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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Smile Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    We have hit a big question in the beginnings of our impending bathroom remodel and I was hoping to get some advice, since we still have a month before we move in.

    Anyone have experience with bathtub/shower inserts? I have been doing some general research and some say that they are more costly then having the bath surround tiled. Anyone out there agree/disagree with that? I would favor having the current OLD old old bath insert ripped out and tiling put up... but unsure how much that would roughly cost!

    Advice??

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,486

    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    Tile should be the more expensive way to go because it is more labor intensive.

    My preference is a enameled steel or cast iron tub with a tile surround and shower enclosure (doors ). What this will cost is dependent upon local labor market and material prices.

    An insert can go several ways:
    1 - Tear out the old and install a new preformed tub/wall unit. This will be the more expensive option, because of the demolition and installation. You'll get a good life out of a system like this
    2 - An actual insert that overlays what you have. This isn't a cheap way to go by any means, but it is less expensive than a total gut and replacement. The problem with this is that it doesn't fix any damage that already exists, it covers it up. Overlays only last about 5 years before you're tearing them out and replacing the whole thing properly.

    Another alternative would be to have the existing tub/shower pan resurfaced and then retile the walls, though if you're going to go to the effort of replacing the walls, you may as well do the whole works.

    No matter what you do you'll want to replace the shower valve while the wall is open.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
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    2,371

    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    Tile done properly will be more than an insert.

    If you do get an insert, get one that has no caulking and comes in 2 pieces; the tub and the surround.

    Research the care of your insert, not all are equal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    There is a problem in removing a tub insert out of the bathroom thru the door, as a unit. You will have to smash it to smaller pieces.

    Once you get it out, I'd put an enameled steel bath tub (less than $100) and nice tiles around it. You can still stay within your budget, at about the same price as most inserts.

    I've done many of these bathrooms, they look exquisite finished on a shoe string budget.

    Do yourself a favor, when you buy tiles, get 20% more tiles than you actually need. You'll thank us later for this tip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
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    1,381

    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    If tile was cheaper, you would see it used more on the low end of the housing market. But since inserts dominate this end of the market, I would guess they are cheaper. Since you have time on your side, I would recommend tile.

    As for the tub, cast iron would be my first choice but the Americast tub would be a good alternative. This is a resin (fiberglass) over steel tub. The resin is about as thick as the cast iron and with the steel base, much less likely to crack. A steel tub would be a distant third with a resin (fiberglass) last.

    The nice thing about an insert for DYI is the time factor. You can do one in a day. If you tile, and its your only bath, you can get pretty ripe before it is ready to use.

    If you shower, luxury shower insert might be the best way to go. Many people are forgoing the bath tub in their house. This used to lower the value of a house, but a master bath with a luxury shower in a house with a tub/shower in the main bath for the small kids could actually add value.

    One last thing, I have seen the countertop material like Corian used as walls in a shower and as a tub surround. Looks like a granite or marble surround at a fraction of he cost of real stone, but this could end up costing a lot more than tile.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,486

    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    Quote Originally Posted by keith3267 View Post
    One last thing, I have seen the countertop material like Corian used as walls in a shower and as a tub surround. Looks like a granite or marble surround at a fraction of he cost of real stone, but this could end up costing a lot more than tile.
    Cultured surrounds like this are my preference to all other surfaces because of their beauty and that they are a solid surface, unlike tile with all the grout lines that can fail/collect dirt and mold. Cultured surrounds are indeed more expensive than tile.

    Like Corian, cultured surfaces come in a variety of patterns, from granite to marble and they come in various types, some have a resin back with the color/pattern as a surface layer, which is the least expensive. Next is a full thickness, solid color/pattern. And finally an Opal finish which is somewhat opaque/see through. Each of these have a distinctly different look, so I would highly recommend finding a local manufacturer or dealer who has samples of each to give you an idea of what your finished surround would look like.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    Thank you for all the advice! I believe that we could manage a tile surround for the shower and tub into our budget, after hearing your thoughts!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    If you want to insert tiles around bathroom and shower than use ceramic tiles or limestone tiles because of their durability, and these tiles are also affordable.*

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kansas City area
    Posts
    48

    Thumbs up Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    Here's my opinion: New tub and tile surround is awesome and feels like a spa - had so many compliments! We shopped & researched and debated but I'm a tiler so I got the "job" like it or not,ready or not. We got a bit ripe in the 3 week process before it was all installed but we did camper-style showers in the basement. I gutted the old, my husband installed new tub, hardi-board and marked it for the tile, installed plastic then I applied the waterproof membrane (wearing a chemical mask). I tiled up to the ceiling, laying the design on the diningrm. floor first, including 4 corner shelves. He then installed the new plumbing. It cost under $2000 - well worth the work and increased the house value by $9000. sorry I can't get pics to upload.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    5,108

    Default Re: Before the remodel begins! Tile vs Bath insert

    tfrenos, way to go! Your savings is one thing and can be measured in dollars, but your pride and satisfaction are priceless. Right?

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