Bathtub and Shower Liners

Bathtub and Shower Liners vs. Refinishing

Liners vs. Refinishing – What’s the Difference?

First and foremost, COST! Bathtub and shower liners are very expensive compared to resurfacing.

Refinishing involves the application of a synthetic material that’s ‘sprayed’ onto the existing fixture. The installation of a bathtub or shower liner, however, involves the placement of an acrylic or plastic piece over the top of the existing tub… sort of a tub over a tub concept. A liner is then measured to fit over your existing fixture somewhat like a glove, only not quite as well.  Once your tub is measured, a liner is either ordered or, if a useable one is on hand, its used. If the liner is ordered, it can take a few weeks to arrive.

A typical bathtub or shower liner installation involves ‘gluing’ the new liner to the old surface.  Adjustments are then made to the existing faucet handles and drain assembly.

While liners sound great (and there are certain applications where they might be your best option and worth the expense), they certainly shouldn’t be your first choice.

Liner Problems

Problems can develop with liner installations, which can lead to long-term repair methods. Liner companies will tell you that they have measurements and models for virtually every tub ever made, but, unfortunately, this is not always the case.

First of all, the tub or shower measurements must be very precise in order for the liner to fit properly. If the liner does not fit the fixture, gaps can result between the old tub and the new liner. These gaps usually have little or no adhesion, and depending on where these gaps are, they can result in weak spots in the liner that can crack early or fail. These gaps also create hollow spots that tend to amplify the sound of the water hitting the tub.  Many people say it makes for a noisy shower, and that it sounds like rain hitting a tin roof.

Secondly, if the bathtub or shower liner is not properly sealed around the drain area, or if cracks do develop due to poor installation, measurement, etc., then you run the risk of water getting between the old surface and the new liner. This water has no real place to go, and eventually stagnates and fosters mold and mildew growth. This mold and mildew cannot be easily removed, and the cracks and seals cannot be easily repaired. The result can be a continual smell from the stagnant water, and possibly even the movement of the moldy water back into your fresh bath water each time you step into the tub.

Finally, be sure that all of your plumbing associated with your liner installation is done by a licensed plumber. The re-adjustment of your faucets and drain assembly can be tricky, and should only be done by a qualified and licensed professional. If your liner company is just having a “technician” handle this aspect of your installation, be careful. Also, be sure that the work being done is not being handled by a sub-contractor. As in surface restoration, you may not have the protection as a consumer for some work done by a ‘sub’. Find out who covers what aspect of the warranty. Does your liner company cover all warranty, or does the plumber cover the plumbing warranty?

If you’re seriously considering the installation of a liner over resurfacing, take a look at actual replacement costs with a new fixture. While it may take longer for a new installation, the cost difference between a liner and a new fixture is minimal, but the result would be ten times better.

Liners Sometimes Need to Be Repaired

So, you’ve spent a lot of money installing a new bathtub or shower liner only to have it crack or chip a couple of years down the road. Sometimes this damage won’t be covered under the liner warranty and the company might not really have the expertise to fix it, but we do. Contact us to discuss your situation and learn more about our professional bathtub and shower liner services.