Most acrylic baths come without tap holes, as they need to be drilled to match your choice of taps. We show you how to do this and answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
Not all acrylic baths come with tap holes already in place, which means you will have to find a way to drill them before installing the taps. Acrylic baths are one of the most popular styles seen in many bathrooms and if you need to drill tap holes the process is relatively straightforward. Below we explain how to drill tap holes in an acrylic bath so you can start the installation process of a new tub.
What is an acrylic bath?
Acrylic is a synthetic material with baths made up from vacuum-formed sheets. In many cases they are also reinforced with fibreglass to improve durability. The pliable nature of the material makes it ideal to mould into baths of various shapes and sizes.
Acrylic is the perfect material for baths, as it can be moulded into a variety of designs and sizes
Can you drill holes in an acrylic tub?
Acrylic is one of the easiest materials to drill through, so drilling holes into a new bath is a relatively straightforward task. Here’s how to do it…
- Make sure to measure the width of the bath end and place a centre point in the middle.
- Look at the instructions that come with the taps to find the measurements and mark these with pen on the bath. It’s always a good idea to measure twice (or even three times) to avoid making any mistakes.
- Make a small piercing in each tap marking to prepare for the drilling.
- Attach a small drill bit (1/8-inch pilot drill bit will be fine) to create a pre-drilled pilot hole in the bath.
- Use a hole saw cutter (ensuring it is the right size to match the fixture template) to drill into the acrylic to create the tap holes, holding the hole saw tool tightly as you gently push in until you reach the bottom end of the acrylic. If you do not own a hole saw bit, they can be easily purchased at any DIY store. Clear away any debris that has been created on surrounding surfaces.
For next steps, read our guide to fitting your bath taps.
Drilling tap holes in your own home bathroom may not be a job are comfortable taking on if you do not have much DIY experience. Hiring a plumber may be a better and simpler option. A professional plumber will be able to ensure the tape holes are drilled correctly and the taps installed to a good standard.
What size hole do I drill for a bath?
A professional plumber would recommend that the right size hole to drill for new bath taps is around 28mm. A standard tap thread will usually be 3/4" BSP (British Standard Pipe) which is 25mm in diameter, which is the internal measurement. For monobloc mixer taps (that provide hot and cold from a single source) a 35mm drill hole will usually be enough, although sizes do vary. Always check the measurements of the taps before starting any drilling. Once you drill holes in your bath, you won’t be able to return it for a refund or exchange, unless it is faulty.
How do you drill a hole in a fibreglass tub?
Fibreglass is a bit more sensitive than some other materials so additional care needs to be taken when you want to drill tap holes on the bath edge.
Here’s how to drill a hole in a fibreglass tub…
- Fibreglass can chip during drilling so make sure to wear protective goggles before starting the job to avoid any problems.
- Measure where the 2 tap holes will be installed (it’s a good idea to measure twice just to be sure).
- Put down some masking tape around these markings. The masking tape is there to reduce the amount of chipping that may happen.
- Use a 1/8-inch drill bit to create a pilot hole that doesn’t cut right through the material.
- Replace the drill bit with a holesaw drill cutter which should match the size of the fixture template. Using a hole saw drill bit makes the process a much easier job to complete.
- Drill into the acrylic bath pushing the holesaw forward slightly until you reach the bottom end of the material to create the hole. You can then remove the hole saw bit and the masking tape and clean away any debris that may have fallen onto the surrounding area.
This is a task more suited to someone with good DIY skills. If you do not have much DIY experience then professional plumbers may be able to help with this task, as they will also have the right tools for the job.
Tap holes can be drilled into all manner of acrylic baths, including shower baths
Are acrylic baths good value?
Acrylic baths are one of the most popular options for many homes for several reasons:
Compared to other types of baths, they are usually cheaper to buy which is ideal for people purchasing bathrooms on a tight budget.
Acrylic is a more pliable material than many other types, which means there are a wide variety of bath designs to choose from.
Some people question the durability of acrylic but there is nothing to be concerned about in terms of its strength. Many feature glass fibre reinforcement for added strength. They also won’t flex in the middle as older versions used to and stains and scratches are also not likely to appear on the material too easily.
There are some materials that can get cold when not in use and take a while to heat up, even with warm water inside. That’s not the case with acrylic baths, so you can relax without unexpected surprises in the winter.
One problem you won’t have to worry about with acrylic is working too hard to keep it clean. Using a regular light-cleaning schedule will be enough and if any cracks or chips appear, they are much easier to repair than some other materials.
Acrylic baths, like this corner-fitting design, are easy to clean
What thickness should an acrylic bath be?
An acrylic bath will usually have a thickness of around 5-10mm, which also includes double skinned acrylic baths which can offer even more durability. Whether you choose to buy an acrylic bath or any other type, as a general rule you should ensure it is at least 8mm thick as this will offer a good level of protection.
How long do acrylic baths last?
How long an acrylic bath lasts will depend on your level of usage and how well it is maintained. Some acrylic bath manufacturers offer guarantees that last 5 years, while others can be as long as 20. However, the acrylic bath may last even longer if it doesn’t experience much wear and tear.
How to clean an acrylic bath tub
When it comes to cleaning an acrylic bath, you won’t need to buy a special detergent or cleaner. All you need to use is water and a mild, non-abrasive cleaning agent on a regular basis. Another option is to fill the bath with warm water and some washing up liquid and letting it sit for a while before wiping with a sponge. An all-purpose cleaner is good to use for the side area and legs. If you have more stubborn dirt that needs to be removed, mixing a combination of baking soda and white vinegar and letting it soak in warm water in the bath for 20 minutes should help remove it.
Are acrylic baths better than steel baths?
Acrylic baths tend to be more durable than steel baths and are more resistant to developing scratches and marks. Steel baths have a beautiful finish but can be prone to chipping, while acrylic baths are less likely to develop these sorts of problems. We examine this subject in more depth in our blog post about the differences between acrylic and steel baths.
Discover both steel and acrylic baths from our exclusive Kirke collection
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Whilst we’d always recommend hiring a qualified tradesperson to plumb and deal with any electrics in your bathroom, there are some, smaller tasks you could save money on by doing yourself. Browse our expert bathroom DIY guides, where we show you how achieve all your Little Bathroom Victories, complete with step-by-step instructions and video.
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