When talking about tub enclosures or surrounds, we are talking about the material that surrounds the tub, usually placed on one or more walls.Tub enclosures can be made of many materials. One of the most popular materials is fiberglass.

Fiberglass tub enclosures, like other materials, have characteristics that recommend them and characteristics that make them slightly imperfect choices.The purpose of a tub enclosure (or surround) is to protect the walls from water damage.The enclosure can also be part of the design and décor of the bathroom.  Choosing fiberglass or a different material will have a big impact on your bathroom remodeling costs – both material costs and cost of labor to install the tub or shower surrounds.

 

The most popular materials for tub enclosures are fiberglass, acrylic and ceramic tile.All of these materials are relatively easy to clean and maintain. All are water resistant and all are available in a variety of colors.

Ceramic tile is the most expensive of the three options, both to purchase the materials and to install.Tile is also heavier, and for this reason might not be the best choice if you need to cover a large area. Keeping the grout between the tiles clean can also be a challenge.

Acrylic is very attractive and lightweight. It is becoming quite popular because it is very durable and can be treated with anti-microbial coatings. It is less expensive than tile, but more expensive than fiberglass.Acrylic is increasingly used in bathroom re-fittings, in which a cover is installed over the existing tub and walls.

Fiberglass is both lightweight and inexpensive.Like acrylic, it is available in a wide variety of colors and can be easily molded in to various shapes. The downside of fiberglass is that it tends to show scratches and wear.Over a long period of time, fiberglass can show enough damage and wear that it will need to be replaced. Ceramic tile and acrylic will last and look good for a much longer period of time.

For the bathroom remodeler, fiberglass tub enclosures can be a good choice.If you are adding a tub to an existing home, you might need to choose a lightweight material that is easy (and therefore less costly) to install. The ability to easily mold fiberglass into any shape makes it a good choice in a room with unusual features, such as multiple windows, window over the tub, dropped beams, slanting/sloping roof line, etc.Ease of installation also makes fiberglass a good choice for the do-it-yourselfer.

If it is important to you to save money when you remodel a bathroom, a fiberglass tub enclosure is probably a good choice.If you are updating or upgrading a bathroom prior to putting a house on the market, you will probably find that fiberglass is a good choice for your tub enclosure because it will look great until it has a lot of use.

The truth about fiberglass tub enclosures is this: they are the most economical choice, even though they will show scratches and wear over time; because they are so easy to mold into necessary shapes, they are easier and faster to install; because they are so light weight, they are ideal if you need to reduce the amount of weight you are adding to an existing structure.