Installing a tub surround can be a great way to update your bathroom inexpensively, and it also helps protect your walls and floors. There are many different kinds to choose from, and you can often do it yourself. If you are concerned about placing it over an existing tile floor, you should be fine, but there may be a few situations when it’s not a good idea. Keep reading as we discuss the pros and cons of installing a tub surround over the tile to help you make the best choice for your home.

house dividerWhat Is a Tub Surround?

As the name suggests, a tub surround is an enclosure for the bathtub. It covers the walls to protect them from water damage from splashing or showering and helps improve the bathroom’s appearance. A tub surround can be simple or complex, with stairs, shelves, ledges, and more. You will also need to choose a waterproof material for your tub surround, the most popular being fiberglass, but you will also see plastic, ceramic, acrylic, and even stone.

Bathroom interior_Backbone Visuals_Unsplash
Image Credit: Backbone Visuals, Unsplash

When Do I Avoid Gluing a Tub Surround Over Existing Tile?

Age

If the tile in your bathroom is old and dull, it might be better to replace it before adding a tub surround. You will also likely want to replace any old grout. While the tub surround will cover and protect your tiles, it will also make it more difficult to maintain or repair any damage, so starting with a good surface is a good choice.

Tile Type

Since you are gluing the tub surround to the tile, you must ensure that the adhesive will stick. Certain older tile types, like porcelain, use a different kind of glue that may not work with your tub surround. If you have older tiles, we recommend consulting with the manufacturer of the tub surround or adhesive to ensure that they’re compatible before starting your project.

man installing pipe on bathtub
Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

How Much Does Installing a Tub Surround Cost?

Solid Surface Project

A solid surface tub surround will be extremely durable and last many years. However, you will often need to employ contractors to build it, and they can usually cost between $1,000 and $2,000 to complete, depending on the materials that you use.

Plastic Tub Surround Kit

Your plastic tub surround cost will also depend on its size and design. More expensive units can cost up to $500, but if you’re concerned about the budget, you might be able to find one for as low as $60. The most common ones are about $150 to $200, and you can usually install them yourself.

house dividerSummary

You can usually glue a tub surround over existing tile if the tile is in good shape. There are many varieties to choose from, so you will likely find something that suits your bathroom perfectly. If the tile has cracks or deteriorating grout, we recommend repairing it before installing the tub surround because it will be more difficult to work on later. However, if the tile is old and worn out, you will need to replace it before you cover it up. High-cost solid surface tub surrounds will be attractive and durable, but you can DIY one to improve the appearance of your bathroom for a fraction of the cost.


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