What are Fiberglass Tub Enclosures?

hall bathroom white with tub and small vaniety and window in shower

White bathroom with grey tub surround. Photo by RemodelOrMove.com

by Dan Fritschen

Update: Tub enclosures are a great way to give a neat finish to your bathroom and prevent water damage to the rest of your home. They seal the room and stop water from the tub seeping into the floorboards and drywall, so are essential for the long term care of your bathroom.

There are a number of materials you can choose from, based on your personal taste and how well they fit in with the design of the bathroom, but they must always be hard wearing and waterproof.

First, let us define what tub enclosures are. Tub enclosures are said to be borders that are positioned on one or more of the walls around the tub. These enclosures can be made out of several materials. Among them is fiberglass, which is often considered the best material for tub enclosures.

Other than fiberglass, ceramic tile and acrylic are among the favored materials. These materials are popular because they are fairly uncomplicated to care for. Aside from that, they are all water-resistant and can be found in many different colors.


Among the three popular choices, ceramic tile is the most costly to install. Since tiles are heavy, you might not want to choose this if you are looking to cover a huge space. Apart from that, the grout between tiles takes some maintenance to keep it clean and intact.

Acrylic is less costly than ceramic tiles, but pricier that fiberglass. Acrylic is popular because of its durability, as well as its ability to be coated with anti-microbial coverings.

As for the fiberglass, it is characterized by being both low-priced and lightweight.
Along with acrylic, it is available in a wide array of colors and can be molded into many different forms. The negative aspect of fiberglass is that it does not last as long because it has the tendency to show the effects of tear and wear. Acrylic and ceramic tile can last for many years without becoming unsightly.

When you are thinking about doing a remodel on your bathroom, it may be more effective to use fiberglass.  Not only is it less expensive, but its ability to be shaped into whatever form you want makes it an especially good choice if your home has special or unique designs. Also, fiberglass is easy and simple to install, so it will be an excellent choice for homeowners who are doing the work themselves.

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7 Responses to What are Fiberglass Tub Enclosures?

  1. Robert says:

    What’s the best way to clean a fiberglass tub enclosure?

  2. torontojoe says:

    Simple old-timey baking soda! Gets rid of grime on the bottom of the tub without scratching with rough scrubbing. Clean with baking soda, then rinse, add a little vinegar and maybe finally use a cleaning liquid if you want. Should stay clean for longer too!

  3. torontojoe says:

    Could use some advice on how to clean rust of a bathroom tub though!

  4. Thomas says:

    Different people do get different results – I have an aunt that swears by cheap no name brand toilet cleaner for a rusty tub! Otherwise you can try Wink or The Works, both available at Wal-mart! If you live in an area where water has a high iron content try using anti-rust pellets and water softener to prevent future rust stains.

  5. Robert says:

    Good tips here. FYI switching to a fiberglass tub enclosure was the best thing I ever did, so easy to maintain and clean.

  6. uaacgaoh says:

    Installing fiberglass shower stall is complicated? I want to replace my bathtub with a shower stall. I am going to do it myself. I have not replaced bathtubs or worked on complicated plumbing. Is this something I can do or should I hire a professional?

    • q2s says:

      If you have already done several tile installations, you can easily learn how to use modern isolation membranes and waterproofing systems such as Kerdi and can do a nice tub or shower. Fiberglass units are easy to “DIY” and best collections look like.

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