5 Best Tub Surrounds – Practical Decision for Your Bathroom

We’ve recently reviewed the best tub surrounds on the market and compiled a list of our five favorites for you to choose from.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 16, 2021
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Is it time to upgrade your bathroom? Is the bathroom wall behind the bathtub showing signs of peeling paint, mold, or mildew? Daily exposure to spraying water and steam can leave the wall behind your bathtub in bad shape. Fortunately, you don’t have to rip out the wall if there’s nothing wrong with the current bathtub. A simpler and more cost-effective solution would be to invest in bathtub surrounds.

With so many tub surrounds on the market, it might be time-consuming to find the right one. We’ve done the legwork for you and narrowed the various options down to five of the best tub surrounds available. Some important features include material used, installation process, and warranty. These features will ensure you have the perfect tub surrounds for your needs! It’s also important to read up on tub surround reviews to ensure you get a top-quality product!

5 Best Tub Surrounds Review 2021

1.

DreamLine QWALL-Tub Backwall KitEditor’s Choice

Features
  • Style: backwalls kit
  • Size: 56-60 in. W x 28-32 in. D x 60 in.
  • Material: Acrylic/ABS
  • Warranty: one year

More features: can be glued to the surface, two glass shelves for storage, easy to clean, trim-to-size design

This acrylic surround is a popular choice because panels can easily be glued to the existing surfaces. An attractive tile pattern creates a modern and stylish look with panels that are easy to maintain. Sidewall panels can be trimmed to fit existing walls. Two glass storage shelves are added for easy installation. This product also has a limited warranty of one year and is regarded by many as the best bathtub and surrounds option.

This model is perfect for remodeling an existing bathroom setup because the panels can easily be attached to existing walls or tiles. There’s no need to replace the bathtub since the panels are compatible with most rectangular-shaped bath sizes. That makes remodeling so much more cost-effective.

What are our favorite features?

  • We found the simplicity of installation a real plus point here. While professional installation is recommended, there’s no need to rip out walls or replace the existing tub. The sidewall panels can easily be trimmed to the required size, which means they’ll fit just about any space.

What could be better?

  • The wall paneling on the corner section where the shelves are attached is made of thinner material. This could eventually lead to dents and cracks and will require replacing at some point. It would be great if all the parts could be made of the same sturdy material.
Features
  • Style: solid surface
  • Size: 6
  • Material: not specified
  • Warranty: 10 year

More features: non-porous material

This model is made up of solid surface material. It’s also non-porous with a modern finish where the color and pattern cover the entire surface. The panels are easily glued onto the existing walls or tiles, making it unnecessary to remove the existing wall.

This simple kit is the perfect solution for upgrading an existing bathroom setup. With two end walls, a 2-piece back wall, finish edge trim, bullnose trim, and installation materials, it’s super easy to install! The non-porous material prevents water from penetrating and creating mold and mildew build-up around the surrounds.

Why did it make our list?

  • We really like the available extension panels. Although they’re sold separately, having them available makes it possible to cover as much of your wall space as you require. It’s a great way to remodel your existing bathroom or shower space. The 10-year warranty on offer also impressed us because it’s better than any other warranty offered on products in this category. With this type of warranty, it’s easy to see why it’s regarded as one of the best tub and shower surrounds.

What is not ideal about it?

  • While this product beats its competitors on its warranty, they skimp on the shelves! Other products offer as many as five storage shelves, whereas this product only offers two small shelves. Bathroom spaces always benefit from extra storage space!
Features
  • Style: mosaic
  • Size: covers 10 square feet
  • Material: glass and stone
  • Warranty: not specified

More features: mix of colors, glossy finish, 8 ml thick

This popular brand of mosaic tiles can be used as a kitchen backsplash as well as a tub surround. The box contains 10 square feet of glass tiles mounted on mesh sheets. Each individual sheet is made up of glass and stone pieces and provides a pop of color to any room. With the individual glass and stones that make up this option, this brand is often referred to as the best single-stone tub surrounds option.

These mosaic tile sheets are perfect for remodeling in a kitchen and bathroom area. They’re also available in 8 popular colors, making it easy to find a color that accentuates your current décor.

What are its best features?

  • We really liked the stone and high gloss finish. It adds a clean background to both a kitchen and bathroom setting. The variety of colors available means you’ll easily be able to enhance the aesthetics of the area you’re going to stick them on. With so many color options, it’s also possible to mix and match to create a unique design or pattern.

What could be improved?

  • Mosaic tiles are generally more expensive than acrylic and fiberglass options. Another point that’s often stacked against choosing a mosaic option is the lack of options in terms of style. It’s a simple design that could quickly go out of style.
Features
  • Style: backwalls kit
  • Size: 39.8 x 5 x 59 inches
  • Material: high-grade thermoplastic, fiberglass
  • Warranty: one year

More features: panels can be trimmed, has six self-draining shelves, overlapping edges

Made from high-grade thermoplastic, this bathtub wall surround is the perfect option for upgrading your bathtub area. Panels can easily be trimmed to fit any sized wall area, including alcoves and shower areas. Adhesive easily mounts the panels to an existing wall, drywall, or tiles. Six large self-draining shelves are included for easy storage.

If you’re upgrading your bathroom area, this thermoplastic option is the perfect solution. Panels can be trimmed to accommodate any shape and size wall. Essentially, it’s a five-panel wall system incorporated with a seamless corner panel and overlapping edges. This creates the perfect watertight wall surround.

Why did it make our list?

  • We liked that this thermoplastic material is so easy to clean! It’s as simple as using bicarbonate of soda mixed with some liquid detergent and spraying it on the surround surface. After a wipe down and rinse, the thermoplastic looks good as new. It’s also mildew and mold resistant, which is always a plus point for any bath or shower space.

What is not ideal about it?

  • The material may be very durable, but it's very hard to cut! Be sure to measure your panels before installation, as some users have reported some panels not being the right size. This could present a problem if you've already started sticking when you realize the problem!
Features
  • Style: backwalls kit
  • Size: 29.5 x 6.3 x 60 inches
  • Material: molded fiberglass
  • Warranty: one year

More features: great for remodeling projects, panels can be trimmed, has four large shelves

Made from high-grade, reinforced molded fiberglass, this surround offers maximum strength as well as impact resistance. Panels can easily be trimmed and modified to accommodate DURATRIM window kits. An added plus point is the textured and colorfast semi-gloss finish that easily resists scuffs.

Since this bathtub surround fits all Mustee Topaz Fiberglass bathtubs, it’s perfect for remodeling and existing bathtub areas. A plus point is that it also fits standard-sized tubs. Panels can easily be trimmed to size, and four large shelves provide easy storage for bath and shower supplies.

What makes it stand out?

  • We like the four large, molded-in self-draining shelves. They’re ideal for storing all those many shampoo and lotion bottles that make up any bath setting!

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • The panel adhesive seems weak. Many users have rather opted for a stronger adhesive. This could present a problem if a customer uses a suitable type of glue.

Things to Consider

If you’re buying a tub surround for the first time, you might be wondering where to start. A simple internet search will overwhelm you with the many options available. Fortunately, we’ve simplified the process!
Our informative buyer’s guide will explain exactly what a tub surround is and highlight why it’s a good idea to invest in some panels for your bath or shower space. We’ll also cover the general features you should consider before making your final choice. Some of the features to consider include size, type of material, accessories, and installation methods. We’ll discuss these points in-depth in our feature section.

What Are Tub Surrounds and How Are They Useful?

5 Best Tub Surrounds - Practical Decision for Your Bathroom

A bathtub surround can be defined as the covering of the area surrounding your bathtub space. The tub surround serves two primary purposes. The first is to prevent excess water from damaging the wall behind your bathtub and shower area. Since tub surrounds are non-porous, the water won’t get trapped inside. The second reason is for aesthetic purposes. No one wants a bathroom area with damp walls and peeling paint! Adding a tub surround can give your bathroom a much-needed facelift and, if installed properly, can even give your bathroom a spa-like feeling!

Adding tub surrounds to your bathtub or shower area have the following key benefits:

  • Cost is considerably lower than installing ceramic tiles
  • Offer great protection from mold and mildew Trusted Source Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness | CDC Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. www.cdc.gov often found in bathroom spaces
  • Quick and easy way to upgrade or remodel a bath or shower space
  • Adds aesthetic value to your space and your home
  • They’re easy to maintain and keep clean
  • Quality tub surrounds are durable and, if installed correctly, will last a long time

Important Features

Bathroom renovations can be very costly. Since not all bathrooms are the same, renovations might require a lot of trimming and customizing. That means there are several different factors to consider before installing a tub surround. Considering the features we’ve listed below will ensure you don’t waste time and money buying the wrong product, leaving your bathroom space in a worse state. Read on to see the most common features you should consider.

Style

Depending on the material you’re opting for, you could have a huge variety of styles, colors, and designs to choose from. Ideally, you want an option that accentuates the current décor in your bathroom.

Tub surrounds can add to the bathroom’s aesthetics, so keep that in mind when narrowing down your options.

Some of the styles available include mosaic and glass finishes such as the Bliss Spa Stone and Glass Linear Mosaic Tiles and solid panels such as the Transolid RBE6026-91 Tub Wall Surround. Another popular option is the Mustee 56WHT Durawall Fiberglass Bathtub Wall Surround which is a backwalls kit.

Depending on your particular bathroom, a backwalls kit might be the better option as it’s easy to stick the panels to an existing wall. With this option, the correct adhesive is provided as well as a list of instructions on how to attach the panels to each wall. It’s important to follow the instructions and make provisions for drying and setting times.

Size

The most important feature to consider is the size of tub surround you’ll need. This is especially crucial if you’re installing the surround to an existing bathtub area. Measure the area BEFORE you start shortlisting options. Generally, most surrounds will vary between 30” – 32” wide by about 60” long. But this can vary considerably since bathtubs vary in length and width.

Ideally, you want to choose an option that can be adjusted to your dimensions.
If you select a kit with the exact measurements, there will be no room for error when it comes time to install. An option to amend the panels means you can trim them to size or workaround alcoves and corners. While some tub surrounds such as the Transolid RBE6026-91 Tub Wall Surround are a standard size of 60 x 32 x 60”, other options such as the Bliss Spa Stone and Glass Linear Mosaic Tiles cover an area of 10 square feet.

Material

Everyone knows bath and shower water end up everywhere in a bathroom. A great part of the allure of tub surrounds their ability to prevent mold and mildew from building up under the materials used. This is largely as a result of the materials they’re made from. Tub surrounds should be constructed from non-porous materials. These types of materials will prevent water from seeping under the surround panels and causing structural damage. Some of the more prominent surround materials include the following:

  • Acrylic

The most popular choice for bathtub surrounds is acrylic. Trusted Source The Advantages of Acrylic Plastic | Sciencing Acrylic is a tough plastic with half the weight of glass, and which can be colored or transparent. Applications include windows, aquarium tanks, outdoor signs, and bath enclosures. sciencing.com Not only is acrylic easy to clean, but it also looks aesthetically pleasing. Acrylic is also one of the more cost-effective options.

The majority of options are white, giving your bathroom a crisp spa-like feel.

The acrylic option is also easy to customize to your specific needs, and it’s super easy to install! An example of an acrylic tub surround is the DreamLine QWALL-Tub Backwall Kit.

  • Fiberglass

One of the benefits of fiberglass Trusted Source What’s fiberglass, and how does the delicate material reinforce thousands of products? Among the objects that can be made from glass, jars and windows, made from soda lime glass, and kitchenware, made from borosilicate glass, are the older siblings of the family—the stalwarts. Fiber-optic cables, used to transmit nearly all our communications today, are the attention-grabbing youngest child. And fiberglass? It’s the middle child, of course—equally important yet often lost in the shuffle. cen.acs.org is that it’s free of grout lines which means it’s easier to clean. It’s important to be aware that fiberglass isn’t UV resistant which means it might fade over time. If you’d like to minimize the sound of running water, fiberglass is the best option as it’s also soundproof.

Our review list features the Mustee 56WHT Durawall Fiberglass Bathtub Wall Surround, which is made of high-grade fiberglass, making it one of the more durable options.

  • Natural stone

A tub surround made of stone requires each stone to be arranged into a concrete wall. Natural stone options can be beautiful but are also very costly.

Certain stone types will be prone to staining from soap and continuous water. If you’re going to opt for a stone surround, ensure you apply a special sealant when required to keep the tub surrounds appearance crisp and clean looking.

  • Glass tiles

Available in a host of designs and colors means that glass tiles are often a popular choice to enhance an existing design. The glass tile is reflective because it’s coated with a special metallic coating. This means you can see out but not in. You can therefore have a modern glass look with the benefit of privacy.

Despite being easy to clean, certain types of glass tiles can become stained with continued exposure to hard water.
The Bliss Spa Stone and Glass Linear Mosaic Tiles are a popular choice where stone and glass have been combined.
  • Ceramic tiles

Well-known for their versatility, ceramic tiles are durable and simple to install. They’re available in virtually any color, design, and shape. The only downside to ceramic tiles is the grout between the tiles that will break down over time.

Grime and soap scum can become trapped, so cleaning can be quite a chore. Loose tiles can provide the ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Accessories

Chances are you don’t just want a tub surround. You might want a surround on which you can add accessories such as shelves, grabbing bars, built-in seating, and other safety features. Consider which accessories are included with the surround kits you’re buying. Some kits have space for the accessories on the surrounds, but the actual add-ons need to be purchased separately.

Installation

5 Best Tub Surrounds - Practical Decision for Your Bathroom

It’s important to remember that not all surrounds are installed the same since bathroom spaces differ in size and shape. Some surround kits can be glued to your existing wall. Others require the wall to be opened so that the tub surrounds can be attached to the wall studs.

The type of installation required will determine the costs that you need to include in your budget. Factor in the shelving and trim pieces that might need to be installed as well. The Mustee 557WHT Durawall Bathtub Wall Surround and the Mustee 56WHT Durawall Fiberglass Bathtub Wall Surround are examples of surrounds that can be trimmed to fit the space.

Warranty

A product’s warranty says a lot about the faith the manufacturer has in their product. An item with no warranty leaves a consumer feeling like the product may be inferior.

On average, tub surrounds have a one-year warranty. It’s important to consider the product’s warranty as well as exactly what is covered. The Transolid RBE6026-91 Tub Wall Surround has a warranty of 10 years, which gives the consumer a real confidence boost in the product!

FAQ

Tub surrounds can be installed by professionals, or you can do it yourself. Depending on the type of tub surround you opt for, some might be easier to install than others. The easiest type to install is the kind that you put up with adhesive. Simply follow these simple steps:

  • Prepare the walls: Ensure the walls are dry and clean so that the adhesive makes proper contact.
  • Test fit the panels: If your panels don’t fit, you’ll have to cut them to size. Measure before starting the installation process.
  • Cut holes for plumbing: Cut the holes required for the faucets and other plumbing. Do this by making precise measurements on the front wall and transferring those measurements to the front surround panel.
  • Apply adhesive: Use the supplied adhesive and follow instructions to begin applying the adhesive.
  • Position the panel: Position the panel in place and gently press it against the wall until the panel is stuck to the wall. Let the adhesive dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Finish the installation: Use high-quality silicone to seal the areas around the tub surround panels. Remove any residue and allow to dry.

Tub surrounds can easily be cleaned with non-abrasive soaps such as liquid dishwashing or laundry detergent. It’s as simple as combining three teaspoons of detergent with 1 quart of water in a small spray bottle. You can also use bicarbonate soda or a non-abrasive tub and shower cleaner. Once you’ve sprayed the cleaner all over the surround, simply scrub clean with a soft rag. If possible, open windows in the bathroom to allow steam and excess water to dry out.

From a longevity point of view, tub surrounds are more practical. For starters, they’re easier to install. They are also easier to keep clean. While tiles can also just be wiped down, soap scum can easily build up in the grout. Over time the grout can become weak and might need replacing. If a tile becomes loose, it becomes a potential breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Our Verdict

We trust that our review of the five best quality tub surrounds has provided you with an insight into the different options available. Still not sure which one is your favorite? Let’s recap our top three.

Our Editor’s Choice, the DreamLine QWALL-Tub Backwall Kit, which we rated 9.8, is our favorite because it’s easy to install and can simply be trimmed to fit any existing wall space. It’s the perfect option for a remodel or bathroom upgrade.

The Transolid RBE6026-91 Tub Wall Surround is our Premium Pick, rated at 9.6, and a strong contender because it has extension panels available. This makes it possible to cover a larger area. Its 10-year warranty and easy installation are also a huge plus point!

The Bliss Spa Stone and Glass Linear Mosaic Tiles are our Best Value option. We rated it 9.4, and we like it because it can be used in the bathroom and kitchen. It’s also available in 8 colors and makes remodeling quite a breeze! By using the information supplied in tub surround reviews and our in-depth buyer’s guide, choosing the best tub surrounds will be much easier!

References

1.
Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness | CDC
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
2.
The Advantages of Acrylic Plastic | Sciencing
Acrylic is a tough plastic with half the weight of glass, and which can be colored or transparent. Applications include windows, aquarium tanks, outdoor signs, and bath enclosures.
3.
What’s fiberglass, and how does the delicate material reinforce thousands of products?
Among the objects that can be made from glass, jars and windows, made from soda lime glass, and kitchenware, made from borosilicate glass, are the older siblings of the family—the stalwarts. Fiber-optic cables, used to transmit nearly all our communications today, are the attention-grabbing youngest child. And fiberglass? It’s the middle child, of course—equally important yet often lost in the shuffle.
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