Bathroom Remodeling: Tile Shower Walls vs. Acrylic Shower Walls

Comment by The AQK Team on October 2, 2016

Bathroom Remodeling: Tile Shower Walls vs. Acrylic Shower Walls

If you’re remodeling or updating your bathroom, you know you have to consider what type of surround wall you install around your shower or tub. It might not the most exciting part of redecorating, but it has to be done.

Surround walls are important because they protect bathroom walls from water damage (and add a beautiful touch to the décor, if done right).

Deciding on your surround wall means debating between tile shower walls and acrylic shower walls. We broke down the pros and cons of each to make it easy for you to make your choice.

Acrylic Shower Walls

Acrylic shower walls are basically big sheets of acrylic (a hard plastic) that are glued to the walls around your shower with a super heavy-duty adhesive.

They’re a cost-effective option, but let’s face it, they aren’t as beautiful or exciting as tile. If tile is the gorgeous crème brulee on the desert menu of bathroom decoration, then acrylic shower walls are the bread pudding. Still good, just not so cute.

Acrylic Pros

  • Installation-wise, acrylic is a fast and easy option for shower and tub surround walls.
  • Installing them in your home is quicker and simpler than tile, so professionals often charge less.
  • The product itself is also less expensive than tile, so the project cost altogether (for materials and installation) is lower.
  • And long-term, maintenance is a breeze—all you need to do is wipe down the acrylic wall once a week or so.

Acrylic Cons

  • Acrylic is a cheaper material, and that means it’s not so tough.
  • And once part of your acrylic wall is damages, you usually can’t repair the damaged piece—instead you have to replace the whole wall. Yikes. That can get expensive, fast.
  • And if you want a unique design or a statement piece, you don’t have many options with acrylic. The colors are limited to basics like grey, blue, white, and grey.

Tile Shower Walls

Tile in the bathroom has been popular forever!

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Tiled walls surrounding your shower are a beautiful, classic way to reduce and avoid water damage. Yes, they can be more costly, but the design appeal and durability is usually worth it.

Advantages of Tile Shower Walls

  • Tiles are a beautiful, durable option for shower walls.
  • Tile surround walls are so easy to customize. There’s a huge range of options, so you can probably find any color or design that you want.

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  • And if you’re creative or have a handy installer, you can place them in a design like chevron or stripes to make a statement.
  • Tile is definitely more difficult and therefore expensive to install than acrylic, but it can be made to fit more spaces, so if you have an unusually shaped bathroom, tile will be easier than acrylic.
  • And unlike acrylic, if one tile is damaged, you can easily replace the one, rather than replace the whole wall. Just make sure to get a few extra tiles when you install it.

Disadvantages of Tile Shower Walls

  • Along with a higher cost, tiles are also more work to maintain. You can wipe them clean, but mildew or mold can grow in the grout if you don’t clean it consistently.
  • And you definitely need to make sure the grout is sealed well, otherwise mold will grow. The shower is a naturally humid, damp place, and you’re going to have to make sure you don’t ruin your towel (and your bathroom!) with gross mold.

Whether you choose acrylic or tile shower walls depends on your personal taste, budget, and your bathroom’s needs. But we wanted to lay out the basic pros and cons of choosing between tile or acrylic for your shower surround walls so that you can make an educated decision, and love your bathroom for years to come.

If you have any questions or are interested in a consultation about installing a tile shower wall, contact us today for a free consultation at 508-823-3630 or email us at john@aqkandb.com!

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