Acrylic vs Vikrell [A Detailed Comparison]

When choosing materials for bathroom fixtures and other household applications, two popular options are acrylic and Vikrell. Both offer advantages over traditional materials like cast iron or ceramic, but they also have some key differences. This article will examine the composition, manufacturing process, pros and cons, and ideal uses for acrylic and Vikrell to help you decide which is better for your next home improvement project.

Here is an in-depth comparison table contrasting acrylic vs Vikrell:

CompositionMethyl methacrylate (MMA) polymerProprietary blend of acrylic, resins, minerals
Manufacturing ProcessCell casting into sheets, thermoformedSheet molding compound (SMC)
GlossinessHigh glossSatin, low sheen
DurabilityProne to scratches, cracks, puncturesExtremely durable and scratch resistant
Stain ResistanceModerate, can stain from chemicalsExcellent, stain proof
Noise InsulationGoodExcellent, sound dampening
Heat RetentionVery goodExcellent, retains bath water temperature
SeamsVisible seams may separate over timeSeamless, no joints
RepairabilityScratches can be buffed out, but seams and cracks difficult to repairVery difficult to repair scratches or cracks
PricingLower, $200 – $800 for tubsHigher, $600 – $1500 for tubs
InstallationLightweight, easier for DIYVery heavy, may need professional install
Lifespan10-15 years typical15-25+ years expected
CleaningNon-abrasive cleaners, avoid harsh chemicalsSoap and water, mild detergents
Best UsesWalls, furniture, windows, decorative piecesTubs, showers, sinks, counter tops
LimitationsNot suitable for heavy use/traffic areasLimited design flexibility, no undermount sinks
Code ComplianceMeets plumbing codesMeets stringent codes for tubs/showers
Building PermitsUsually not requiredOften needs permit due to weight

What is Acrylic?

Acrylic is a type of plastic that is formed from acrylic acid and methacrylic acid. It goes by many different trade names including Plexiglas, Lucite, and Perspex.


Chemically, acrylic is a synthetic polymer comprised of methyl methacrylate (MMA). The structure of MMA creates a material that is lightweight, resistant to breakage, and optically clear.

It can be colored or tinted easily by adding pigments during production. Common colors for acrylic used in bath fixtures include white, bone, biscuit, black, gray, almond, and blue.

Manufacturing Process

Acrylic sheets are produced through a process called cell casting. The liquid acrylic solution is poured between two glass sheets separated by a gasket. As the acrylic cures and hardens, it forms a solid sheet.

For bath and kitchen fixtures, the acrylic sheets are then thermoformed into the desired shapes using heat and pressure. This allows the material to be molded into complex curves and designs. The acrylic maintains its shape after cooling and hardening in the new form.

Pros of Acrylic

  • Lightweight – Acrylic sheets weigh about half as much as glass of the same thickness. This makes acrylic tubs and sinks lighter than ceramic or cast iron.
  • Impact resistance – Acrylic is less prone to chipping, cracking, or breaking compared to more rigid materials.
  • Easy to clean – The nonporous surface does not absorb water and resists staining, soap scum, and minerals. This makes cleaning and maintenance simple.
  • Aesthetics – Acrylic can imitate the glossy look of ceramic. It is available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Curved edges and creative shapes are possible.
  • Insulating – Acrylic has low thermal conductivity, meaning it retains heat well. Bath water stays warmer longer compared to porcelain.
  • Low cost – Acrylic is an affordable alternative to higher-end natural materials like stone or granite.

Cons of Acrylic

  • Susceptible to scratching – The surface can be scratched by abrasive cleaners or sharp objects. These scratches are difficult to remove.
  • Not as durable as other materials – Acrylic lacks the strength and longevity of materials like porcelain or natural stone. It is prone to cracking or chipping from hard impacts.
  • Joints can separate – Seams between acrylic sheets may separate or crack over time, especially when exposed to heat or weight. These are visible and can allow water ingress.
  • Discolors over time – Prolonged sun exposure causes acrylic to yellow slightly. Cigarette smoke residue can also stain the material.
  • Lacks natural beauty – Acrylic lacks the elegance, prestige, and value of high-end natural materials like granite or marble.

So in summary, acrylic provides an affordable, lightweight alternative to more expensive and fragile materials. But the trade-off is a less durable, shorter-lasting product that is prone to scratching and wear over time. It works best when appearance is prioritized over longevity.

What is Vikrell?

Vikrell is a proprietary composite material manufactured exclusively by Kohler Company. It is marketed for bath fixtures and kitchen sinks.


The exact formula for Vikrell is a trade secret. However, it is known to contain a blend of acrylic resins, fillers, and bonding agents. Unlike pure acrylic, Vikrell has a stone-like appearance thanks to the mineral fillers. Common fillers are crushed stone, quartz, silicon sand, aluminum trihydrate, and magnesium.

Manufacturing Process

Kohler produces Vikrell using a process called sheet molding compound (SMC). The liquid resin binders are combined with the fillers and additives. The thick mixture is poured onto a conveyor belt, where it cures into a solid sheet form.

The Vikrell sheets are then placed into temperature and pressure-controlled molds. Similar to acrylic, this thermoforming shapes the Vikrell into the final product design.

Pros of Vikrell

  • Durable and scratch resistant – The mineral fillers make Vikrell more rigid and scuff-proof than pure acrylic. The surface resists scratches and is stain-proof.
  • Easy maintenance – Vikrell won’t rust, chip, or corrode. It cleans easily without abrasives.
  • No visible seams – The molding process creates seamless, one-piece constructions. Joint separation is not an issue.
  • Stylish finish – Vikrell has a glossy, stone-like look. A variety of colors are offered.
  • Quiet – Vikrell muffles noise and echoes compared to metal or ceramic surfaces.
  • Insulating – Like acrylic, Vikrell retains heat and keeps water warm longer.
  • Affordable – Vikrell is competitively priced with acrylic and costs less than natural stone or glass.

Cons of Vikrell

  • Prone to fading – Long-term sun exposure can cause fading and discoloration on the surface.
  • Limited shapes – Due to the molding process, Vikrell has fewer design options than acrylic. Complex curves and angles are not possible.
  • Not as glossy as acrylic – The mineral fillers result in a matte or satin finish rather than high-gloss.
  • Only available from Kohler – There is no competition, so pricing and quality control is limited to one company.
  • Not as eco-friendly – Vikrell cannot be easily recycled. The resins and chemical additives also have some environmental impacts.

In summary, Vikrell offers improved durability, scratch resistance, and seamless construction versus acrylic. But the trade-off is a more limited range of styles and glossiness, as well as environmental concerns. It provides a longer-lasting alternative to acrylic for applications where toughness is needed.

Acrylic vs Vikrell: Key Differences

Now that we’ve examined the composition and manufacturing processes for both materials, let’s directly compare some of the main differences between acrylic and Vikrell:


Acrylic has a shiny, glossy finish that mimics polished stone or glass. It refracts light similarly to ceramic. Vikrell has a flatter, satin look with more visible mineral flecks in the surface. Acrylic touts superior glossiness and light reflection.


Vikrell is the clear winner when it comes to durability. The mineral fillers make it much more rigid and scratch-resistant. Acrylic sheets dent and scuff more easily. Vikrell can withstand harder impacts and daily wear-and-tear over time.


Both materials are easy to clean and resist staining. Acrylic is more prone to build-up of soap scum and hard water deposits. Vikrell maintains its appearance with simple cleaning methods. Neither material will rust, corrode, or rot.


Acrylic is generally the more budget-friendly choice. The raw material and manufacturing costs are lower. Vikrell demands a 10-20% premium but provides added longevity. For a long-term investment, Vikrell may save costs in the future by avoiding replacements.

Environmental Impact

Acrylic is considered the “greener” choice. It is an inert material that does not leach chemicals or VOC’s. Acrylic can also be recycled. Vikrell has higher chemical content and is not recyclable. Overall, acrylic has less impact on the environment.

Acrylic vs Vikrell for Specific Uses

Now let’s examine how acrylic and Vikrell compare for some common household applications:


For bathtubs, Vikrell is the preferred choice due to its scratch resistance, strength, and seamless molding. Acrylic tubs are prone to chipping and cracking over time, especially along seams where flexing occurs. Vikrell withstands years of use, cleaning, and the weight of users.


Vikrell is again better for shower walls and basins. Its durability and stain resistance suits the demands of daily use and exposure to moisture and humidity. Acrylic scratched too easily by bottles, razors, and cleaning tools used in showers.

Kitchen Sinks

Here, Vikrell shines over acrylic. The heavy-duty construction stands up to hot pans, sharp cutlery, and abrasive scrubbing. Acrylic lacks the impact strength for a busy kitchen sink and develops scratches or stains easily. Vikrell maintains its smooth, glossy finish.

Bathroom Sinks

For bathroom vanity tops and sinks, acrylic and Vikrell both perform well. The lighter demands of hand washing and grooming are handled fine by acrylic. But Vikrell will better resist incidental denting, scratches, or staining from cosmetics. It provides added peace of mind.

Laundry Rooms

In laundry rooms, acrylic works well for cabinetry, countertops, and utility sinks. Detergents are unlikely to stain the material. Since scratching is less of a concern here, acrylic provides an affordable option. Vikrell is overkill for minimal laundry uses.


Is acrylic or Vikrell better for the environment?

A: Acrylic is generally considered the more eco-friendly choice. It contains fewer chemicals and is recyclable in some cases. Vikrell contains more resin binders and fillers that cannot be recycled. However, both use renewable raw materials and have lower carbon footprints than metal or stone.

Can you paint acrylic or Vikrell fixtures?

A: Technically yes, but painting is not recommended. The paint likely will not adhere well and will chip or scratch off. For a new color, replace the fixture with an acrylic or Vikrell version in the desired hue.

Do acrylic or Vikrell tubs have to be reinforced for installation?

A: Proper support is essential for both. Vikrell tubs are extremely heavy and always need a load-bearing platform. Acrylic tubs should have underlying support as well, especially if a freestanding model. Consult manufacturer guidelines.

Can you cut or drill into acrylic or Vikrell after installation?

A: We do not advise altering an installed tub, sink, or other fixture. Any penetration or modification creates a potential leak point or structural issue. Instead, customize fixtures before installing whenever needed.

Which material costs more to insure – acrylic or Vikrell?

A: Premiums are unlikely to differ much between acrylic vs Vikrell fixtures. Insurers classify them broadly as plastic or fiberglass fixtures. Vikrell may have slightly lower rates due to durability, but any difference is negligible. Always disclose your actual materials to the insurer.


Summary of Main Points

To summarize, acrylic and Vikrell each offer unique advantages:

  • Acrylic provides an inexpensive, lightweight plastic material that mimics high-gloss stone. It allows creative shaping but is prone to scratches, cracks, and wear over time.
  • Vikrell is a more durable proprietary composite blend from Kohler. The mineral fillers give it a stone-like matte finish and resilience against scratches, chips, dents, and stains.
  • For high-traffic applications like sinks and bathtubs, Vikrell is the better choice for longevity despite the added cost. Acrylic works for some uses but cannot withstand years of heavy use.


When selecting between acrylic vs Vikrell, consider the location in your home and the expected intensity of use. High-use areas like kitchens and bathrooms deserve the investment in resilient Vikrell. For decorative elements or lightweight needs, acrylic provides an affordable option.

Combining the two materials is also an option. Using Vikrell for sinks and tubs while installing acrylic vanities, walls, and accents can give you the best of both materials. Consider your own lifestyle and needs, and choose acrylic or Vikrell accordingly. With proper care, both can provide many years of reliable service.

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