Can I Still Have Acrylic?

djdoggoneDecember 21, 2013

I really hate tile because I hate cleaning grout -- severe rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

We are renovating 720 s.f. cottage with tiny bath. Had hoped to install Kohler Freewill 36" acrylic shower but it really takes up much more space than 3' with framing.

I can't seem to find anything of sturdy acrylic (repairable) that fits a 40" space. Hubby says, "Tile it is." Is there anything out there that I'm missing?

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The Sterling Vikrell showers are highly rated. Unfortunately, they 42" across (plus or minus a fraction) or 36" across. The 36" showers are only around 36" deep though. But with the Sterling and the Kohler units, are you sure you can't reframe the walls to where you can get just a few more inches - turn studs sideways, etc?

I think that the easiest to maintain shower pan would be cast iron if you have to go with tile. Unfortunately, I can't find either cast iron or acrylic shower pan to fit your space.

So yes, I guess you will have a tiled shower if you don't want to go with the 36 x 36 acrylic shower unit. Just make wise choices - epoxy grout, larger tile/less grout, silver colored grout. Also just get into the habit of squeegeeing the shower and wiping dry the bottom third of the walls and the wall/floor seam. And good ventilation in the room.

Maybe someone else has some thoughts.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sat, Dec 21, 13 at 15:24

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 3:21PM
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You can have a custom solid surface shower pan and walls made to any size/configuration. It isn't cheap, but it will look great for years with no grout to clean ever.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 7:16PM
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I have a custom cultured marble shower in my guest bath. Walls and base. Breeze to clean, I do squeegee after every shower, and am almost ashamed to admit how many times I have 'actually cleaned' it in four years! Even though it is technically a 'guest bath', we have used it every day while waiting for our Master Bath reno, and when guests are also here it gets very heavy use. Have to say I think it looks as good now as it did the day it was installed. It was expensive, and so we decided to tile the walls of our present Master BR (but with large format tiles), but did splurge for the cultured marble base, as I just cannot imagine cleaning a tile/grout base.

What I don't like about the acrylic showers, though they can be very attractive, is that they take up a fair amount of space. CM walls are only about 1/4" thick, so you will get maximum usable space out of your 36" X 36" , or even 40 X 40!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Thanks all who chimed in. We looked at the Sterling shower kits and the Swanstone but they gave us pause. Reviews on Amazon, Home Depot and Lowe's revealed a lot of concerns with quality control, the nature of repairs, and longevity. We are trying to make sure what we do now won't need fixing or re-doing because we are of an age. Right now Hubby does all the work (with heaps of Ben-gay and ibuprofen) but not for long, and a fixed income doesn't expand to paid help. raehelen, cultured marble feels too formal for us, though it does look very nice. Floors are old, beat up wide board pine and marble might look like it's slumming in our bath. Since we are looking at an entire shower, solid surface is wwwaaaayyyy beyond our budget. Still thinking...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Sterling showers do not have quality control issues. They are the most recommended brand. The main issue is damage. Folks have to inspect several boxes at Home Depot before they find one that is ok. Apparently the packaging doesn't hold up to rough handling. The Vikrell material and the design of the interlocking pieces and water flow down the back is very good. Longevity should be good. If you want to maintain the looks then you have to clean it with the right products and protect it from dog toenails, sand, etc - the same you would have to do with an acrylic bathtub or shower pan.

You could go with an acrylic shower pan and tile the walls and just accept that size as a trade off to a custom mud pan.

I found a 36 wide and 42 deep acrylic shower pan by American Acrylic at You can purchase it from them or from (owned by Lowes).

Here is it listed at ATG Stores for $480 including shipping.

Technology has made tiling shower walls much easier. It would involve framing the opening and installing the shower pan (which you would have had to do with a shower unit anyway), screwing up cement board, taping it like sheetrock, painting on a moisture barrier like Red Guard or Hydroban, tiling and then grouting. If you go this route, there are a lot of previous threads on the subject and several experts to give you very specific advice. And there will be a whole slew of diy'ers and remodeling enthusiasts to give you support.

Don't give up yet. This forum is great for making wonderful bathrooms in very tight and unique spaces. But if you don't want this to turn into a big hassle, then just go for one of the Sterling 36 x 36 shower units - put some bracing in the framing and install grab bars. Install a good shower door - there are a lot of affordable and easy to install ones on the internet. Life is too short!

Here is a link that might be useful: American Acrylic Shower Pan

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Mon, Dec 23, 13 at 0:55

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 8:01PM
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I really appreciate the help. Taking the wall down to the studs we are still short 2 1/2 inches to meet code requirements even with the Sterling product so tile seems to be the only option. Sigh. Thanks for helping me come to this unwanted conclusion.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 1:52PM
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What code requirements?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Ha Ha - look what I found: Delta 39 x 39 acrylic zero threshold linear drain shower pan at Lowes. $414. There are 2 different model numbers - I would call Delta to find out how they differ because I can't tell. Click on the detail page and then the demo icon underneath the image to see the Delta video. The installation document has the specifications - detailed measurements of the pan. If you use an acrylic pan it will save you the cost of a custom mud pan. Merry Xmas!

Here is a link that might be useful: Delta 39 x 39 shower pan at Lowes

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Thu, Dec 26, 13 at 14:44

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 2:34PM
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