Cracked bathtubs happen and more often than homeowners might think they do.
Popular fiberglass bathtubs, while being very economical and lightweight, do sometimes require bathtub repair solutions as they are more likely to be damaged than metal or ceramic baths.
Whether noticing a fine hairline crack or more significant fractures, bathtub replacement should be arranged as soon as possible before additional damage is done.
The key to preventing bathtub cracks is knowing what causes them.
1. Lack of Structural Support
Fiberglass bathtubs are not installed directly onto the bathroom floor but are instead set into a wooden surround that provides structural support to the molded piece while allowing space for plumbing to pass under the tub.
Broken bathtubs are common in circumstances where the tub insert is not properly supported on the bottom.
Because the relatively thin fiberglass is flexible, it can succumb to stress cracks after some time from supporting a person’s weight.
Bathtub repairs are not typically possible, since these cracks usually happen on the bottom of the insert.
Bathtub replacement is the required solution to prevent cracks from reappearing or leaking and causing water damage under the tub.
2. Stress Cracks From Impacts
Another common cause of bathtub cracks in fiberglass tubs is stress due to impacts from heavy items hitting the tub.
Though these bathtubs are designed to withstand a certain degree of impact, as they age and become more brittle, they can suffer hairline cracks after something as simple as a dropped shampoo bottle hits in just the right way.
These cracks may not seem significant, but they can lead to leaking and extensive water damage under the tub insert.
Bathtub solutions are required as soon as small cracks are noticed to prevent water damage that can affect the whole bathroom floor as well as any room below the bathroom.
3. Destruction of the Protective Enamel Coating
One final and lesser-known cause of cracks in a fiberglass bathtub is the destruction of the glossy, smooth enamel finish on the fiberglass that is intended to protect it and keep the tub waterproof.
Frequent cleaning over the years with harsh or abrasive agents can damage or remove the enamel coating, exposing the more porous layers beneath.
Eventually, bathtub replacement is required as the water-damaged fiberglass will develop stress cracks as its integrity is reduced and it can no longer support a person’s weight.
Bathtub Replacement Needed When Dealing With Cracks
Fiberglass is a strong, durable material that works well for bathtubs under proper use and installation conditions.
Unfortunately, when cracked, broken bathtubs result from poor installations, heavy items being dropped, or wearing down of the protective finish, it is not possible to repair them.
Bathtub replacement is usually necessary, as there are no reliable ways to repair cracks in this material.
An experienced plumbing contractor can diagnose the cause of the cracks, then recommend an appropriate bathtub solution to ensure a new tub has the structural support and correct care that it needs!