backstory: I'm in the middle of doing a bath facelift and after tearing down the tile surround I managed to scratch the porcelain coating in my tub that I was planning on keep despite the drop-cloths and plywood; first problem in 25 years of daily use in that tub.

I was going to just get another american standard porcelain steel tub since this one held up perfectly, but decided to search here first and found the many many threads saying don't buy one. I'm wondering did I get lucky or were 1987 american standard steel tubs a lot better then they are now?

Since I wasn't planning on replacing the tub and don't really have the budget for it; I'm shopping low end. Is a lyon's acrylic better then an AS or crane steel? Does anyone have any real info on lyon's? A search only turned up one problem thread but it sounded like an install error caused the issue. I've seen several threads saying buy acrylic if you can't afford cast iron/composite but are all acrylic tubs ok?

I've seen the suggestions of setting it in mud if allowed by the instructions; is there a particular brand/product that I should buy? Or if they're all the same can I have a name of one that would work properly?

Finally the scratches are down to the metal my fingernail gets caught in them if I rub at them. The best course of action here is a new tub right?

Thanks again everyone.