An enamel bathtub is actually usually made of cast iron or steel. The heavy metal is then coated in enamel, which is a type of fired glass coating. Some more traditional bathtub models feature this coating over the metal, and the finished product can be quite attractive. Cast iron enamel bathtub models can be exceptionally heavy, however, which means installation may be extremely difficult and the floor beneath the tub may need to be reinforced before the tub can be installed. Steel tubs tend to be lighter, but they are not as durable and may rust if the enamel chips away.
Sometimes the best aesthetic choice for a bathroom is a cast iron enamel bathtub. These tubs usually feature claw feet, which are highly decorative platforms on which the weight of the tub will rest. The tub itself will be exceptionally durable if it is made from cast iron. Steel is also durable, though it can dent or become misshapen after an impact. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to the enamel bathtub is the possibility of chipping; when the enamel chips off, the metal beneath will be exposed to water, which means the metal can begin to rust or corrode. Such chips can be avoided with some care, though after time they are likely to occur.
The enamel bathtub will be fairly easy to clean and will not require much more maintenance than other types of tubs. After time, color fade may occur, but regular cleaning can delay such fading. The enamel can be available in a wide variety of colors as well, which means the tub can fit the aesthetic of many styles and colors of bathrooms. The cost of an enamel bathtub made from cast iron can, unfortunately, be much higher than other types of tubs, and the difficulty of the installation process may necessitate the hiring of a plumber or contractor, further raising the overall price.
Steel and cast iron tubs usually have an aesthetically appealing look to them, but the shape varies very little from model to model. Unlike fiberglass or acrylic tubs, cast iron and steel tubs are rarely molded into different shapes. Fiberglass and acrylic tubs often come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs, and they can be installed in an alcove, which makes containing the unit much easier. Cast iron and enamel tubs often require the use of shower curtain rods that surround the entire tub, which can be cumbersome.