Do you love your one piece acrylic/fiberglass tub or shower?

kclvSeptember 15, 2009

I know these tubs are considered to be "cheap". Of course from a design standpoint a beautifully custom tiled bathtub surround or shower is "the" way to go.

However, I think these units get a bad rap. I have moved many times, and have had experience with both types of tubs. I have to say, that as far as care and maintainence go, there is no comparison. No grout or caulking to replace and seal. No chipped paint on the tub. They may not be preferred in a master bath, but for a secondary bath, especially one used by children, they are great.

Am I alone in thinking this way?

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No, you are not alone! We installed a drop-in acrylic shower unit in our master bathroom over 21 years ago, and it's just beginning to show its age. In the upcoming remodel we'll put in another one. And my feet, knees and hips inform me that we'll have vinyl on the floor (our GC has made so much noise about not putting down hardwood that I've given up on that idea). No grout, no scrubbing, no chipping, no worries. Besides, our children and DGS live out-of-state, and I'd much rather spend the money on visiting them and travel in general.

You don't have to justify your preference to anyone!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 6:45PM
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I've had one in my current house for 21 years and it's still in the same condition as it was when we installed it. I also installed one in my new home's guest bath. You can't beat them for durability and ease of cleaning.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 11:48PM
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They might not look as good as upscale, elegant tile designs, but one-piece acrylic or fiberglass tub/shower/wall units look much better than cheap, basic 4" glazed ceramic tiles that are the most common like-priced alternative. And once they've been used for a year or two, the one-piece advantage grows. No grout, no caulk, no mildew, no cracked tiles, no leaks when the grout chips, almost no maintenance. The better-quality one-piece units can be quite attractive in their own right. And let's not forget about ease of installation - no individual tiles to set and align. Go one-piece! (or 2- or 3-piece if you can't fit a one-piece enclosure through your doorways).

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 1:37AM
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I agree with you; they have an undeserved bad rap.

I had one once in a guest bathroom at a beach house. It was a very modern home, designed by an architect, and it looked perfect there. It was tucked away in an alcove, and he used a large clear glass door on it. I loved how easy it was to clean, and I loved that it always looked sparkling clean for my guests.

I recently stayed in a renovated 1930's cabin. The bathroom had one of these, with bead board all around the room to the same height as the top of the shower. They hung a very cute red ticking shower curtain. So, it can look good in an old-fashioned setting as well.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 4:24AM
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I agree, they're an excellent product for the price. You do have to be a little cautious with things like hair dye and abrasive cleaners, but otherwise they're a solid product.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 7:34AM
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I'm all for acrylic. Having an almost 8' long shower, I can definitely say I've developed a hatred of tile and grout. It's hard to keep clean and it doesn't stay looking nice for very long.

Admittedly, tile looks very pretty in pictures and on tv but when you're the one that has to clean it, it loses its' appeal.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 10:24AM
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so happy to find this thread as i've been considering an acrylic shower; though i don't think a one-piece unit will fit up our narrow (old)stairs.

which brands/styles do you all recommend?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 11:06AM
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I have a 4'x3' Kohler Sonata one piece shower in my 2nd bath and love it. We use a squeege on it after showering because we have the steam unit and not much water escapes. I'm amazed at how much you can wipe off the walls and doors. We used it in a new construction addition so we had no doors or walls to worry about when it was installed. No tile and grout for me - been there, done that and never again.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 1:11PM
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We are in the beginning stages of our build and we definitely plan to use one-piece shower units. They will be installed in the kids Jack'n'Jill bath and the upstairs extra bath. For the downstairs guest bedroom, the only reason I'm not using one is because our parents are aging and can't step over the tub. We'll probably install a cultured marble shower floor with tile on the wall. No way I'm going to install tile on the floor of the guest bedroom shower. I don't want the maintenance. I'm already dreading maintaining the ONE tiled shower that will be in the master bath!!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 10:17AM
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I loved my one piece for about the first 12 years of its life.... after that the deposits became impossible to clean off and it just began to look bad. Too much use in the master shower I think combined with the fact that it was a darker color. I was thrilled to remodel last year and went with tile. But hey when we ripped it out, there certainly wasn't water damage behind the walls, so that is saying something!

I still have a white tub surround unit in another bathroom that looks pretty good. That one has had only moderate use.

I guess my take is that I'd do it again for an occasionally used bathroom, but not for the master.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 7:01PM
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The house I clean has all acrylic tubs and showers (house is about 10 years old). They are VERY easy to clean but they STAIN! There are yellow stains that WILL NEVER come off -- you would not have this problem with tile. You have to be extra careful -- if the bottom of your shaving cream can has rust on it you are in trouble. Even bath gels and shampoo drips should not sit on it for long.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 10:27AM
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In our current home, which we had built 10 years ago, our master bath shower has an acrylic shower pan and white marble walls. Very little maintenance. The two downstairs baths have the acrylic shower and shower/tub. DH always bathes in the showertub so it has had a lot of use and looks just like it did 10 years ago.

We hope to build again soon (downsizing) and I plan to have them in both baths. No worries about leaking and I am planning to put glass mosaic tile around the shower edges to dress it up. That's the only visible part, anyway, since I won't put in clear glass but "raindrop" glass shower door. We're on a tight budget and $10,000 for a tiled shower just didn't make sense.

But my biggest concern was getting some yahoo who didn't know diddly about tiling showers doing the work and our discovering later that it wasn't waterproof.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 10:08PM
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I don't love mine- but it could be as old as 30 years+. We've been in this house 13 years, and it was already there and well-used when we moved in. When we gut the BR I guess maybe we'll find out if there was anything else there before. And it's more because it is tiny- inside dimensions of 28X30. Certainly don't find it stains- I used a steamer and Oxy-clean to get PO's dirt off, and try to squeegee it after each use- DH couldn't be bothered- not worth nagging him as we're replacing it soon anyways.

My Mom built a fairly high end luxury home and put two in her two guest baths- She loves them and definitely the ease of cleaning is an important bonus for her as she approaches her 80's. (In fact, she may have one in her Master shower- I've just never been in there!)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 11:23PM
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"tile looks very pretty in pictures and on tv but when you're the one that has to clean it, it loses its' appeal"
yep, I agree!

you can get them as showers only - I have a tub/shower combo now and am looking soooo forward to the new place that has a separate shower - so I won't have to step over the tub edge. I hate that and it's very dangerous for me because i easily lose my balance.

and check out the difference between acrylic and fiberglass. i was reading something about that lately (on here maybe?) and how the quality of acrylic shower bases has gone down. certainly stick with a good brand name.

I'm also going to use a shower curtain - no glass door to clean. curtain can be popped into the washer when needed.

and be decorative!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 6:01PM
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Well, I would have to be the one to disagree here. I have two of them in my house and really dislike them both. As soon as I have the money I'm going to replace them. I find them hard to keep clean, I'd much rather have cast iron.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 9:06PM
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What is the best way to clean them. I am in a home that has them and am curious. I love scrubbing bubbles, but the can says not to use on acrylic. What can I use..soft scrub bleach cleaner? ??

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 9:00PM
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I have a one piece fiberglass tub/shower. I hate it. It seems impossible to keep clean let alone water stains. According to my research, acrylic is great but fiberglass gel is not a good choice. I'm seriously considering pulling this tub out after only three years.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:34PM
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