Bathroom ideas: Is a bathtub surround better than tile?

When you get ready to remodel your bathroom, take the time to look at lots of different bathroom ideas....

When you get ready to remodel your bathroom, take the time to look at lots of different bathroom ideas. You'll have to make a lot of decisions about colors, vanities and wall finishes. One of the bigger choices involves the way you finish your bathtub. Do you want a bathtub surround or tile to finish the walls around your tub? Each style of finish has advantages associated with it, so how do you decide which is better for your home?

Advantages of bathtub surrounds

A tub surround is basically a set of three wall panels that attach to your existing wall to surround the bathtub on three sides. Surrounds are normally made from either fiberglass or acrylic and a variety of finishes to match most bathroom decors. The advantages of this type of unit include:

  • Built in shelves and safety bars are available as an option.
  • Lower cost than tile due to higher cost of installing tile.
  • Quick installation in comparison to tile.
  • Easy to maintain compared to tile because there's no grout to scrub or crack.
  • Durable and lasts a long time.

Disadvantages of bathtub surounds

  • The plastic surface feels less luxurious than tile.
  • If water gets trapped between the surround and your wall, mold and mildew can grow there.
  • Design options are limited.

Advantages of tile

Tile wall covering is made up of a series of tiles, usually ceramic, that attach to the wall with grout filling in the gaps between tiles. It's a wall treatment that holds a lot of eye-appeal and lasts a long time as long as it's properly installed. The advantages of installing tile around your bathtub include:

  • Investment value: It's considered an investment because tile generally adds and holds more value in your home than a bathtub surround made from acrylic or fiberglass.
  • Practically unlimited design possibilities: You can mix and match tile colors, designs, patterns and textures based on your personal taste. You have many, many choices in how your bathroom will look in comparison to the choices provided by a tub surround.
  • Durable and long lasting.

Disadvantages of tile

  • Cost: The cost to buy and install tile is higher than the costs associated with a surround.
  • Takes longer to install than a surround.

Ultimately, the design you chose will depend on your needs, tastes and budget. So after considering the advantages of each type of bathroom wall treatment, discuss your bathroom ideas and costs with your professional Atlanta-area remodeler.

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