Subway tile vs fiberglass tub/shower

14 Replies

Hey everyone. I'm in the middle of a rehab in Texas. Wondering if it's worth redoing a shower in subway tile or sticking with a fiberglass tub/shower combo. Anyone had better luck with one or the other? I love the look of subway tile but think maintenance wise the fiberglass might be a better route. Looking forward to seeing everyone's thoughts.

It really depends on your market,  consider the price point of the house, etc. What size is the house? What does your competition have?  Subway tile isn't necessarily the cheapest option, you might want to look at some of the larger porcelain tiles, etc. However; unless you are experienced at doing tile, you might want to get someone to give you a bid. Be sure to check references, licensing and see photos. 

@Josh Beller lowes has some very pretty faux tile tub surrounds. The one I liked in particular was a light gray 6x10 tile look. I think they may have offered a white subway but not sure.

@Josh Beller

I'd avoid the tile unless you're absolutely sure you can find the right guy to do it. I do my own tile surrounds, so I'm not going to bore you with a load of information on the subject, but doing really good shower tile work isn't easy and there are more guys who say they can do it well than can actually do it. Many will quietly take shortcuts that will limit the life of your shower surround to save themselves work or because they simply don't know any better.

If you do go with the tile, here's one tip: if you see your guys hauling green drywall into your house to install in the shower, get rid of them immediately, no matter what they say about "waterproof gypsum" products.

I prefer tile over fiberglass, but have used both. Personally I do 95% of my own tile work, as well as all the waterproofing, cement board, etc. if I was paying for this work I would specify exactly how I wanted the contractor to do it and make sure he did it that way.

@Josh Beller I just subway recently which is more expensive than the fiberglass. It depends on your market. Fiberglass might be acceptable to some but if prospective tenants prefer a certain look than you may go with the other.
@Josh Beller I did a custom subway tile shower at my house. I wish I had slapped in a tub and just did a tile surround. Either that or a dark tile/grout to hide the stains. It takes me an hour to clean the thing.

In my own house, we renovated the bathroom about 4 years ago and used a 16x16 ceramic tile. It looks good as a surround around the tub and doesn't take much effort to clean (not having the small grout lines a subway surround would have).

@Jim K. Listen to Jim K people. I do tons of tile work, drywall does not belong in a shower behind tile. Make sure your tile guy uses Hardibacker or Durock.
@Josh Beller I would not use either. Use a standard tub with 4X8 Poly Wall panels from Home Depot. The corners can be formed with a break like you use for aluminum trim. Or you could caulk them with silicone caulk. Glued directly over wall board. Low maintenance, looks great. And you can paint it to match if desired.