The ceramic bathtub is often used as an accent piece in old-fashioned bathrooms. It can either be made of smooth, glossy ceramic inside and out, or covered with ceramic tile on its outer surface. This bathtub has the advantages of an attractive appearance, ease of decoration, retaining a fresh look if maintained, and comfort in use. Its disadvantages lie in its lower availability and higher pricing, the difficulty of installation, the potential for chipping over time, and the difficulty of cleaning ceramic tile bathtubs.
Primary among the ceramic tub's attractions is its appearance. Ceramic tubs come in a large variety of styles, with many shaped especially for particular corners in the bathroom. They come in a considerable selection of colors, as well, and can often be made to order. The homeowner will usually find it easy to select a style that best fits his or her bathroom decoration.
The homeowner also has the option of painting designs on a ceramic bathtub, a do-it-yourself trend growing in popularity. Such painting is best done on ceramic tile bathtubs, using oil-based paints. The painted area is generally covered with a protective coated afterward to help preserve it.
The ceramic bathtub, while slow to absorb heat, is also relatively slow to relinquish it. Additionally, these tubs do not grow as cold as their metal counterparts, even when filled with unheated water. This allows the homeowner to remain longer in the tub after the water has cooled, without fear of discomfort from resting on a cold surface.
Ceramic bathtubs, especially those covered with ceramic tile, can retain a fresh and attractive look when maintained. There is no sign of aging if the ceramic is clean and unbroken, which can only enhance the appearance of the bathroom. Cleaning a bathtub made of unbroken ceramic is very easy; the smooth surface is similar to glass, which leaves no cracks or corners where dirt might get embedded.
The disadvantages of the ceramic bathtub must also be taken into account. The ceramic bathtub is less readily found in stores, and also tends to be more expensive than a steel bathtub. Once obtained, installing the ceramic bathtub may not prove the easiest of tasks. This is due not to its weight, but rather to the care that must be taken when installing it. Handling a ceramic bathtub roughly may result in chips or cracks even before installation has finished.
Ceramic bathtubs also tend to chip or crack over time. These can be repaired with the proper tools, but the repaired portions can be noticeable unless extreme care is taken in the selection of materials and in patching up the damaged area. Repairing is still a cheaper alternative to replacing the tub, however.
Cleaning ceramic tile bathtubs can be a challenging task. This is due to the dirt that can get embedded in the grout between the tiles. If the tiles are left damp from water or steam, mold can grow in the grout, giving the bathtub a dingy look. The homeowner can take a soft cloth and wipe down the tiles after taking a bath in order to keep the ceramic tile bathtub looking presentable.
The ceramic bathtub is not a common choice for most homeowners, due to its lesser availability and the care and maintenance required. It can reward the attentive homeowner with beauty and the appearance of freshness for many years if cared for properly, however.