ASK THE PLUMBER: Old-fashioned wife vs. modern husband

By Ed Del Grande | McClatchy-Tribune Published:

Q: My husband and I are planning a master bathroom renovation. The issue is with the bathtub.

I want an old-fashioned look, complete with a new vintage-style "cast iron" tub, while my husband is all for a more modern look and wants to install a new "acrylic" bathtub.

What can you suggest that we do, other than building separate bathrooms?

A: Cast iron and acrylic are good material choices for a bathtub. Today's enameled cast iron comes in a variety of color choices and is known for its strength and durability.

Also, since it is made in part with reclaimed and recycled materials it's now considered to be a green-type building product. So, even though it's been around for many decades, cast iron has kept up with current building trends.

Acrylic, on the other hand, is a lighter weight material, but pound for pound is very strong. It has a smooth finish and is easy to clean. Some acrylic bathtubs even have built-in heating elements to keep the bather nice and warm.

Now, what do you do when you have two good choices and you want to agree on one type of bathtub material? I suggest you look into some of the new "solid-surface" bathtubs on the market that can combine features of cast iron and acrylic. Solid-surface bathtubs are heavy and strong, yet smooth, warm and comfortable against the body. With plenty of style choices as well, a solid surface bathtub just may get your marriage out of hot water.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.

MCT Information Services

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