High Gloss Acrylic Therapy Walk-In Tubs
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Annacis Island NW, BC
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Why Acrylic vs Gelcoat…..read more.
Walk in tubs sales and installation – Serving British Columbia, Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Mission, Harrison, Richmond, New Westminster, Delta, Surrey, Whiterock, Langley, Aldergrove, Abbostford, Chilliwack – Walk -in tubs, Accessible tiles showers installations, large inventory of walk in tubs in-stock locally, New Westminster, BC.
Walk-In Tub Installation
Here are a few important points you may find helpful with regards to walk-in tub installs. There are three trades/skills required to do a proper job installing a walk-in tub. First and foremost are sound carpentry, joinery and finishing skills, showing attention to detail! Experience working with plastics, tile, and wall surrounds will also be necessary. Second is a licensed plumber and then a licensed electrician, depending on the model. Seventy percent of the work will be done by carpentry and finishing, fifteen percent by a plumber, and ten to fifteen percent by an electrician for almost all situations.
If at all possible your first choice should be the company you have purchased the walk-in tub from if they offer installation in your area. Not only are they familiar with their own product, but they install walk-in tubs regularly and will take responsibility for their product and quality of installation. Your second choice is either a subcontractor or a contractor who specialize in bathroom renovations.
Walk-in tub installations are a two man job so if you have the above skills you’ll want help if you plan to take on the project yourself. Keep in mind manufactures will warranty their product providing licensed trades persons were employed to insure proper installation. Always visually inspect and water test a walk-in, or jetted tub prior to installation. Have a question on installation? Be happy to answer it for you, contact us.
Walk-in tub Faucet Selection
5pc three-valve faucet on a walk-in tub (really easy to use)
Really look at faucet design and quality when buying your walk-in tub. Right selection in faucets can make a huge difference. Most difficulty is attributed to divert-err valves. This valve transfers water from the faucet spout over to a shower wand. The shower wand may be built into a walk-in tub or attached to an adjustable shower riser. While there may seem to be a wide variety of shower divert-er valves, there are only 3 main types:
This type of divert-err, is located between taps on a two-tap faucet and can bring water to both the shower and tub. The hot and cold water taps are turned on to mix the water to the correct temperature. Usually, turning the divert-er clockwise 180 degrees allows the properly mixed water to flow out through the shower head. Turning the divert-er counter-clockwise will return the water flow to the tub.
As in a 3-valve divert-er, a bather runs water through the tub spout until it is blended to the desired temperature. The divert-er, with 2 valves each in the shape of an L, pushes the water upward to a shower arm and out the shower head. This 2-valve divert-er can be located in the center of a faucet that adjusts temperature with a single dial turned to the left for hot water and to the right for cold, or it can be set between the taps of a two-tap faucet.
The tee divert-er is a single-valve located behind the faucet spout. The bather runs the water to the temperature he or she prefers, and then pulls up the pull arm behind the spout. The water then comes out the shower head.
Which to Choose
A 5pc three-valve divert-er faucet set, and the 4pc tee divert-er faucet set are ones most found on walk-in tubs. The 5pc three-valve is more user friendly of the two. The advantage of a 5pc three-valve is ease of use, particularly when the bather is older and has weaker finger strength.
It has its own separate faucet to divert the water from the spout to the shower wand and is very user friendly, requiring no effort at all to use. A tee divert-er, found on a 4pc faucet set can be very difficult to use, especially for older woman who have developed arthritis in the hands and fingers. When the valves under water pressure, the pulling up action on a Tee Divert-er can be so difficult, ladies can resort to using some kind of utensil, like a wooden spoon, to try and pry the valve up so they can use the shower wand. Men, who are more likely to have stronger hands and fingers, fare better.
Surprisingly, some very well recognized walk-in tub companies continue using Tee Diverter type faucets, despite customer complaints!
Walk-in tubs – Acrylic or Gel-coat
How Are Walk In Tubs Made?
Depending on the manufacturer, walk-in tubs are made of Acrylic and reinforced with fiberglass or gel-coat and reinforced with fiberglass. These are the two primary materials and manufacturing methods being used today.
Gel coat is colored polyester resin sprayed onto a mold then reinforced with polyester saturated fiberglass. The material and manufacturing process is less expensive. Being more porous and brittle than acrylic, the gel-coat/fiberglass surface has a greater tendency to dull and discolor over time. Some other drawbacks to using gel-coat/fiberglass is the hardness of gel coat surface.
This picture shows a plug taken from a boat hull, you can see how thin the green gel coat really is!
When a tub flexes the gel-coat, being less than .5mm in thickness can develop hair line cracks at stress points if the tub is not adequately supported, and scratches that show up over time cannot be repaired. There are some pros to owning a fiberglass tub which include the fact that they are lightweight which makes them easier to install, they should be less expensive due to lower manufacturing costs, and when cracks do appear they can be repaired with an epoxy resin repair kit.
This gel-coat surfaced fiberglass walk-in tub below was installed new in 2008, photo taken December 2011. It was purchased and installed in Vancouver by a leading supplier of gel-coat walk-in bathtubs. The woman who owns this tub is very particular and cleans regularly. Observe the green staining caused by the growing of mildew forming on the porous gel-coat surface despite her best efforts to keep it new looking. She was persuaded to spend $14,500.00 plus tax by the sales lady representing a direct sales company during her in home consultation, and at the time it came with only a one year warranty!!
Gel-coat is porous and harder to clean than Acrylic.
Unlike the gel-coat fiberglass tub in this photo, tubs built with Premium High Gloss Acrylic, are easy to clean and will remain looking new for a lifetime.
Difference between Acrylic and Gel-coat Surface
Acrylic is a sheet of material that is heated and vacuum-formed over a mold, creating a continuous waterproof membrane. Acrylic sheets are available in thicknesses up to 30mm but for walk-in tub and shower applications thicknesses from 3.17mm to 6.5mm is the industry standard. It is then reinforced with acrylic resin saturated fiberglass for added stability and insulation value. The manufacturing process is more complex and labour intensive than the gel-coat fiberglass manufacturing process. Acrylic is non-porous by nature, warm to the touch and retains its high gloss finish better than any other material. Acrylic is well recognized for its ability to withstand constant use and cleaning. It is not necessary to use harsh or abrasive cleansers, clean ability is excellent.
Let’s compare gel-coat to acrylic surfaces on some very specific characteristics
Let’s compare gel-coat to acrylic surfaces on some very specific characteristics
|| Gel-coat Surface
The big plus with acrylic is that it is a solid surface, meaning it has a very high filler content. If you have a Corian or similar countertops in your home, then you know what solid surface material is. No mildew, mold or bacteria can penetrate because it is non porous. Acrylic; being a solid surface, is easier to clean, has a glossy finish and will last for many years. It will not fade over time as the colour is all the way through the material not just on the surface.
Whereas, with gel coat fiberglass the gel coat rubs off or can develop hair line cracks at stress points and then the pores/fibers of the fiberglass are exposed. Once the pores and fibers are exposed they can harbor bacteria, mold and mildew and grime and soap scum get imbedded into the surface which begins the breaking down of the product. Using a gel-coat is like having a paint sprayed onto the fibreglass to “seal” it. It wears off over time which is why it fades and wears and becomes even harder to keep clean. While fibreglass costs less, it will never last longer or as long as acrylic.