA is its quick wear and shorter life, about 3-5 years. The thing is that although ABS itself is plastic, this polymer has a porous hygroscopic structure, that is, it is able to absorb moisture to some extent, which leads to its rapid destruction. At the same time, a thin, namely acrylic PMMA layer, with frequent use of plumbing, is quickly worn out.
The material - polymethylmethacrylate, as mentioned above, is - plexus, plexiglass. In acrylic bathtubs made of pure PMMA, the layer of porous ABS is completely absent, and the plumbing itself is characterized by high indicators of wear resistance and durability. On average, an acrylic bathtub made of polymethylmethacrylate can last 10-12 years from the date of installation.
How to be guided and how to choose an acrylic bathtub based on the material
When visiting a plumbing store, of course, an obsessive sales assistant can paint a lot of the benefits of a particular acrylic bathtub model, however, the first thing you need to do specifically is to visually evaluate the number of plumbing layers yourself. This can be done by inspecting the edge of the plumbing side.
If you have counted 3 layers, you should know that this bathtub is made according to the scheme: ABS + PMMA + base.
If you have counted 2 layers - this bathtub is made of pure PMMA + reinforcing base.
Having understood what kind of plumbing you are dealing with, then you need to answer your own question - where and for what purpose an acrylic bathtub is bought. If you need to buy a bath for a country house, where, in principle, the accommodation will be seasonal, and the plumbing itself will be operated on power for a couple of months a year, then of course, it does not make sense to overpay too much, and you can buy a bathtub made according to the ABS / PMMA scheme. If it comes to buying and installing a bathroom in a city apartment or a country house where you constantly live, then there is no point in saving, and it is better to buy a bathtub made of pure plexus, that is, PMMA + reinforced base.
As it was written above, if you look at the end of the bathroom side, you can visually distinguish several layers in the sheet structure. To the eye, the layers in the structure of the wall of the bathroom are in many ways similar to the secular rings that can be observed on the stump after sawing a tree. Since the main question is how to choose a durable acrylic bath, the main attention should be paid to the thickness of the acrylic layer itself, that is, the front layer.
In the supermarket or plumbing store you can find models of acrylic bathtubs with an outer layer thickness of 2 to 6.5 mm.
On average, the trend is this: if the acrylic layer is 2-3 mm - the bath will last about 3-4 years; acrylic layer about 4 mm - the bath can last up to 7 years; acrylic layer 5-6.5 mm - the bath can last 10-12 years.
In addition to the thickness of the acrylic layer, it is also worth paying attention to the general condition of the inner surface. Sometimes there are such “crafty moments” when the seller’s consultant begins to paint the not-so-smooth surface of an acrylic bath, as some kind of know-how in the world of plumbing. This is a lie. Most likely, the seller or, in fact, the store, are trying to get rid of the stale low-grade or generally defective goods.
It is important to remember: in a high-quality acrylic bath, the surface should not have tubercles or roughnesses. The smoothness of the surface should be of such a degree that if a tight human palm is attached to it, the palm should not even slip, but as if, due to the evenness of the surface, slightly stick. For example, try to hold your palm firmly against the window glass, with a high-quality acrylic coating, the effect should be approximately the same.
Ways to reinforce the bath, and which one is better
In its pure form, the acrylic bath bowl is not very durable, because acrylic is a flexible and plastic material. To give it rigidity, a reinforcing layer is applied to the outer surface of the bathtub sink. The reinforcing layer is applied at the factory, already on the finished, molded bowl on top of the ABS / PMMA or PMMA from the outside.
Structurally, the reinforcing layer is a fiberglass that is treated with an epoxy resin.
The total number of reinforcing layers can be from 1 to 5, depending on the quality of the plumbing. In total, when buying an acrylic bath, it’s good enough to look at the end of the wall of the bathroom to visually assess the number of layers and the total thickness of the reinforced base.
It is important to remember the following: a high-quality acrylic bathtub is reinforced with a uniform layer over its entire outer surface. Many unscrupulous manufacturers, in the production of plumbing, use the following trick. Knowing that the “savvy” buyer will necessarily evaluate the thickness and layers of reinforcement at the end, in the process of applying the reinforcing layer, the manufacturers deliberately reinforce the ends of the sides than the bowl itself. In order not to fall for this trick, in addition to visual inspection of the end face, you must independently lightly press on the bottom of the bowl and the wall of the bathroom. With high-quality reinforcement, they should not bend like a plastic lining, but should maintain elasticity.
Another way that can help you choose a high-quality acrylic bathtub is to try putting a flashlight close to the bottom of the bathtub and at the same time, with your palms together, look at a section of the same surface from the other side. If you see a very clear gap from the flashlight, you should know that the thickness of the bottom of this bath is less, the thickness of its walls and, in fact, this product of dubious quality.
In general, there are three things to do:
- Inspect the end face;
- Press on the walls and bottom;
- Test the walls and bottom for clearance using a flashlight or laser pointer.
Of course, we were talking about if you need to choose an acrylic bathtub from an unknown manufacturer or if the plumbing shop itself does not cause much confidence. In cases of buying an acrylic bath in a specialized store from a well-known manufacturer, you are unlikely to encounter such a "hack." But it’s better to check everything, of course.
A bath is not just a plumbing hygiene item, it is also the place where you can relax, rest and improve your body. Yes, it has long been proven that taking baths with certain oils, herbs or mineral supplements favorably affects the general well-being and raises the tone. For this reason, the main criterion for choosing an acrylic bath is its convenience.
Optimum bath height - 65-70 cm from floor level. This value is considered to be “family”, because the subject of plumbing can be used without difficulty by both adult family members and children or adolescents.
Optimum Depth - 50-60 cm, calculated from the bottom plane of the bowl to the level where the overflow hole is located. In a “shallower” bathtub, the water level may not completely cover the body of the person lying in it, but in a “deeper” bathtub, the head of the person taking the bathtub may be located in a not very convenient upright position.
Optimum width - 75-80 cmHowever, this parameter also depends on the growth and complexion of family members. For example, a full, obese person 75 cm may not be enough. This does not matter, because on sale you can quite easily find an acrylic bathtub with a width of 100, 120 and even more centimeters.
Optimum length - 150-180 cmHowever, this indicator directly depends on the specific model of plumbing and the growth of family members. As for the bath model, if there is a head restraint in its design, for a person with a height of 180 cm, a bath length of 165-170 cm is suitable. If the head restraint is not in the structure itself, for example, the design is “economy”, then for a person with a height of 180 cm the bath is selected directly by its height - 180 cm. Below you can see the standard dimensions of the length of the bath and the possible position of the body at a certain length.
As for the shape of the bath itself, then, conditionally, all plumbing can be divided into longitudinal and angular. Longitudinal plumbing is installed by the headboard or one of the sides close to one of the walls of the bathroom. The corner bath is installed directly in the corner of the bathroom. Moreover, among these distinguished conventional types, there are models of acrylic bathtubs with the most incredible and diverse design. It is pointless to advise any particular style in plumbing, since everyone has their own individual preferences. It should only be noted that the choice of the shape of the bath: rectangular, oval, round, angular will depend on the size and layout of the room in which they are supposed to be installed.
The strength of an acrylic bath is largely dependent on the method of its manufacture. That is, a bathtub that was manufactured using PMMA acrylic integral casting technology, when fully filled with water, is able to maintain its original shape. If the bathtub is made of extruded two-component ABS / PMMA acrylic, then when it is completely filled, its walls may slightly deform. The main effect here is a thin layer of PMMA and a thick layer of flexible ABS plastic.
Regardless of the acrylic used, all bathtubs are installed on a special welded or prefabricated metal frame, which performs the function of the base and restraint of the bathtub from excessive deformation when fully filled. Moreover, the design of the metal frame - the frame, to some extent also affects the cost of an acrylic bath.
The simplest frame is a metal "crate" welded or prefabricated on bolts, which will be located directly under the bottom of the bathtub. That is, such a frame will withstand the vertical pressure of the water and the weight of a bathing person, but it will not strengthen the side walls. A more complex frame for an acrylic bath, has in its design elements that strengthen the side walls of plumbing, which in total can extend the operational life of the entire structure.
But there is also one point that can help determine the quality of the bath. The frame of the frame has support points (racks and legs). The more such racks, the less durable the bath itself. If the bath itself is of high quality, then the frame has supports only in the corners.
The most popular and healthy option is considered to be such an integrated option in acrylic bathtubs as a Jacuzzi. The jacuzzi is characterized by the fact that, unlike taking a normal bath, the human body is exposed to hydromassage, and in some cases, chromotherapy - exposure to the surface of the skin with ultraviolet rays. Hydromassage in the jacuzzi is carried out by continuously entering air bubbles through specially bronze or chrome nozzles integrated in the side walls of the bathroom.
Chromotherapy occurs due to the blue LED backlight with prismatic reflectors built into the side walls of the plumbing. Simply put, there is an effect of exposure to the skin of a blue lamp, which stimulates blood circulation and has an anti-inflammatory effect. If hydromassage is quite easy to understand, for example, evaluating the number of nozzles, modes and control method, then with chromotherapy everything is much more complicated. Here the maximum effect depends on the power of the lamps and correctly selected and focused reflectors by manufacturers.
Advice for those who are considering the question of how to choose an acrylic bathtub with integrated Jacuzzi elements: plumbing with high-quality hydromassage and chromotherapy can only be from well-known serious manufacturers. And how to choose an acrylic bathtub by manufacturers will be described below.
In addition to the hydromassage or chromotherapy described above, a modern acrylic bathtub can please its owner with various useful options. For example, plumbing models are widely used, in which a special shelf is provided for placing a laptop or in which a plasma TV panel is integrated. Another example is a jacuzzi, which provides a direct or via wi-fi connection to the central module in the "smart home" system. In general, engineering has no limits.
Of the Russian, largest and most advanced manufacturers of acrylic bathtubs, products stand out Bell radoDoctor Jet, Aquatec, Radomir, here you can also include the products of the Russian-German company Aquatika. Each of these manufacturers is considered the largest, for this reason, in pursuit of status and prestige, each of these manufacturers tries to produce only high-quality sanitary ware. On average, an acrylic bathtub made in Russia costs from 45,000 rubles to 75,000 rubles.
Of foreign manufacturers, priority is given to quality, and how without it, Germany and Italy hold the palm of prices. This is plumbing from companies such as Sunrans, GNT (Germany) and Artceram, BelBagno, Novellini Elysium (Italy). The quality of acrylic bathtubs is very high, but the average price starts from 55,000 rubles and can reach up to 200,000 rubles.
With more adequate prices and fairly high-quality products, sanitary ware from Czech, Polish, and Spanish manufacturers is represented on the Russian market. Of Czech products, the most popular brand Ravak. The price segment of sanitary ware from these countries has a very wide range from 7,000 rubles to 50,000 rubles, depending on the specific model and its functionality.
A very simple and cheap acrylic bathtub can be bought from manufacturers from China or Turkey. Of course, they also have brands, for example, Eago (Hong Kong), but if you take the models that are available on the market, you can come to the conclusion that for 6,000 - 30,000 rubles, it is quite possible to purchase plumbing.
To summarize all of the above, going to a plumbing store, you should pay attention to the following things:
Determine the shape, length, width - this is purely individual.
We check the number of layers in the structure of the bath itself - that is, it is molded or plastic + acrylic.
We look at the thickness of the acrylic layer.
We look at the total thickness of the bathroom material.
We pay attention to the number and thickness of the reinforcing layers.
Surface condition and elasticity of the material.
The device frame and the number of supports.
Availability and performance of additional functions.
We are determined with the manufacturer.