Best Long Term, Waterproof, Carefree, Bathtub and Surround Option

by D. Fahey
(Jacksonville Fl)



Could you advise me as to what would be the best long term, waterproof, carefree, bathtub and surround option?

I have to redo my bath tub area (water damage).
I am going to replace the avocado green bathtub and the wall tile with a tub and surround combo.

Also, I'll be getting into the plumbing where the leak began.
I only want to do this once and in the future,
this house will be a rental.

Your advise would be greatly appreciated.

Answer by Joe Trometer

...Welcome D.Fahey...

How much money are you willing to spend on your bathtub and surround installation?


Labor, Time, and Tools: Do it yourself bathroom installations will narrow our choices by our skill level and the tools we have access to...
...Like a wet-saw for ceramic tile installations.

I like Ceramic Tile Tub Surrounds

Since I own a wet saw,
enjoy the labor of ceramic tile installations
I don't mind the extra time to set and grout the tile.

Tile is the most Carefree wall surface I've owned;
it's easier to clean, doesn't stain, more durable,


For the extra effort of a Tile installation, the eye appeal, and value is enhanced.
By the way, I like to tile all the way up to the ceiling.

Maintenance Free

I want to reduce the amount of caulk lines in the bathroom!

Replacing caulking in the bathtub because of mold, peel back at the edges of the caulk lines, cleaning chemicals, cause Failure!

Ceramic has the least caulk lines.
Plastic tub kits usually require caulk around the perimeter of the entire kit.

Best Plastic Surround I've Used:

Off the shelf in the home building warehouse stores,
I bought the mid-grade Sterling bathtub and surround kit, about $500.00-US.

The tub surround walls come in three section that snap together.
The thickness of the walls are about one-quarter inch thick.
The walls are ridged and solid...Heavy Duty!

The higher quality bathtub enclosures do not require caulking with the exception of;
two 1-1/2" hidden caulk lines at the end of the water drain track built into the wall system,
where the wall meets the tub.

I avoid the cheap flimsy tub-surround kits. About a 1/16" thick, very thin and flexible... They Crack!
Many of the cheap bathtub kits I've replaced are stained, become brittle and have many cracks.

Bath Tub

There will be an equal in quality bathtub to match the wall surround you choose.
That makes the bathtub choice easier.

My observation has been:
The cheaper bathtubs seem to absorb stains, scratch easier, and discolor.

Cast Iron Porcelain bathtubs, besides being extremely heavy to install.

Porcelain chips and stain at the drain area.
These are the tubs I replace the most!

Even on an $800.00-US whirlpool type bathtub;
all the jets and control panel plastic fittings discolored.
I didn't like that at all!

When I'm installing a new bathroom for a rental unit,
I think, "Strong and Durable"! Thicker is better on the Plastic bathtub.

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by: Anonymous

Sterling Kohler unit has a gap that will allow water to leak onto your sub floor.

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