Acrylic Or Gelcoat? Which is Right For Me?

It’s easy to envision the perfect tub or shower in the perfect shape, size and color, but many people tend to overlook the importance of choosing the perfect material. Walk-in tubs are currently available in acrylic and gel-coat fiberglass material, and it’s up to you to choose the one that will best enhance your bathing experience and meet your budget needs.


  • Acrylic is an extremely durable bath and shower material. With its strong acrylic surface and composite backing material, it’s resistant to the rigors of everyday life β€” no cracks, no chips.
  • Depending on use, acrylic may requires less maintenance than other bath materials. Its non-porous surface makes cleaning with a non-abrasive cleanser simple and easy.
  • Acrylic retains its color, luster and showroom condition longer. Because its color goes through the thickness of the material, it’s resistant to dulling and fading.
  • Acrylic warms and cools faster than other tub materials, so in a warm room, an acrylic tub is warm to the touch. During a bath, an acrylic tub will keep water warmer for a longer amount of time.
  • Producing tubs using acrylic – particularly tubs with formed seats and other molding details – requires a more complex manufacturing process than producing the same tub with fiberglass, so acrylic tubs will generally cost a little more than fiberglass tubs.


  • Gelcoat is short for “gel-coat fiberglass reinforced polyester,” more popularly known as “fiberglass.” The “gel-coating” is a layer of smooth, shiny material that lays on top of the fiberglass. It is what gives the material its smooth finish and its color. The fiberglass reinforced polyester lies beneath, and it is what gives the material its strength.
  • Gelcoat bathing material is lightweight and easy to maneuver. For it’s weight, it is extremely strong, flexible and durable.
  • With proper cleaning and upkeep, gelcoat tubs will keep their color and luster for a long time. Because gelcoat surfaces are slightly more porous than Acrylic surfaces, they can stain over time if not properly cleaned and maintained.
  • Gelcoat is easier to work with as a material than acrylic in the manufacturing process, so gelcoat tubs will cost less than acrylic tubs.