Why Acrylic Liners Herald The Next Generation Of Wood-Fired Hot Tubs
There’s a big wave breaking in the wood-fired hot tub market…
After years as the premium upgrade for wood-fired tubs, fibreglass has been surpassed by a superior liner option.
Now, acrylic hot tub liners are nothing “new”.
In fact, they’ve been offered as a premium liner option in regular, electric hot tubs for nearly 20 years.
Where lower-grade options tend to include rotomoulded liners which are cheaper and thinner, hence more susceptible to damage while in use and accidental chips and scratches, acrylic is extremely durable.
So what’s so special about an acrylic hot tub liner, and why are they worth investing your hard-earned money in?
Why Does Material Matter To A Wood-Fired Hot Tub?
When it comes to wood-fired hot tubs, the most comfortable and convenient features come from the tub’s liner.
Both acrylic and fibreglass have the structural integrity and strength to be moulded in manufacture, allowing them to be ergonomically shaped for comfort.
In contrast, polypropylene liners are formed over the wooden hot tub’s frame and benches, separating the bathing water from the timber frame to ease cleaning. This method of construction negates the fact that HDPE lacks the strength to hold weight by itself – the timber beneath provides the structural support.
The glossy finish on fibreglass and acrylic means they can be cleaned in a “wipe down” manner, similar to the way you’d clean a household bath. This makes maintenance quick and straightforward. Where the wood-fired hot tub is installed at a holiday let or glamping site especially, this is a valuable feature allowing the tub to demand minimal attention from the owner.
Acrylic Benefits At A Glance
- Extremely durable, resistant to scratches, chips and staining
- Resistant to chemical corrosion
- Superior structural strength
- Available in a wide range of colours at manufacture
- Exquisite quality of surface finish
- Resistant to UV degradation
Acrylic vs Fibreglass
Given that acrylic and fibreglass share many desirable traits in a wood-fired hot tub liner, you’d be forgiven for wondering what makes acrylic so superior.
The answer lies in the nature of the material, and the manufacturing process.
While a fibreglass liner is sprayed over a mould and finished, acrylic is vacuum formed from a single sheet of material. This makes the acrylic manufacturing process more labour intensive, but results in a denser, stronger product. Often, the acrylic liner is backed with an additional supporting layer, further improving its strength and ability to retain heat.
The real-world benefit of this is that the acrylic hot tub liner is far less susceptible to failure such as cracking, and yields almost no movement when under load. In real terms, this means with 10 people enjoying themselves and over 1,000 litres of water in the hot tub, there’s no noticeable flex.
The additional strength of acrylic also makes them far safer to move and install, because although they’re heavier, they can much better withstand knocks, and the stress of their own weight.
Acrylic hot tub liners are much more resistant to scratches, thanks to their single-sheet construction (as opposed to the hard shell coating applied to a fibreglass mould). While scratches and chips are uncommon, they are considered to be normal wear and tear in a product regularly used. Having a heavily resistant liner is a huge benefit at commercial sites in particular, where bathers tend to be less careful of the tub.
Clear Benefits of Acrylic Hot Tub Liners
While acrylic edges fibreglass in most areas, there are others in which it stands head and shoulders above.
An acrylic liner boasts excellent resistance to UV degradation. While fiberglass liners tend to dull and fade over time (as is to be expected from the material with exposure to sunlight), acrylic liners maintain a bright, glossy finish.
Acrylic is also extremely resistant to chemicals, another valuable property in a product where the application of chemicals to maintain the water quality makes a large contribution to ease of maintenance.
As a plastic, acrylic sheets can be manufactured and subsequently formed in almost any colour and can even include pearlescent or metallic finishes, opening the door to a broad range of customisation options.
The non-porous surface of an acrylic hot tub liner makes it highly resistant to staining, another desirable feature where water quality and chemical use could otherwise have the potential to leave a permanent impression on the fibreglass hot tub.
When it comes to wood-fired hot tubs, acrylic liners will take the place of fibreglass as the premier choice for durability, longevity and ease of use.
While acrylic liners offer a broader range of colours and customisation options for manufacturers to capitalise on, the biggest benefit will come in the form of peace of mind for customers who understand that a wood-fired hot tub is an investment that’ll stay with them for a decade or more.
Being able to absolve the worry of accidental damage and mishaps will give owners peace of mind when using their tubs, letting them focus their attention on relaxing and enjoying their peaceful retreat.
The same can be said for hosts who are looking for a hassle-free wood-fired hot tub option with which to delight their guests. The extreme durability and resistance to damage means less worry over guests causing accidental damage, while maintaining an asset that can be safely relocated in the future without fear of damage.
As all markets tend to, we have taken a step forward in quality and design with the offering of acrylic liners for wood-fired hot tubs. It won’t be long before other suppliers follow this course and improve the quality of wood-fired hot tubs across the market, which is good for the customer and of course good for manufacturers like us, who must keep innovating to stay at the top.