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What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Steel Bathtub?

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  • Written By: I. Ong
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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The steel bathtub has become quite common in modern homes due to the ease of manufacturing and the relatively low cost of the materials compared to other types of bathtubs. The resulting low cost is one of the pros of using a steel bathtub. Other advantages include the relatively light weight, quick heat absorption, and durability. Disadvantages include potential instability, quick heat loss, and a relatively limited choice of styles.

With its relatively light weight, four to five times less than its cast iron counterpart, a steel bathtub is relatively easy to install. It is unlikely that bathroom floors will be damaged or a lot of muscle power will be needed during installation. The light weight also reduces the maintenance that would have to be performed on bathroom floors in the long run, which can be gradually worn down by heavy tubs.

A steel bathtub absorbs heat fast. Filling it with hot water warms the tub quickly. The homeowner may immediately immerse himself in the tub without fear of discomfort from any lingering coldness in the metal.

Another advantage is that steel tubs are durable, compared to their granite counterparts. Cracking or leaking is not an issue with steel bathtubs in most cases. They are also the cheapest type of bathtub, as well as the most readily available in any store.

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There is, however, a negative side to some of the named advantages of the steel bathtub. The very lightness of the steel bathtub also makes it unstable. Fully mounting the bathtub may not provide adequate support, and additional fastenings are recommended for stability.

While the steel bathtub readily absorbs heat, it also does not retain it for long once the water cools. Additionally, the steel bathtub tends to be colder than other types when not filled with heated water. This can lead to some discomfort for individuals who do not enjoy direct contact with the cold surface.

Although a steel bathtub will not usually crack, enamel-covered steel bathtubs can have the surface enamel chip or crack over time. Such chips may not affect the tub's use, but they can be quite unsightly. Chipped or cracked surface enamel may be restored without having to replace the bathtub, however.

Steel bathtubs are generally limited in design choice and color, and usually cannot be custom-fit into a particular area as they are manufactured in bulk according to a general style. They come in two types, enamel-covered and stainless steel. Stainless steel bathtubs tend to be more expensive than enamel-covered tubs, as well as less readily available.

The most common complaint regarding steel bathtubs is the sound when they are filled with water. Water hitting the metallic bottom of the tub tends to produce a loud rumble. The noise subsides as the tub fills and the flowing water no longer hits the bottom.

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