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Tile vs Plastic & Costs for Accessible Shower Applications

 

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Tile is a friendlier choice for the environment and has been used for thousands of years for good reason!

Thousands of people young and old visit public rec centres on a daily basis.  Tile is used throughout these buildings including the public showers.  Why?  We all know tile can be manufactured to be as slippery as ice when its wet, but it can also be made specifically for safety, totally non-skid and very durable for use in showers and wet conditions.

 

Covering up existing tile with thin glued on gel coat or acrylic sheets offered by one day bathroom renovation wonder companies is not a good plan.  It will only cheapen and devalue your bathroom and may cover up an otherwise very simple repair.  It will also make future removal of the existing tile very difficult and time consuming.  Cutting out tile and existing wall board is very fast when cutting along the grout lines with a Sawzall removing the tile and gypsum in large pieces.  But when the tile is covered up with plastic these grout lines can’t be seen.  Since the saw blade can’t cut through tile, the plastic sheet has to be pulled off first. The strong adhesive used to attach the paneling makes it extremely difficult and time consuming to do this.

Doing a proper job by removing the existing tile and gypsum and replacing it is not complicated nor will it take much longer or cost more to complete. The walls when stripped down to the framing gives the installers the opportunity for inspection, add additional framing for safety grips and folding shower seats. You’ll have the option to install new modern thermostatic, anti-scald pressure balanced faucets and inspect the plumbing. New mold proof shower backer board products are available to replace outdated products….read more. Whether you decide on tile or go with a plastic shower surround don’t allow a company to cut corners.

When we renovate bathrooms and remove  an existing tub and replace it with a walk-in tub or shower the vast majority of the demolitions involve the removal of tiled tub surrounds.  In all our demolitions, regardless of the age of the building, from brand new high end condos to all ages of homes.  Even after decades of use the tile is in good condition and in many cases except for the style being dated it looks like new.

We can’t say the same for many of the plastic showers we’ve removed, even though they haven’t been in use for near as long.  The majority of accessible plastic showers sold are constructed of gel coat fiberglass. After several years of regular use the gel coat can dull, begin to show signs of wear and because of the porous nature of gel coat, stains will start to show that are very difficult, or can’t be removed.  Unless you’ve been a fiberglass boat owner most people are unaware and are not properly informed by retailers on the maintenance schedule or specialty waxes and cleaning products required to maintain a gel coat finish found on accessible showers or safety tubs…read more.

Below is a three year old gel coat fiberglass walk in tub with green stains forming even after repeated attempts to remove them with recommended non abrasive bathroom cleaning products.

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The advantages and beauty of tile for accessible shower applications:

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A really attractive professionally installed built in tiled shower offers far more value, it’s stronger, has safer footing and it will last many times longer, all the while retaining its beauty. It’s so much easier to clean than plastic because it’s not sensitive to cleaning products or prone to chemical reactions.. It is for these reasons, and more, why tiled showers are always used for commercial high use applications, never plastic!

There is more plastic showers sold by companies installing accessible showers because quite simply there far more profitable.  A plastic shower takes far less time and skill level to install and requires less material costs and site preparation.  This is their main selling feature, but you won’t likely see it reflected in the installed price with them costing thousands of dollars more than there really worth. Depending on the company, price can range from $7,500.00 -$8,000.00 by one day glue on wonder companies up to over $12,000.00 – $13,000.00 or more for a complete tear out and an additional day’s labor.

The time and cost to construct a well-built, beautiful custom tiled shower will vary. Often people will use this time to change the flooring, replace the vanity, mirrors, lighting, and install a new comfort toilet completing the transformation. This work can take up to five days to complete, and the investment could be somewhere between the above two figures. Built-in tiled accessible showers are unquestionably better value, however there not sold through large corporations or distributors and commission sales people, there built by local skilled trade persons who enjoy the work and take pride in creating them.  Read more on our tiled showers.

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This article was written by: Scott

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