Eduards Vilnis
Can Solid Surface Bathtubs and Washbasins Crack?

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Can Solid Surface Bathtubs and Washbasins Crack?

February 26, 2020
Eduards Vilnis

Although solid surface bathtubs and sinks are very durable, they are still prone to damage and cracking. Depending on the cause, cracks usually appear around the drain area, on the edges and rim area. Seldom on the bath and basin bottom. A cracked solid surface bathtub can be a great eyesore and it could ruin the entire look of your bathroom. So let's analyze the various crack types and their respective causes.

Leading crack causes in solid surface bathtubs  and basins.

How to Recognize The Various Crack Types:

Drain Overtightening

Drain overtightening during the installation process is the #1 reason for cracks around the drain area and is a common installation error. Overtightening cracks have a very typical appearance, as shown in the images below.

Bathtubs with a crack at the drain hole due to overtightened drain fittings
Bathtubs with a crack at the drain hole due to overtightened drain fittings

Remedy: Use your supplier's repair kit to patch the damage. Most of the drain overtightening cracks can be repaired successfully by a specialist repair person.

Job Site Accidents and Concealed Freight Damage

It is probably the second most common cause of cracks and mostly affects bathtubs. Below are a few illustrative images. Cracks on rims, edges, and corners are the result of physical impact on the product during unsuccessful attempts to move or relocate the tub.

Bathtub with a crack on the rim due to side impact (left) and job side accident caused damage (right)
Bathtub with a crack on the rim due to side impact (left) and job side accident caused damage (right)

Remedy: Depending on the extent of the damage, it will most likely require a specialist to repair the damage. Severely damaged rims and/or walls will have to result in a bathtub replacement.

Thermal Shock-Related Cracks

What is thermal shock, and why it happens?

Thermal shock is mechanical stress caused by an accelerated change of temperature of a certain point in the material. Thermal shock inflicted crack is the result of a rapid material cooling or heating. When a solid surface bathtub or sink is heated or cooled at the surface, the surface, therefore, will expand or contract but will be restrained by the center, which cannot deform plastically, and this will cause flaws to propagate as fast hairline fracture lines.

Solid surface bathtubs and basins, just like natural stone, glass, and ceramic articles, can crack due to thermal shock when exposed to environmental factors, such as a combination of extreme heat and extreme cold. The sudden drastic temperature change from pouring scalding water into a cold sink or bathtub could easily cause a crack and is the most common cause for problems. The most common bathtub and washbasin area where the thermal shock cracks form is the area directly under the bath filler or faucet spout.

Thermal shock caused crack lines near the drain and under the bath filler spout
Thermal shock caused crack lines near the drain and under the bath filler spout

Remedy: These sorts of cracks will have to be fixed by a specialist repair person who has experience working with solid surface models.

Are all bathtubs and basins equally susceptible to thermal shock risks?

No. There are a number of causes that make certain solid surface basins and washbasins more susceptible to thermal shock risks:

  • Bathtubs and washbasins supplied without any post-curing – a common corner-cutting strategy typical to various Asian, Eastern-European and Italian OEM manufacturers to reduce their costs. Supplying bathtubs without any post-curing is like inviting problems but the temptation of saving 8 hours necessary for curing at a high-temperature curing oven along with additional electricity expenses is just too tempting for these companies.
  • Poor structural design of products. Products that are too thick or parts that are too thick or have rapid changes in material thickness within a small area are more prone to thermal shock.

Repairing cracks in solid surface

A cracked bathtub made of solid-surface material such as AquateX™ can be repaired to look virtually as good as new by cutting a matching scrap piece into narrow strips and gluing them into a smooth channel that fills the crack. Essentially, the repair process is very similar to dentistry work with fillings.

Hand Polishing (web)

AquateX™ is a very resilient material that allows for small scratches and chips to be sanded out of your bathtub or washbasin. Cracks, however, is a very different problem, one that we recommend leaving to a certified repair specialist.

We hope you have found this article helpful to make your bathroom your own little haven
Send us an email if you have more questions