Should You Get a Liner for Your Bathtub or Shower
Every year, property owners around the country spend a pretty penny on home improvements of all kinds. The most recent statistics indicate that over $400 billion is spent at home improvement stores annually in the United States. A significant chunk of that money goes towards bathroom upgrades. The typical homeowner will spend $9,800 on average to renovate a bathroom. As such, it’s no surprise that homeowners are keen to minimize renovation costs in any way possible.
When it comes to bathroom makeovers, upgrading outdated tubs and showers is often a top priority for property owners. If you have an older home with porcelain fixtures, bringing your bathroom into the 21st century can be a tall order. Rather than springing for new porcelain tubs and tile showers, homeowners often install tub and shower liners instead. These versatile items allow homeowners to achieve the fresh looks they desire without breaking the bank.
What are Bathtub and Shower Liners?
Bathtub and shower liners are simply molded fittings that are installed on top of existing tubs and shower stalls. They’re constructed from a lightweight synthetic material to allow for a custom fit in any space. Liners create a watertight seal around the drain and along the edges to prevent leaks in the same way that tubs and shower tiles would.
The two most popular types of bathtub and shower liners on the market are acrylic and PVC. Both are made from multiple sheets of pliable material that have been glued together. These units are beloved by consumers for their aesthetics, thermal characteristics, and forgiving nature. They can be installed over tubs and showers made from porcelain, steel, and fiberglass. The price differential between acrylic and PVC liners is usually negligible.
The Benefits of Tub and Shower Liners
Many homeowners opt for liners over new porcelain installations due to their many compelling benefits. A few notable liner selling points include:
They’re Incredibly Affordable
Compared to competing renovation options, installing a tub or shower liner is an attractive proposition from a financial standpoint. While a new tub can cost as little as $200, you’ll potentially spend thousands to have it installed. Likewise, a homeowner will pay a minimum of $500 to have an existing tub or shower refinished. In some cases, a liner installation costs as little as a refinishing would.
They Don’t Take Long to Install
One of the best things about tub and shower liners is that they can be installed in less than a day. While it can take weeks for a liner to be manufactured and delivered to a home, the installation itself is fairly straightforward. Even the most experienced contractors will require days if not weeks to install a brand-new tub or shower stall.
They Don’t Require Demolition
Installing a new shower or tub from scratch often requires a fair amount of carpentry and plumbing work to achieve stellar results. Installing a liner, on the other hand, won’t necessitate modification of the existing water supply lines or partition walls. Liners simply fit over the old tub or tiles like a glove. The only real alterations that need to be made to the space in question are cosmetic.
They’re Difficult to Damage
Due to their durable construction, bath and shower liners can take a lot of abuse without developing any visible gouges or cracks. As long as liners are installed correctly by certified professionals, you can expect them to last for decades. The non-reactive nature of PVC and acrylic-capped ABS plastic ensures that soap scum and mildew won’t do a number on the finish over the years.
They Require Little Maintenance
While they may be quite fetching, porcelain tubs and tile showers demand more attention from owners to maintain their looks. Cleaning and repairing grout alone is a never-ending struggle that can become tiresome over the long haul. Liners are comparatively easy to clean thanks to the surface coatings found on PVC and acrylic models. What’s more, liners don’t require any maintenance unless they’ve been cracked.
They’re Environmentally Friendly
Thanks to their efficient use of recyclable material and their simple installation process, liners are a green way to rejuvenate your bathroom. Refinishing or re-glazing old porcelain is a comparatively dirty alternative that requires the use of substances like hydrofluoric acid and polyurethane. Likewise, the installation of a new tub or shower results in a lot of unnecessary construction waste that will end up in a landfill.
Pricing and Installation Considerations
For the most part, a shower or tub liner will cost less than a new installation but more than a refinishing. An entry-level acrylic liner will cost anywhere from $250 to $1,300 including installation by a professional. A high-end model can be as much as $4,000 if you want all the bells and whistles. The final price will depend heavily on your existing tub or shower’s physical dimensions.
The first step in installing a tub or shower liner is having the existing space measured by a representative of a manufacturer or vendor. The liner company will deliver a custom unit that fits your old tub or shower exactly within a few weeks. A technician will then clean the old installation thoroughly and use a combination of silicone adhesive and butyl tape to secure the liner in place. A qualified installer can have your tub or shower up and running in as little as four hours.
Getting a Liner That’ll Stand the Test of Time
Generally speaking, it’s hard to go wrong with a tub or shower liner regardless of the model that you install. There are a slew of quality manufacturers on the market that produce excellent hardware at fair prices. The keys to a satisfactory installation are the people involved in the process on the ground level. If you select a vendor that employs reputable technicians to measure and install your liner, you should enjoy a hassle-free liner ownership experience for many years to come.