Choosing the right material for your bathtub enclosure should be a priority. The material will affect not only longevity but also installation and functionality. Bathroom surrounds come in a wide variety of materials each with different benefits and downsides. To help you make the right choice, here are some of the most common materials used in making bathtub enclosures and some of the benefits and challenges they offer.
Fiberglass, PVC Plastic and ABS
These are the most common variants in the market. They are affordable and perfect for people who prefer to install the surround kit themselves. They are ideal for apartment buildings and multi-unit house developments where cost is a concern.
They are the most affordable kits and are easy to cut and install even with standard tools. However, they have a porous and rough finish that can be difficult clean. They have limited color choices and sometimes, they don’t form properly around the “leg” of the tub and water can leak easily.
Made from resin and crushed limestone, these man-made composites have a gel-coat finish. In most cases, the material resembles real marble, but not always the case. The range of colors available is diverse, and the material is easy to keep clean.
Unlike Fiberglass and PVC, Cultured marble is not easy to install. It requires two or more people because of its weight and cutting the material is a messy affair. The material chips easily but, it is equally easy to repair.
These are high-quality bathtub enclosures installed by professional remodelers. The material is thicker but lightweight and non-porous. It has a smooth easy to clean finish and, it’s available in a wide range of colors, patterns and finishes.
Acrylic surrounds are tough and adjustable for installation over ceramic finishes. Their finish lasts a lifetime and you can easily buff out any scratches.
Acrylic surrounds are difficult to install yourself. Trimming the edges requires extra care. Using cleaners with caustic can cause permanent damage to the finish.
Solid surface surrounds are complex, durable and appealing. You can choose from a variety of materials like granite, marble, quartz chips and swan stone depending on your preference.
The surrounds in this category are much thicker and attract a higher price tag. The designs, colors and finishes vary, and they can be tailored to your needs. Even though these materials are expensive, they are durable and require special tools for installation. For the best results, you should hire a professional installer for solid surface surrounds.
Choosing the right material for your bathtub enclosure directly affects the experience, longevity and functionality the enclosure offers. It’s recommendable to base your choice on the size of your bathroom, functionality and budget. Want to learn more? Contact American Bath Enterprises, Inc to speak with an expert.