Tile v. pre-fab shower walls for tenants

10 Replies

We're purchasing a single family home to use as a rental property, and the master shower needs to be replaced. It's a one-story home with a crawlspace and the shower previously leaked, causing damage to wood under the house.

My question is whether it makes more sense to have the shower re-tiled or just throw in a pre-fab shower kit. In my mind, tenants might not keep the grout clean so the kit seems to make more sense (if we can find the right size). Any recommendations?

I recommend pre-fab. It is lower maintenance, easier to clean, and way easier to replace down the line.

I agree 100% with Madeline. Tile looks nice, but requires maintenance that tenants aren't likely to do. Unless this is a really high-end location, pre-fab is the way to go.

I put a prefab shower in my daughters' bathroom and am a little upset I didn't put it in the others as well. It's just too easy to take care of, never leaks unless you punch a hole in the wall, never needs caulking. 

I will never ever tile in another rental again.

I'm going with tile.

If done right it will last forever.

Use larger tiles for fewer grout lines. 

Use small spacers for thinner grout lines.

Use dark grout that won't show stains.

Seal the grout every time you have turnover.

I vote tile too. I bought a place with prefabs and they were horrible and disgusting. I've been renovating the baths with classic subway tile all around the bathroom.  A nice looking bath rents a place.

I managed a 120 unit property, all tile surround in bathrooms, 

Wow,, the mold, the grout issues, cleaning. wasn't the easiest. if we had to repair tile we just put in as close as possible never could get good matches.

The owner recently bought a complex and put all new fiberglass surrounds.

With a shower in your situation I would do the fiberglass stall, get the kind with that has like 3 parts the bottom unit, and the sides that fit on and around the base. We put one in on a flip and it was beautiful went in great and we had to use that type to get it down the stairwell so MEASURE so you can get in the space.

I think this is personal choice as both are quality products to use.  Nothing is maintenance free!  Tile can give a wow factor especially in the master.  Where as a white figerglass shower people will go... " yep, it has shower".

Thanks to all! The home isn't in a price range where I need a "wow" factor, at least not for a rental property. I'm sure we can tile above the surround to make it look nicer. Now to see how quickly we can get it done using contractors...

Prefab shower kit in rentals. Your other option is the complete unit that hotels use. They are the best and obviously, since hotels all use them, they are the easiest to maintain.  

Originally posted by @Max T. :

I'm going with tile.

If done right it will last forever.

Use larger tiles for fewer grout lines. 

Use small spacers for thinner grout lines.

Use dark grout that won't show stains.

Seal the grout every time you have turnover.

 may i recommend when doing the grout, instead of using water to use the sealer as the liquid?

or use the available "sealed" grouts (usually recommended for kitchens)

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