Guide to Bathroom Wall Surrounds

Your bathroom’s wall surround plays an important role not only in the aesthetic of your space, but also its functionality. Traditionally, bathroom tub and showers were surrounded with tile to keep water from ruining the walls. Today, there are many more choices to consider that can turn a boring bathroom into a luxurious space. Those choices have raised questions among homeowners. We have answers!

wall surrounds

What should I look for in a tub or shower surround?

The most important consideration is that you choose a material that is 100% waterproof. Budget, durability and maintenance are also important traits. Modern wall surrounds offer options that are not only durable but easy to clean.

Anything I should steer clear of in a wall surround?

Homeowners have more options than ever before when it comes to choosing a wall surround, from tile to acrylic and natural stone. One thing you may want to avoid is the use of grout. Grout stains easily, is difficult to clean and is inflexible, so as your house settles, the grout cracks, allowing water to seep through, ruining the drywall underneath and creating mold and mildew behind the walls where you can’t see it. Visible or not, it can affect your health, and the health of your home. It’s also high maintenance. Because grout is prone to mold and mildew, it’s important to dry it after every use. If that doesn’t sound like something you’d be inclined to do, look for another option.

I’ve read conflicting information about grout-less wall surrounds. How do I know which to choose?

In the last few years, many new types of grout-less wall surrounds have hit the market. The good news is that they don’t require the use of grout, so you won’t have to worry about some of the issues like cracking, water leaks and heavy maintenance. That said, not all wall surrounds are created equal. These products are available in fiberglass, plastic, acrylic and natural stone, and each comes with its own set of pros and cons.

What’s the difference between fiberglass and acrylic wall surrounds?

Fiberglass wall surrounds are inexpensive and can be simple for homeowners to install. Keep in mind, though, that this material is thin and the finish may be rough, making it more difficult to clean. And because they only come in standard sizes, this type of surround may not be deep enough to reach beyond the edge of your tub, causing water to leak past, ruining the drywall. Fiberglass is more prone to scratching and fading, too. So, while it’s easier on your budget, it may not last as long as you’d like.

Acrylic wall surrounds are waterproof, easy to maintain and more durable than fiberglass. Even if it does scratch, the color is consistent throughout, so scratches and blemishes can easily be buffed out. Acrylic wall surrounds come in a wide variety of prices, thicknesses and durability, so it’s important to do your homework.

Rebath’s DuraBath™ acrylic wall surrounds are made from a non-porous material that is 100% waterproof and resists mold and mildew. They are custom-manufactured to fit your unique bathroom space. Standard colors can be customized by adding a pattern or texture like subway tile, slate or a smooth appearance. These wall surrounds are available in 14 color options that represent marble, travertine, granite, limestone and other natural materials, ensuring that your bathroom not only is 100% percent waterproof, but has a stunning appearance, as well.

I love the look of natural stone. Can I get a wall surround that is made from marble or granite rather than just looking like it is?

Solid surface wall surrounds are made from Swanstone, marble, granite or quartz chips. These are more expensive than acrylic but also, thicker, more durable and come in a wider variety of colors and patterns, including real stone for an authentic look.

Re-Bath’s DuraBath™ Natural Stone wall system is a solid, waterproof panel quarried from mountains across the globe. Engineered with an alloy backing, our Natural Stone is 800% stronger than traditional stone, providing durability and protection against mold and mildew. Its thin, lightweight quality allows for easy fabrication, installation and customization. Once sealed, DuraBath™ Natural Stone finishes are simple to clean, for a luxurious, low-maintenance bathroom. Our natural stone is harvested from 3,000-year-old rock quarries across the globe. These are cut and reinforced at the same time to create large panels for a seamless look.

What about installation?

Traditional tile wall surrounds can take weeks to install, and they require a professional. Because installing tile is so labor intensive, the cost is much higher. Wall surround systems, on the other hand, can be installed much more quickly. Rebath’s patented wall systems, for example, allow us to remodel an entire bathroom in days, not weeks, so that you can get back to normal faster.

The trend in modern bathrooms is minimalism and functionality. So, regardless of which option you choose, be sure to select a wall surround that’s easy to maintain and backed by industry-leading warranties. Looking for an easy way to update the look of your bathroom? Schedule a free, no-obligation design consultation.