Types of Tub Surrounds

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A tub surround is what goes around the walls of the tub area to protect it from moisture and mold. Tub surrounds come in a variety of materials such as fiberglass, tile, natural stone, cultured marble and plastic. What you choose will add greatly to the style and personality of your bathroom. Tub surrounds are not easily replaced once they are on the wall so it is important to pick something that fits your own personal taste.

Fiberglass

  • Fiberglass is a composite material composed of glass fibers set into a hard plastic resin. It feels and looks like a very hard thick plastic that is difficult to bend or break. Fiberglass is used more than any other material for tub and shower surrounds. Fiberglass is the most budget friendly option, plus it comes in a variety of styles and colors. Use a non-abrasive cleaning product when cleaning it.

Cultured Marble

  • Cultured marble is a plastic resin that is very hard and is made to look like marble. Cultured marble is very heavy and can break and shatter like glass if dropped or hit with great pressure. Because it is a man-made material, it can be shaped and molded into a variety of different designs. It can also be dyed in any color, making it very easy to match to any bathroom decor. Cultured marble is one of the more expensive options for tub surrounds. Because it is prone to scratches, clean cultured marble with non-abrasive cleaners and soft scrubbing sponges. The darker the color is of the cultured marble, the more easily the scratches will be noticed.

Tile

  • Ceramic and porcelain tiles are a very popular choice among tub surrounds. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, making it easy to find something that suits your needs. And because tiles do come in a variety of colors and sizes it is also easy to get creative with patterns and designs. Grout is used in between the tiles to fill the gaps and this needs to be sealed with a water resistant sealer. Tiling around the tub can be done by a professional or DIYer but many people find it is time consuming and can be a very messy project requiring precise cutting of the tiles.. Tile can vary in price, depending on the type, size and style.Tiles should always be cleaned with non abrasive cleaners and soft sponges.

Natural Stone

  • Marble, granite, travertine and slate are just a few examples of natural stone tub surrounds available. These stones can add a beautiful look to your bathroom. However, they are typically the most expensive options for tub surrounds and they have to be sealed every couple of years to assure that they stay water resistant. They are time consuming to put into place; consider hiring a professional to ensure that they are installed correctly. Because these are natural stones they are very durable and once placed on the wall they are difficult to replace. Marble and granite should only be cleaned with non abrasive cleaners, because they will scratch. Slate and travertine are naturally rougher looking and can withstand more abrasive cleaners without scratching. However, natural stones that have a water resistant finish should be cleaned with nonbrasive cleaners to make the finish to last longer between coats.

Plastic

  • Plastic tub surrounds look just like they sound--like plastic. Most plastic tub surrounds come in large sheets that fit together around the tub area. Many come with built in soap holders and shelves. Plastic is priced at the bottom of the tub surround options, making it the easiest to afford; it's also the easiest to replace. It is attached to the wall using a strong, water-resistant glue. Plastic should always be cleaned with non abrasive cleaners because it will scratch.

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