Cast iron bath — pros and cons, comparison with steel and acrylic bath, how to choose?
It would seem that this plumbing product is more than one hundred years old, but it still does not age and continues to hold its position in the market. What is the secret here? For many Soviet people, a cast-iron bath remains synonymous with reliability and durability, and these are the indicators by which newfangled acrylic counterparts lose significantly.
Pros and cons of a cast iron bath
Most are well aware of the advantages of this product, but it is worth reminding the uninitiated:
- The cast iron bath has a large wall thickness and low thermal conductivity. Yes, it will heat up longer than its metal counterpart, but it will also cool down more slowly, keeping warm for a long period of time.
- A cast-iron bath is produced by casting, and this method itself implies increased strength of the finished product. He is not afraid of any mechanical impact, falling heavy objects and even blows.
- Low noise level. If a person draws water into a metal bath, all household members will know about it, and a cast-iron one absorbs sounds well, which does not create inconvenience for others.
- Long service life. The product can serve its owner for decades without losing its qualities.
Among the shortcomings can be identified:
- A lot of weight, which in some cases can turn into dignity. Yes, a cast-iron bath is not easy to transport, and even harder to lift to the upper floors, because its weight can reach 170 kg. However, obese people feel more confident in such a tank due to increased stability.
- Reduced plasticity of the material, which creates obstacles for obtaining products of various shapes and designs.
Which bath is better — cast iron or steel?
This is easy to understand if you compare their characteristics:
- A bathing tank made of cast iron is heavier than steel. The latter material is lighter, more maneuverable and more comfortable.
- Steel allows the production of products of various shapes, so most of the design tanks are made of this material.
- The high thermal conductivity of steel is its main disadvantage. The water in such a bath cools faster than in a cast-iron one.
- The high level of noise produced by falling water in a steel bath remains a significant disadvantage for some and the choice in favor of a cast iron tank.
Which bath is better — acrylic or cast iron?
Recently, the plumbing market has been increasingly conquered by products made from acrylic — a relatively new synthetic material, called in Russian «plexiglass». Such a bath looks beautiful, besides, it can have a wide variety of colors and designs from classic to whimsical. Cast iron or acrylic bath is a question that many buyers care about. On the one hand, reliability and durability, and on the other hand, modern technologies.
The weight of a cast-iron bathtub far exceeds the mass of an acrylic one, so it is better to install it in private houses, and residents of high-rise buildings should opt for a lighter product. As for the rate of water cooling, both products demonstrate low thermal conductivity, and their strength is high. Some complain about the fragility of the acrylic tank, but the metal mesh at the base endows it with increased strength characteristics. It withstands a blow of even greater force than that inflicted on cast iron. However, the latter is easier to care for, but acrylic is more capricious in this regard.
How to choose a cast iron bath?
Experts recommend to be guided by the following criteria:
- Dimensions. They are selected according to the size of the room. In Soviet times, the choice was not so wide, but today on sale you can find products of an extensive size range with a length of 1200 to 1800 mm, a depth of 350 to 500 mm. Much depends on the weight and constitution of family members.
- Installation type. A cast iron freestanding bathtub is one option, and you can also purchase a built-in or island tank.
- form — rectangular, oval and others. Which cast-iron bath is better in this case, everyone decides for himself.
- The shape of the sides — straight-sided and round-sided. The latter are installed in rooms with unlined walls, maintaining a small distance from the wall.
- Enamel quality category. We are talking about the grade — the first, second and third. Downgrading is regulated by state standards.
- The weight. It depends on the size and design. It ranges from 65 to 170 kg.
Dimensions of cast iron bathtubs
In the XX century. they were determined by the area of the sanitary unit. Considering that most people lived in standard apartments, the sizes were standard and amounted to 120, 150 and 170 cm. Such a product had a width of 70-75 cm. Currently, this spread is wider. Dimensions vary from 120 to 180 cm, where each subsequent parameter is 10 cm larger than the previous one. The width is 70-85 cm, and the depth is 35-50 cm. The volume of the cast-iron bath ranges from 140 to 290 liters.
Cast iron bath shapes
As already mentioned, the variety of forms is not the “horse” of cast iron products. Chinese and other manufacturers supplying tanks to Russia try to take into account the wishes of their customers:
- Rectangular cast iron baths are a priority, and with them oval ones.
- On sale you can find unusual tanks. For example, specialized — sedentary, designed to care for the elderly and sick people.
- A cast iron corner bath is not new and such a product can also be found on the market.
Cast iron bath legs
They can be both adjustable and unregulated, which must be considered when choosing. The former are preferred, especially if there are uneven floors and other features that require height and stability adjustments. Decorative legs for a cast-iron bath are widely used, making the product a real masterpiece of art, a source of pride for its owner. Such a monumental tank looks especially advantageous on stands in the form of animal paws or birds.
Rating of cast iron bathtubs
Among the most popular brands are:
- Roca Continental. A product of a Spanish manufacturer, which is an excellent option in terms of price and quality. The main plus is the presence of an anti-slip coating, which will be appreciated by the elderly and those with small children. The weight of the bath is small — 73 kg, and the capacity is 161 liters.
- Novial Archimed. A monumental product, one of the heaviest on the market. The best cast iron bathtubs included it in their list for a reason. Correct and proportional forms allow the tank to fit into any room and accommodate a person of any body weight, because the volume of the product is 285 liters.
- Castalla Prime. This cast iron bathtub made in Italy is of high quality and long service life. With a length of 180 cm, it weighs 150 kg. Six-layer enamel has excellent aesthetic and operational properties. The set includes four adjustable legs.
Installing a cast iron bath
If you wish, you can do this yourself, adhering to the following scheme:
- Those interested in how to install a cast-iron bathtub should first level the walls and floor, that is, make repairs.
- Turn the bath on its side and connect the siphon and other plumbing fixtures to it to drain and draw water.
- Install mixer.
- Install an electrical potential equalizer to prevent electric shock. Isolate the grounding points with adhesive tape or window putty.
- Screw the legs, adhering to the generally accepted norm, which prescribes that the height from the top edge to the floor should be at least 60 cm.
- Turn the product over and use the building level to adjust its stability. Do not forget to make a slight slope towards the drain hole.
- Check the tightness of plumbing elements and joints can be sealed if the bath is close to the wall. If this is an island product, then you need to pay attention to fixing the legs.
How to care for a cast iron bath?
In order for the product to retain its exterior and serve faithfully for many years, it must be properly and timely looked after:
- Do not allow persistent plaque to settle on the walls, removing dirt after each bath.
- It is necessary to promptly eliminate emerging leaks that can cause rust spots on the enamel.
- Care of a cast-iron bath is associated with the use of special detergents that do not contain caustic components, such as acids.
How to clean a cast iron bath?
To do this, you can use products based on chlorine, various alkalis. They cope well with greasy plaque, disinfect the surface, fight fungus and mold. For those who are interested in how to clean a cast-iron bathtub, it is worth answering that in case of severe pollution, soft abrasives can be used. It is good if they have a gel texture, as powders can scratch the surface, especially if you rub the coating with a hard brush. Do not use household chemicals based on acids, which corrode the enamel, thin it and make it dull.
Cast iron bath cleaner
Among the most effective care products for a cast iron bathroom are:
- cif. Having the appearance of a cream, it perfectly copes with various contaminants on plumbing. It contains anionic and non-anionic surfactants, soap, limonene, butylphenylmethylpropional and more. Together, they effectively cope even with a powerful limescale.
- comet. A well-known remedy, but it is better to purchase it not in powder, but in liquid form. The gel does not damage the enamel, but at the same time it removes all impurities well. To increase the effectiveness, it is recommended to apply the product on the surface, wait 10 minutes, and then wipe with a sponge and rinse off the residue with water.
- Mister Muscle. Those who are interested in how to clean a cast-iron bathtub should pay attention to this liquid product, placed in a spray bottle. It should be sprayed on the surface, wait a predetermined time and proceed to remove all accumulations of sewage. The tool penetrates deep into the structure of the stains and destroys them.
How to paint a cast iron bath at home?
If the enamel is damaged, cracked or yellowed from time to time, it can be painted and the original appearance of the product restored. To do this, you will need moisture-resistant paint, a roller and a brush, an electric drill with a grinding nozzle, and unnecessary rags. Here you need to act according to the following plan:
- Using an electric drill, remove the top layer from the surface.
- After that, the old cast-iron bath needs cleaning — removing dust. It needs to be washed and dried.
- Apply the primer with a roller or brush.
- Wait for it to dry and start painting.
- The paint flowing down must be evenly distributed over the surface.
- After 2-5 days, the bath can be used.
Cast iron bath paint
As a coating for a cast iron bath, you can use:
- Epoxy enamel. Its thick consistency lays down on the walls in a thick layer, hiding under itself both minor defects and major damage — chips, cracks. Well-known brands include Reaflex, Termal, Epostat.
- acrylic paint. Such a coating of a cast-iron bath provides an opportunity to obtain an even glossy layer with a beautiful sheen. With proper care, it can last for decades, while maintaining its aesthetic appeal. Quality brands — Dulux, Caparol, Ceresit.
- Aerosol enamel. Supplied in a spray bottle, which makes the job much easier. A rich color palette is one of the undoubted advantages. In addition, you can get a glossy, matte effect and even mother-of-pearl. They are provided by products of the brands Decorix, Empils, Stainless steel.
Cast iron bath restoration
Currently, there are a variety of ways to restore an old bathroom. Someone resorts to staining, and someone hires professionals who, for a moderate fee, ennoble the surface with acrylic. They have all the necessary tools and equipment to carry out such work. Restoring the enamel on a cast iron bath takes several hours, but after complete drying, you can see a completely different, updated tank, as if it was recently purchased in a store.
You can carry out such a restoration with your own hands:
- Purchase a Stakryl solution for sale.
- Using an electric drill with a grinding attachment, remove the top, damaged layer of enamel.
- Thoroughly degrease the surface with an antiseptic.
- Fill with acrylic and leave to dry for 2 days.
- After the set time has elapsed, you can use the bath.
Another method of restoration called «bath to bath». Nothing is done with the old product. A new acrylic liner is mounted inside, completely repeating the shape of the existing tank. This is one of the most budgetary ways to get a new-looking product. However, it must be understood that such restoration is carried out only once. If the acrylic is damaged, then removing the liner and replacing it with a new one will no longer work, you will have to buy a new bathtub.