You heard a friend from work boast about their tub surround, which transforms their bathroom into something unique and beautiful. And even though you’re not quite familiar with the product itself, from your colleague’s description, you think your bathroom might need one too.
When you start searching for a tub surround to install in your bathroom, you encounter a problem: you’re not sure what suits your bathroom. There are too many choices to consider, and there are many factors you don’t quite understand.
If you’re not too familiar with tub surrounds, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I will introduce you to the best tub surrounds, along with their uses, and I will show you how to buy the best tub surrounds.
Table of Contents
- A Brief Overview About Tub Surround
- Most Notable Brands Of Tub Surrounds
- A Comparison Chart For The Best Tub Surrounds In 2021
- Top 10 Best Tub Surrounds You Should Get For Your Bathroom
- Best Tub Surrounds To Keep Your Bathroom Safe And Clean
- Some Tips You May Need When Using A Tub Surround
- Factors To Consider When Buying Tub Surrounds
- My Top Pick
A Brief Overview About Tub Surround
In order to determine what is the best tub surround, you first need to know what a tub surround is and the main materials used for tub surrounds.
What Is A Tub Surround?
A tub surround refers to the material used for covering the surface of the walls around your tubs. Suitable for both utilitarian and decorative purposes, a tub surround is made from non-porous material to keep water from seeping into your walls and causing structural damage.
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Main Types Of Materials For Tub Surrounds
As different materials for tub surrounds boast different features, pros, and cons, you need to know their key features before buying one.
Tile Tub Surrounds
You can use virtually any type of non-porous tiles as tub surrounds. As tiles come in many different styles, it’s easier to find one to your liking to customize your bathroom. However, the joints between tiles may be prone to moisture issues after a while.
Acrylic Tub Surrounds
Acrylic tub surrounds are one of the most economical options; they tend to come in a three-piece unit and can be installed over almost any surface. Due to its affordable price, acrylic is ideal for rental properties. However, they’re only available in a few colors or styles.
Veritek Tub Surrounds
This type of tub surround usually doesn’t have any surface coating, meaning it’s not vulnerable to chip or crack damage. This non-porous material will ensure that your bathroom will not grow mold or mildew. However, it does require quite a lot of maintenance.
Polystyrene Tub Surrounds
Polystyrene tub surrounds are usually made from high-density materials, thus boasting excellent durability. Polystyrene tub surrounds are easy to install, clean, and maintain. However, it might be hard to find many models of polystyrene tub surrounds as they’re not widely available.
Fiberglass tub surrounds tend to arrive as a one-piece unit. They’re better for new construction rather than remodel projects. As fiberglass usually doesn’t have any seam (because it’s a one-piece unit), it is less likely to leak and, therefore, usually more durable.
Most Notable Brands Of Tub Surrounds
Now that you’ve learned about the most popular materials for tub surrounds, it’s time to find out what are the most famous brands when it comes to this type of product.
- Maax: A leading bathroom products manufacturer, Maax takes pride in its high-quality products and great innovations. With their fantastic tub surrounds, the brand makes sure your bathroom always remains in pristine condition.
- Swan: Famous for their Swanstone, which is a high-quality solid surface, the brand provides high-performing surfaces for bathroom and kitchen alike. Thanks to their excellent products, the brand has gained countless customers’ trust.
- American Standard: Founded more than 140 years ago, the brand has now become one of America’s most famous. Known for its premium products, American Standard is here to deliver the bathroom of your dream.
A Comparison Chart For The Best Tub Surrounds In 2021
When buying the best tub surrounds, you’ll need to pay attention to various features such as dimensions or materials. These will help you decide whether the tub surround fits your bathroom. Understanding this, I’ve made this comparison chart for you.
|Best Tub Surrounds||Product Dimensions||Best For||Material||Number Of Pieces|
|American Standard 2946BW011 Studio Tub Surround - Best Overall And With Shelves||60 x 32 x 58 inches||60" x 32" bathtubs||High-gloss Acrylic||3 (2 Side Walls And 1 Back Wall)|
|ASB 39240 Vantage Tub Surround - Best Budget||36 x 5 x 60 inches||60" x 31" tubs||Acrylic||5 Pieces|
|Lippert Components 209461 Better Bath Tub Surround - Best For RV||40 x 60 x 9.5 inches||24" x 36" tubs||Scratch-resistant ABS Acrylic||1 Piece|
|Sterling 71220120-0 Tub Surround - Best With Tubs||60 x 32 x 74 inches||Tub already included||Vikrell||4 Pieces (1 tub, 1 back wall, 2 side walls)|
|Dreamline Qwall-tub White Tub Surround - Best For Rental Property||32 x 60 x 60 inches||Compatible with most rectangular-shaped bathtubs||Acrylic/ABS||4 Pieces|
|Transolid Ewk03272-41 Bianca Tub Surround - Best For Remodel||32 x 60 x 72 inches||All types of tubs||Composite||3 Pieces|
|Swanstone Ti50000.018 Glue-up Tub Surround - Best With Tile Patterns||32 x 60 x 59.63 inches||30" tubs||Veritek||5 Pieces|
|ASB 39094 Distinction White Tub Surround - Best With Towel Bars||32 x 60 x 32 inches||Alcoves 60-inch wide and 32-inch depth||Polycomposite||3 Pieces|
|Mustee 56WHT Durawall Studio Tub Surround - Best For New Projects||39.8 x 5 x 59 inches||All TOPAZ fiberglass bathtubs, standard 30" x 60" tubs, 32" x 60" tubs, whirlpools||Fiberglass||5 Pieces|
|Maax 101604-00-129 Tub Surround - Best For Mobile Home||29.25 x 4.27 x 59.25 inches||60-inch bathtubs||Polystyrene||5 Pieces|
Top 10 Best Tub Surrounds You Should Get For Your Bathroom
The best tub surrounds are the American Standard 2946BW.011 and the Maax 101604-00-129. These two tub surrounds are durable; easy to clean and maintain. They also offer maximum water protection to keep your bathroom walls safe.
You should also check out the Swanstone TI50000.018, which boasts beautiful tile patterns. It’s incredibly easy to install, even for beginners. And its sturdy design means that it can protect your walls from water damage for years to come.
- Best Overall And With Shelves: American Standard 2946BW.011 Studio Tub Surround
“Minimalist design; white color for easy decoration; 6 firm, large shelves to store your toiletries; interlocking tongue and groove for maximum water prevention; three-piece unit.”
- Best Budget: ASB 39240 Vantage Tub Surround
“5-piece unit; overlapping corner for maximum water prevention; features up to 2 towel bars and 6 shelves; sturdy design; comest at a reasonable price.”
- Best For RV: Lippert Components 209461 Better Bath Tub Surround
“1-piece unit; scratch-resistant surface; can be glued to the wall; lightweight design; does not require too much time to clean; easy installation.”
- Best With Tubs: Sterling 71220120-0 Tub Surround
“4-piece unit (including bathtub); 4 sturdy shelves; modular design for ease of maneuver; resistant to scratch and stain; bathtub designed with built-in armrest.”
- Best For Rental Property: Dreamline Qwall-tub White Tub Surround
“4-piece unit, beautiful tile patterns; sidewall panels can be trimmed; features 2 glass shelves; does not take time and effort to install.”
- Best For Remodel: Transolid EWK03272-41 Bianca Tub Surround
“3-piece unit; available in many colors and sizes, factory-finished edges; can be cut and trimmed; easy to install; resistant to scratch and stain.”
- Best With Tile Pattern: Swanstone TI50000.018 Glue-up Tub Surround
“5-piece unit; features tile patterns without any actual grout for easy maintenance; resistant to moisture; sealed seams for maximum water protection; easy to install.”
- Best With Towel Bars: Asb 39094 Distinction White Tub Surround
“3-piece unit; features up to 3 shelves and 2 towel bars; overlapping corners, hammered tile patterns, easy to clean and maintain; durable construction.”
- Best For New Projects: Mustee 56WHT Durawall Studio Tub Surround
“5-piece unit; can be cut and trimmed; up to 6 large, molded-in, and self-draining shelves, overlapping corners to prevent water from seeping in.”
- Best For Mobile Home: Maax 101604-00-129 Tub Surround
“Manufactured in Canada; 5-piece unit with up to 6 shelves; textured finish; suitable for 60-inch bathtubs; easy to install and trim; comes at an affordable price.”
Best Tub Surrounds To Keep Your Bathroom Safe And Clean
Without further ado, let’s discover the best tub surrounds you can get right today. As these come in many different shapes and forms, you should read carefully about their key features, pros, and cons to make sure they’re best for you.
1. American Standard 2946BW.011 Studio Tub Surround
(Best Overall And With Shelves)
Designed with high standards and innovation in mind, the American Standard boasts premium quality that is difficult to top. Made from high-gloss acrylic, the tub surround has a brilliant white color that will make your bathroom, no matter how old, look brand new.
Completely waterproof, this beautiful tub surround from American Standard will make sure that no water or moisture can get to your wall, thus protecting your bathroom from mold and mildew. With 6 shelves, the tub surround allows you to put all your bathroom products in one place.
- Minimalist design
- White color for easy decoration
- 6 firm, large shelves to store your toiletries
- Interlocking tongue and groove for maximum water prevention
- Three-piece unit (2 side walls and 1 back wall)
- Lifetime warranty
- Durable and sturdy construction
- Effortless to clean
- Designed for easy movement and maximum comfort
- Might be slightly hard to install for beginners
|Product Dimensions||60 x 32 x 58 inches|
|Product Weight||27 pounds|
|Included Components||Installation manual|
|Installation Method||Three wall alcove, direct-to-stud|
2. ASB 39240 Vantage Tub Surround
For a budget-friendly choice of tub surround, you should definitely go for the ASB vantage tub walls. Thanks to their heavy-gauge and sturdy design, this product from ASB is a lot more durable than you may think.
One thing I particularly like about the ASB vantage tub surround is that it boasts overlapping corners, which are optimized to prevent water from seeping in. With this product, you’ll no longer have to worry about possible structural damage caused by water or moisture.
- 5-piece unit
- Overlapping corner for maximum water prevention
- Features up to 2 towel bars and 6 shelves
- Can stick to the wall quite well
- Rather sturdy design
- Does not take long to clean or maintain
- Comes at a reasonable price
- Might scratch slightly if not handled with care.
|Product Dimensions||36 x 5 x 60 inches|
|Product Weight||11.44 pounds|
3. Lippert Component 209461 Better Bathtub Surround
(Best For RV)
Arriving in two simple colors, the Lippert Component 209461 will make sure that you can find the best fit for your RV’s bathroom. This product might look simple, but it will transform your RV’s bathroom into a luxurious-looking place at a reasonable price.
Even though the Lippert Components tub surround is considerably lighters than many other products, it still offers fantastic durability and sturdiness. Thanks to its scratch-resistant surface, this tub surround is surely here to stay.
- 1-piece unit
- Scratch-resistant surface
- Can be glued to the wall
- Lightweight design
- Can be installed with ease
- Friendly for the environment
- Does not require much time or effort to clean
- Some might feel the tub surround walls are a bit thin.
|Product Dimensions||40 x 60 x 9.5 inches|
|Product Weight||18.46 pounds|
4. Sterling 71220120-0 Bathtub And Tub Surround
(Best With Tubs)
If you’re trying to find a tub surround along with an accompanying bathtub, you’ll love this product from Sterling. Offering a sleek, beautiful bathtub with an ergonomic design for optimal comfort, this bath and tub surround kit is definitely a great bargain.
If you also want your tub surround to be equipped with strong shelves to hold heavy bottles, this product will undoubtedly satisfy you. With up to 4 sturdy shelves, this brilliantly white tub surround will make sure that you can always have your bathroom products at hand.
- 4-piece unit (including bathtub)
- Bathtub designed with a built-in armrest
- 4 sturdy shelves
- Modular design for ease of maneuver
- Beautiful curved walls designed for a luxurious look
- Does not stain or scratch easily
- Excellent durability and sturdiness
- Beautiful look
- Great value for money
- Might be slightly hard to install.
|Product Dimensions||60 x 32 x 74 inches|
|Product Weight||159 pounds|
|Included Components||Bathtub and wall surround with right-hand drain|
|Color||Tub already included|
5. Dreamline Qwall-tub White Tub Surround
(Best For Rental Property)
If you’re trying to enhance the appearance of your bathroom to improve your rental property’s value, you should go for this product from DreamLine. Easy to install and affordable, this tub surround will instantly transform your bathroom with little to no hassle.
Made from acrylic, the Dreamline tub surround makes cleaning and maintenance effortless and easy. This means even after your tenants move out, you can easily make this tub surround look new again to attract new tenants.
- 4-piece unit
- Beautiful tile patterns
- Sidewall panels can be trimmed
- Features 2 glass shelves
- Does not take time and effort to install
- Arrives at a reasonable price
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Some might feel the walls are somewhat thin.
|Product Dimensions||32 x 60 x 60 inches|
|Product Weight||37 pounds|
|Included Components||2 glass corner shelves|
|Installation Type||Alcove, glued-to-wall|
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty|
Even though the Dreamline Qwall is very easy to install, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this video installation instruction.
6. Transolid EWK03272-41 Bianca Tub Surround
(Best For Remodel)
Arriving in many designs and colors, the Transolid tub surrounds are undoubtedly one of the best choices for remodeling your bathroom. With their fancy and exquisite look, these beautiful tub surrounds will instantly make your bathroom look grand and luxurious.
Despite its fancy look, the Transolid tub surrounds are very easy to install. You can effortlessly trim the products to make them fit your bathroom walls. Even better, installing the product simply involves gluing them to your walls. How convenient is that?
- 3-piece unit
- Available in many colors and sizes
- Factory-finished edges
- Can be cut and trimmed
- Easy to install, even for beginners
- Resistant to scratch and stain
- Does not take much time to clean
- Excellent durability
- Some edges might still be slightly rough
|Product Dimensions||32 x 60 x 72 inches|
|Product Weight||173 pounds|
|Included Components||3-piece tub surrounds, 2 corner trim pieces, and 4 tubes of silicone adhesives|
|Color||Bianca (and more)|
|Warranty||10 years warranty|
7. Swanstone Ti50000.018 Glue-up Tub Surround
(Best With Tile Patterns)
With their simple but beautiful tile patterns, this tub surround from Swanstone will make your bathroom seem like it’s truly installed with tiles. Unlike real tiles, the tub surround doesn’t have any grout, which means you don’t have to worry about cleaning or mildew build-up.
Made from premium veritek, this product boasts great resistance to chip, scratch, and crack damage. This ensures that you can get the best out of your beautiful tub surround for the longest time. Isn’t that a great bargain?
- 5-piece unit
- Features tile patterns without any actual grout
- Resistant to moisture
- Sealed seams for maximum water protection
- Effortless to install, even for beginners
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Sturdy and durable
- Ideal for both new and remodel projects
- You need to use strong adhesive, or else the tub surround might stop sticking after a few years.
|Product Dimensions||32 x 60 x 59.63 inches|
|Product Weight||76 pounds|
|Included Components||1 back panel with 1 molded-in soap shelf, 2 side panels with 2 convenience shelves, 2 apron strips|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
8. ASB 39094 Distinction White Tub Surround
(Best With Towel Bars)
Equipped with up to towel bars and three shelves, the ASB white tub surround will ensure that you can always have clean towels and bathroom products at hand. This means that you don’t have to step out of the tub to get your toiletries.
Thanks to its overlapping corners, the ASB white tub surround can completely protect your walls from water and moisture damage. And with its smooth, high-gloss surface, this white tub surround is incredibly easy to clean and maintain.
- 3-piece unit
- Features up to 3 shelves and 2 towel bars
- Overlapping corners
- Can fit into 60’’ x 32’’ alcove
- Hammered tile pattern
- Provides excellent protection against water
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Durable construction
- Comes at a reasonable price
- Might be slightly hard to install
|Product Dimensions||32 x 60 x 32 inches|
|Product Weight||34 pounds|
|Included Components||3 shelves and 2 acrylic towel bars|
9. Mustee 56WHT Durawall Studio Tub Surround
(Best For New Projects)
Made from high-quality thermoplastic, the Mustee 56WHT tub surround is known for its fantastic durability. Thanks to its sleek and stylish design, this tub surround will fit with almost any decor and make your new bathroom look beautiful and luxurious.
Afraid that this amazing tub surround will not fit your new bathroom? Rest assured! The panels can be easily cut and trimmed to fit your needs. And with its overlapping edges, this product will make sure no water or moisture can damage your beautiful new bathroom.
- 5-piece unit
- Can be cut and trimmed
- Up to 6 large, molded-in, and self-draining shelves
- Overlapping corners to prevent water from seeping in
- Can fit in out-of-plump alcoves
- Suitable for many types of bathtubs
- Easy to install
- Can stick firmly to the wall
- Does not take much effort to clean
- Might not be compatible with Liquid Nail adhesive
|Product Dimensions||39.8 x 5 x 59 inches|
|Product Weight||25 pounds|
|Included Components||Bathtub wall surrounds|
10. Maax 101604-00-129 Tub Surround
(Best For Mobile Home)
This tub surround from Maax arrives in a pristine white color that will fit in most any typical bathroom. The product has a textured finish to make your mobile home’s bathroom walls look more firm and stylish.
As the Maax tub surround is made with ease of installation in mind, the product can be installed by even the novice. You can glue it up the walls, and it’s equally easy to trim this tub surround so that it can fit your mobile home’s bathroom better.
- Manufactured in Canada
- 5-piece unit with up to 6 shelves
- Textured finish
- Suitable for 60-inch bathtubs
- Easy to install and trim
- Comes at an affordable price
- Can stick to the wall quite well
- Doesn’t take much effort to clean and maintain
- The shelf might not be able to hold heavy bottles.
|Product Dimensions||29.25 x 4.27 x 59.25 inches|
|Product Weight||4.38 pounds|
|Included Components||Plumbing fixtures, bathtub-walls-and-surrounds, tub and showers|
Some Tips You May Need When Using A Tub Surround
Before you get a tub surround, you should equip yourself with the right tools and knowledge on how to use it. Fortunately, I’ve covered everything you need to know when it comes to tub surrounds.
What Glue Should You Use For Tub Surround?
To install tub surrounds, you should buy adhesives specifically designed for tub surrounds. One of the best tub surround adhesives I’ve used is the Loctite PL 550.
What To Trim Tub Surrounds With?
If your tub surround is thick and bulky, it might be challenging to cut and trim. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to give up on the tub surround or call for a professional’s help. You can use a jigsaw or a handsaw to trim all the excess areas from your tub surround.
How To Install Tub Surrounds?
One of the most challenging things about getting a tub surround is installing it. Fortunately, all the products I’ve included are not too difficult to install, and with some visual instructions, I’m certain you will be able to install tub surrounds too.
Watch this video to know more:
You might also want to learn the direct-to-stud installation type. If that is the case, I have what you need right here.
Check out this step-by-step instruction for the direct-to-stud tub surround installation method.
How To Seal Tub Surround?
Once you finish installing your tub surround, you notice a few gaps, which will be vulnerable to moisture damage. To prevent this, you need to seal the tub surround. This might seem like a lot of complicated work however, once you know what to do, this task will be like a piece of cake.
- Step 1: Fill your bathtub with water. The weight from the water will maximize the gap between your tub and the tub surround, making sure that you don’t miss a single inch that needs sealing.
- Step 2: Apply uniform caulk beads to the gap in the tub surround. Make sure that the beads are small enough that when you drag your finger over them, only a negligible amount wipes off.
- Step 3: Once you finish applying the uniform caulk beads, use a clean rag to clean any excess caulk left on the tub surround. If you encounter troubles cleaning the excess caulk, you can try a slightly damp rag.
Factors To Consider When Buying Tub Surrounds
Even after knowing all the best tub surrounds, you should still know how to choose a suitable tub surround for your bathroom. Why? Because while a tub surround might be of high quality, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best fit for your bathroom. So check out this section!
Compare The Tub Surround’s Dimensions
First thing first, you need to measure your tub to determine how large your tub surround should be. If the tub surround you intend to buy is too small for your tub, you should opt for another one.
On the other hand, if your favorite tub surround seems too large for your bathroom. You should make sure that it can be adjusted to fit your tub. If it is adjustable, you can go for it. If it’s not, maybe it’s time to consider other options.
Consider Your Bathroom Structures
Now that you’ve determined the tub surround can actually fit your bathroom, think about all the possible structural constraints you might encounter. Does your bathroom have a window? If that is the case, you need to choose ones thin enough for you to trim so that they can fit the window.
Take Your Bathroom Decor Into Consideration
As I’ve already said, tub surrounds can be used as decoration as well. So it would make sense that you should choose a tub surround that matches your bathroom decór as well. It’s best that you choose a tub surround with matching colors as your existing bathroom furnishes.
Buying tub surrounds is a lot more complicated than simply choosing color, material, or dimension. Aside from those factors, you also need to take installation type into consideration.
Direct-to-stud installation type
Large and thick tub surrounds usually require direct-to-stud installation. In other words, you’ll have to remove all the existing drywall around your tub to gain access to the studs for tub surround installation. This installation type usually requires the most time and effort.
Glued-to-the-wallboard installation type
Some tub surrounds, particularly ones made of thin and non-porous panels, can be directly glued to the wallboards. These tub surrounds usually come in a three-piece unit or five-piece unit, including shelves. This installation type is easier and usually takes less time.
Materials Are Important Too
It’s time to take your needs and preferences into consideration. As I’ve already pointed out, different materials will bring out different benefits and challenges. So it is important that you think about the material when buying tub surrounds as well.
After reading about the best tub surrounds, you probably still have many unanswered questions. If that is the case, you can have a look at this section, where I might just have the answer you’re looking for.
My Top Pick
The best tub surrounds you can get in 2021 is the American StandardTub Surround, as it’s one of the most durable and high-quality tub surrounds. This product from American Standard also boasts a sleek design with up to 6 shelves to ensure a pleasant experience in the bathroom.
Another product that’s also worth your consideration is the ASB 39240 Vantage Tub Surround. This tub surround comes at an affordable price without sacrificing the overall quality. With its overlapping design, this tub surround can offer maximum water protection.
Did you find your tub surround? Do you think you will encounter any difficulties while installing a tub surround? If you have any unanswered questions, feel free to post them in the comment section.