When it comes to the best tub surround, there are plenty of options. They come in multiple shapes and sizes, some with shelves and others replicating tiles for a classy designer look.
Tub surrounds are easier to install than tiles, stone, marble, and glass, and complete the bathroom style much faster than these other building materials. Let’s take a look at the best tub surrounds.
The 10 Best Tub Surround Options
1. ASB Vantage Tub Wall
This ASB tub surround is constructed from heavy-grade acrylic. It has 6 shelves and 2 towel bars for maximum storage and overlapping corners to prevent leaks.
It measures 60 inches in height and fits showers and bathtubs of 60 inches by 31 inches. Thanks to the high gloss finish, this surround should stay looking good for years to come, although it does lack self-draining shelves, so you might get a build-up of grime.
It’s also pretty lightweight, at just 11.44 pounds, so if you are performing a solo installation, maneuvering it into position is pretty straightforward.
The only downside is that it might be a little too lightweight. When you consider that some of the surrounds included weigh between 60 and 173 pounds, it makes this Vantage seem a little bit flimsy.
You then have to question how long this surround will last and whether it will suffer from warping and cracking with heavy use.
|60 x 5 x 36 inches
2. DreamLine Acrylic Backwall Kit
- Q-Wall Backwall: Model Size: 56-60 in. W x 28-32 in. D x 60 in. H; Color: White
This DreamLine tub surround can be glued to most flat surfaces. It adheres to wonderboard and greenboard, although not directly to the studs. You also get trim-to-size sidewall panels.
The inlays are decorated in an attractive tile pattern to complete your modern look, and it comes with 2 glass shelves.
The material is high-gloss acrylic, so it is easy to maintain and keeps its shine for a long time. You can configure this backwall kit, so it fits bathtubs and showers measuring 56 to 60 inches in width, 28 to 32 inches in depth, and 60 inches in height.
The downside with this model is it weighs considerably more than the Vantage surround. This tops out at 37 pounds, so while it isn’t the heaviest, you will likely need assistance when mounting this surround.
It also costs a lot more! If you don’t mind paying for the quality, this Dreamline bathtub surround will complete that trendy bathroom style, making your bathroom the envy of your friend and neighbors.
|60 x 60 x 60 inches
3. Transolid Expressions Glue to Wall Tub Surround
- Made from impact and scratch-resistant, hygienic, durable, and non-porous compression molded material
This Transolid surround is made from scratch-resistant expressions material, which is a durable, hygienic, and non-porous pressure-molded composite. It is also impact-resistant.
It has trimmable wall panels, comes with a 10-year warranty, and has beveled outside edges for a neat finish and a watertight seal.
Like the DreamLine model, this Transolid is gluable to almost any surface, making installation a breeze. The back wall section is 72 inches in height and 60 inches in width, while the side panels measure the same size but are 32 inches in width.
The finish is a classy marble effect, so it will smarten up any bathroom, and it is easy to clean thanks to the high-gloss, bacteria-free material.
Now for the not-so-good. This tub surround is heavy, weighing in at 173 pounds, so you will definitely need assistance installing it, and the cost is astronomical compared to other surrounds. You will need big bucks to buy this wall kit.
However, if you want a premium product that transforms your bathroom into that high-end hotel look you were aiming for, this Transolid surround is worth every penny.
|72 x 60 x 32
4. Swanstone Panel Bathtub Wall Surround
- Fits 29-in to 30-in D x 53-in to 60-in W x 59-5/8-in H tub area
This Swanstone is another premium-priced bathtub surround, although it doesn’t reach the price tag of the Transolid model. The kit comes with a back panel and 2 side panels, and the tile pattern adds to the modern styling.
It also means that there will be no mold or mildew, making it easier to clean. The storage options are limited, with only a soap dish for shelving, but the Veritek material more than makes up for its shortcomings.
Veritek is a compressed molded composite that has no color coating on the surface to scratch or chip. The color is all the way through the material, so it will never fade or stain, which is why Swanstone gives you a limited lifetime guarantee.
It fits tubs 29 to 30 inches in depth, 53 to 60 inches in width, and 59.63 inches in height, and you even get color-coordinated silicone included with the kit.
|30 x 60 x 59.63
5. Mustee 670WHT Fiberglass Bathtub Wall Surround
- Produced from high-grade, reinforced, molded fiberglass for optimum strength and impact resistance using matched metal molds under heat and pressure
This Mustee surround is constructed from high-quality reinforced and molded fiberglass. It means that it not only looks good but it is also impact-resistant and highly durable.
Unlike the gluable surrounds like Transolid, this kit attaches directly to studs, which could save a lot of time on your bathroom remodel.
You also get self-draining shelves, which is surprisingly uncommon with these surrounds. It means you don’t get a build-up of grime and mildew. The pattern is embossed tile for that modern look, and it fits all standard 30 x 60-inch bathtubs.
This isn’t the most expensive to feature, that accolade goes to the Transolid surround, but this Mustee is still pretty costly, especially as you only get a 1-year warranty. Plus, for a fiberglass surround, the price tag does make you do a double-take.
Remember that fiberglass is more porous than acrylic and stains easier. And the high gloss coating is prone to scratches and chips. Keep all this in mind when making your choice.
|64.5 x 5.4 x 62 inches
6. Maax Bathtub Wall Kit
This Maax wall surround is super lightweight, weighing just 4.38 pounds. It’s constructed from polystyrene, which might provide the answer to why it is so light.
This surround fits bathtubs that measure between 48 and 60 inches in length, 31 inches in width, and 59 inches in height. Because it’s so lightweight, it glues to any flat surface and is easy to install thanks to the 5 separate panels that glue together.
You also get shelving, although how much weight they would take due to the lightweight construction is unknown, but our guess is not much at all.
This tub surround is at the cheaper end of the market, so it would be a great choice for fixing up a rental or a starter home where finances are a little tight.
However, you have to question how long this surround will stay looking good. It is so cheap and lightweight; you would worry that the shelves might buckle under a moderate weight, and the material will warp or split.
|29.25 x 4.37 x 59.25 inches
7. DreamLine Backwall Kit
- Kit Includes: QWall-3 Backwalls and Single Threshold SlimLine Base; Kit Size: 30 in. D x 60 in. W x 75 5/8 in. H; Drain Location: Left; Color: White
This is the second DreamLine to feature in the review, but this one is different because it is a surround for a shower rather than a bath. It comes as a kit that also includes the shower base.
This unit is constructed from high-grade acrylic and ABS material and installs directly to wonderboard and greenboard and just about any other flat surface. The base attaches directly to studs.
The panels can be trimmed to size, and the base is scratch and stain-resistant. It also has a SlipGrip textured floor surface to prevent slipping and accidents in the shower.
The tray measures 30 x 60 inches, and the wall surrounds are 30 inches in depth, 60 inches in width, and 75.63 inches in height. You also get 8 corner shelves for storing soap and shampoo.
If you want to own this shower surround, be prepared to dig deep. It costs almost as much as the Transolid model. And when you consider this surround is acrylic, that’s a lot of money to spend on molded plastic.
We get that it comes with the shower tray, but you still need to pay extra for the drain attachment. The other downside is this surround only caters to showers. Some bathtub surrounds can be adapted to work with bathtubs and showers, making them more flexible.
|30 x 60 x 75.63 inches / 30 x 60 inches for shower tray
8. American Standard Bathtub Wall Set
- High-gloss acrylic construction
This American Standard tub surround mounts directly to studs, so it saves you time on your bathroom installation. It is also constructed from high-quality acrylic, giving it a high gloss shine.
Acrylic is easy to keep clean, prevents mold and mildew growth, and keeps its shine for longer. This model has 6 generous shelves, giving you ample storage, but they have kept the back wall clear to make it easier to get in and out of the bathtub.
You also get tongue and grooving so that the panels slot together and prevent water seepage.
It measures 60 x 32 x 58 inches and weighs just 27 pounds, so installing it on your own should be a breeze. The only downside is because this kit installs directly to studs, any drywall or boarding would need to be removed first.
The other point is that this is a bathtub surround designed to fit American Standard Studio bathtubs, so it might limit its use on different makes and models. Make sure you check it will work with other bathtubs outside of their dedicated range.
|60 x 32 x 58
9. Mustee 56WHT Fiberglass Bathtub Wall Surround
This is the second Mustee to feature on the list. This model is formed from high-grade fiberglass, so it is durable and easy to keep clean.
You can trim the panels to cater to awkward alcove shapes, and the edges overlap seamlessly to create a neat watertight finish. This kit is designed to fit all TOPAZ bathtubs, and it also accommodates tubs that measure 30 to 32 inches wide by 60 inches long.
It even adapts to install with whirlpool tubs 42 inches deep and 72 inches long. You also get 6 generous self-draining shelves, which are ideal for storing soap and shampoo.
Again, because this surround is constructed from fiberglass, it will be more porous than acrylic models, and it might stain easier too.
|39.8 x 5 x 59 inches
10. Swanstone Bathtub Wall Kit
- TI-5 Kit Includes: One back panel with molded-in soap dish, two corner panels, two side panels with molded-in convenience shelves, two apron strips and color coordinated silicone.
This Swanstone wall kit comes with a back panel with molded shelves, 2 side panels with shelving, 2 apron strips, and color-coordinated silicone for the neatest finish.
Unlike acrylic, this model is constructed from Veritek, which is a pressure compressed composite that is stain, scratch-resistant, and colored throughout, so it doesn’t have a surface coating that chips.
It’s designed for areas that measure 29 to 32 inches deep, 53 to 60 inches wide, and 59.63 inches tall, and the molded tile effect gives it a modern feel without all the hassle of cleaning grout.
This wall surround is a glue-in kit, so it attaches straight to drywall, greenboard, and wonderwall. The only criticism of this surround is the limited storage you get. When you consider what this costs, it may just be a deal-breaker.
|32 x 60 x 59.63 inches
What Is a Bathtub Surround?
A bathtub surround is a wall covering for finishing off alcoves and walls that make contact with the bathtub or shower. They can be several materials, but the most common are acrylic, fiberglass, polystyrene, and Vertek.
Bathtub surrounds come in kits form, consisting of 1, 3 or 5 panels and slot together to protect the wall behind the tub. They can be cut to size, attached by glue, or directly to the studs and are faster and more convenient than tiling.
The alternative to a dedicated bathtub surround kit is to cover the walls with other materials. This can be expensive because most of them are solid surface materials like tiles, stone, glass, and marble.
They cost more, take skill to complete the work to a good standard, and take longer to achieve the desired results,
Types of Tub Surrounds
Bathtub surrounds come in all shapes and materials. Here’s a rundown of the most common:
Single surrounds come as one complete unit, molded from a single piece of material. The advantage is they have no joins or seams where water could leak out. The disadvantage is they are hard to find, with most surrounds coming in 3 or 5 panels kits.
These kits consist of a back panel and 2 sides. If you are solo-installing, it could be a good choice because you can attach each panel individually, which makes it more manageable. The downside is you need a degree of skill to complete the task, and you risk leaks.
Without stating the obvious, these kits have 5 panels instead of 3. It makes them more of a challenge to install and get right. However, you do get more scope to make adjustments and if you are performing the remodel on your own, dealing with panels is easier to attach.
The cheapest material is acrylic, although the standard of the material varies according to the price you pay. Acrylic molds into any shape, is relatively lightweight and easy to work with.
It stays glossy, despite repeated use, cleans easily, resists mold and mildew, and rarely stains. Acrylic is crack-resistant and more durable than fiberglass.
Fiberglass is the cheapest material you can use. It is lightweight and moldable, making it possible to get a single-piece surround or in panels. Just remember that the more panels you have, the greater the risk of leaks.
Most fiberglass surrounds glue straight to the wall, and they provide an easy-to-clean surface that stays looking good for a long time. Fiberglass is a little more porous than acrylic, so some staining may occur over time.
However, it is a great cheaper alternative to other materials, especially if you are remodeling your bathroom on a budget.
Veritek is a composite material formed under pressure. The benefit of Veritek is it is colored all the way through the material rather than having a colored top-coat like acrylic and fiberglass.
It means Veritek is stain, scratch, and chip-resistant, and it should stay looking its best because it never fades. However, Vertek is a lot heavier than acrylic and fiberglass, making installation a bit more challenging.
It’s also more expensive, so you need deep pockets to afford it.
Glass is more popular when fitting a shower unit, although it does look sleek and modern as a bathtub surround. However, glass is heavy to install, expensive, and requires the highest level of maintenance to keep it looking good.
Glass clouds and shows up every water stain, which is one of the reasons why it is so rarely used.
Considerations When Buying a Tub Surround
What are the key areas to consider when shopping for a bathtub surround? Let’s look at the most significant factors.
Choose The Correct Size
Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines to see what sizes the bathtub surround accommodates. It’s always a good idea to double-check your measurements before committing to a purchase.
The good news is most surrounds have a maximum and minimum size and can be trimmed to fit your bathtub. The other good news is you can still trim the surround, so it is plumb, even if your walls are not.
Be aware that when you start cutting the surround, if you get the numbers wrong, you can’t return it to the store.
Get The Correct Material
By far, the most common material used to make bathtub surrounds is acrylic. Acrylic is a cheap, non-porous material that can be molded into any shape, and it keeps looking good for years to come. It is easy to clean and hard-wearing, and relatively lightweight.
Polystyrene and fiberglass are the cheapest materials in use in tub surrounds. They are less robust than acrylic and other materials, but they are a great option for those working on a budget.
The most expensive materials are composites like Veritek. They are robust, stain, and scratch-resistant, and because the color runs through the entire material, they don’t fade.
Veritek is an excellent choice if you are fitting out a family bathroom that gets a lot of use because it will withstand all the punishment that daily life throws at it.
Easy To Install?
There are a couple of ways to install your bathtub surround. Some screw straight into the studs, meaning you don’t need to erect drywall first, while others glue to the wall, straight onto drywall, greenboard, or wonderwall.
Both have their pros and cons. Gluing takes very little technical know-how while screwing into studs speeds up the remodel because the surround forms the wall.
Because most surrounds come in 3 or 5 panels, you should keep an eye out for seamless panel edges and watertight seals. Once the surround is installed, the last thing you want is water seepage that encourages mold and mildew growth behind the panels.
Easy To Maintain?
Most surrounds are simple to keep looking their best. Acrylic is mold and mildew-resistant. It wipes clean and retains its high gloss sheen with regular cleaning. Slightly cheaper materials like fiberglass need the most maintenance because they are more porous.
The cheaper the material, the more likely you are to suffer from scratches and staining. However, a quick wipe clean after each bath time should be enough to keep it looking good.
Veritek, is non-porous and has no surface coating to easily scratch and chip. This material is a color-through product, meaning that it won’t fade and is repairable.
How Many Storage Shelves?
Storage is vital in your bathtub surround. Most come with small shelves that can accommodate shower gel, shampoo, and soap. Look for self-draining shelves because water pools and creates mold and mildew.
Must-Have Features In a Tub Surround
Most tub surrounds look and feel the same, and they have many similar features, but not all tub surrounds are the same. Here’s what to look for.
You need somewhere to store clean towels, and the best place is near your tub. What could be better than reaching up and grabbing a clean towel to step out of the bath? Not all surrounds have this feature, so keep an eye out for ones that do.
It sounds crazy, but something as simple as a tile pattern really lifts the surround, elevating it from the ordinary to the stylish.
Many modern bathrooms would suit a sleek, clean tiled effect surround, which is by far the most popular design. Other surrounds have raised panels and marble patterns, but they look more traditional.
Storage is the most important factor when shopping for a tub surround. Shelving enables you to store all your bathroom essentials, keeping them close to hand. However, if they don’t have a drain facility, mold and mildew will form and require more intense cleaning.
Best Tub Surround FAQ
What are the dimensions of a standard tub surround?
The standard measurements for a bathtub surround are 60 inches in length, 32 inches in height, and 32 inches in width. Sizes do vary depending on the size of your bathtub. Some whirlpool tubs measure 72 inches in length, so you will need a surround that can cope.
The good news is that most surrounds are trimmable, so you can cut them to size. Whatever size bathtub you have, it should still fit.
How much does it cost to replace a tub surround?
The first thing to consider is the cost of the surround. Some retail at just over $100, while others sell for $1,500. If you are fitting it yourself, it will simply be the costs of the materials and the tub surround.
If you call in the professionals, expect to pay upwards of $700 for the labor costs. This does vary from state to state and the level of demand, but it does almost double your remodel costs by employing someone to do it.
Given that the average cost of a bathtub surround is about $500, if you add on the cost of the labor, you could spend anything between $1,000 and $1,500.
What is the best material for a bathtub surround?
It depends on your budget. The cheapest material is fiberglass, polystyrene, and acrylic. They are lightweight, easy to mold, and keep their high gloss surface even with heavy use. If you are budget-conscious, these materials should appeal.
When you get to the high-end materials, the costs leap up considerably. Composites like Veritek are pressure compressed, non-porous, and colored all the way through so they don’t fade, scratch, or crack.
The downside with Veritek is it can cost several times the amount of the cheaper materials.
What can I put on the wall around my bathtub?
You can put stone, tiles, glass, and even wood on the wall around your bathtub. The other alternative is a bathtub surround. The advantage of a surround is they get the job done quickly, are easier to install than the other materials, and deliver instant results.
How long do tub surrounds last?
It depends on the quality of the material used. Solid surface materials like marble, stone, and tiles could last 30 plus years. Some of the better quality surround manufacturers offer limited lifetime warranties.
That means they are so confident that their product will keep its good looks, they guarantee it for as long as it is attached to your bathroom walls.
Complete The Look In Your Bathroom
Sure, you could tile, fit marble, glass, or stone to finish off your bathtub surround, but when you can buy a hard-wearing dedicated tub surround in kit form, it makes life a lot easier. You can achieve that boutique hotel room look in no time at all.
They are easy to install, great for DIY novices, and deliver instant results. They are also a cheaper alternative, in many cases, and stay looking good for years.