How to Tell if My Tub is Acrylic or Fiberglass?

When purchasing a bathtub, identifying and confirming its material is crucial. On one hand, this helps avoid additional costs due to mispurchase, and on the other hand, different materials require different maintenance and cleaning methods. While there are obvious differences between most materials, distinguishing between fiberglass and acrylic tubs may be more challenging. Therefore, in this article, Giving Tree Home will explore how to identify the material of your tub, whether it's made of fiberglass or acrylic.

Understanding Acrylic and Fiberglass Tubs

Acrylic and fiberglass tubs are both praised for their durability and cost-effectiveness, but they have some fundamental differences. Acrylic tubs are made of colored plastic sheets with a fiberglass support layer, resulting in a wide variety of styles. On the other hand, fiberglass tubs are made of reinforced plastic with interwoven glass layers, molded into the shape of a bathtub through heating, and finally coated with a resin gel layer.

In terms of lifespan, acrylic and fiberglass tubs are similar, typically lasting about 10-15 years. However, acrylic materials are more reliable and less prone to cracking. Additionally, acrylic tubs have antimicrobial and stain-resistant properties, making them easier to maintain. Even after years of use, discoloration issues like yellowing can be restored through refinishing.

While acrylic is generally considered a budget-friendly option, fiberglass takes it a step further! Due to their simple structure, they are lighter in weight, making them easier to transport and install.

Tips to Distinguish Acrylic from Fiberglass Tubs

Touch Identification

This is the most important way to differentiate acrylic materials from others. If you carefully feel the surface of an acrylic bathtub, you'll be surprised to find that it's not as cool but rather warm or neutral, while fiberglass feels cooler!

Visual Identification

Some tutorials may teach you to identify your bathtub as acrylic or fiberglass based on color, but this isn't reliable because tubs of both materials can be designed in different colors. However, you can differentiate them by comparing their transparency and glossiness; acrylic tubs usually have higher transparency and gloss. Additionally, if your bathtub has been purchased and used for a long time, you can check if the surface has faded or oxidized; if so, it's likely a fiberglass bathtub.

Structural Identification

For some users who are not very familiar with bathtubs, this method is not recommended as it involves some difficulty. This includes two ways: observing the thickness of the edges and tapping to discern the sound. Acrylic tubs are formed by compressing two acrylic sheets, so their edges are thicker, and most have a hollow core structure, so the sound produced when tapping is hollow and dimensional. On the other hand, the edges of fiberglass tubs are thicker, and the sound produced when tapping is duller.

Inquire with the Store

If you can't find any clues, it's best to ask the customer service where you purchased the bathtub to confirm whether it's made of acrylic or fiberglass. If you still have the purchase receipt, it should also contain this information.

Maintenance Tips for Acrylic and Fiberglass

Now that you've identified whether your bathtub is acrylic or fiberglass, it's time to treat them differently.

Firstly, it's not recommended to use strong chemicals to clean the surface of either acrylic or fiberglass, as this may damage the surface. If your bathtub is fiberglass, you must use non-abrasive cleaners because its surface is more fragile. For acrylic, some stubborn stains are recommended to be cleaned with specialized acrylic bathtub cleaners. If you're averse to daily maintenance and cleaning, it's recommended to purchase an acrylic bathtub because its non-porous surface is easier to clean.


Maintaining your bathtub is key to extending its lifespan, but you should accurately identify its material and carry out maintenance and cleaning based on its characteristics. Although this article provides a comprehensive guide to distinguish between fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs, accurately distinguishing between them still poses some difficulty. If you feel unsure about this, you can contact Giving Tree Home, and we'll help you identify.