Q: Do you think fiberglass shower units are just as good as tile? And what are your thoughts on painting a worn fiberglass tub unit? We appreciate hearing your thoughts.
A: It used to be that "fiberglass" shower units came in white or a tan color and were not very good quality. Some weren't even fiberglass but acrylic or other plastic. The appeal was that they were less expensive than a professionally installed tile shower.
Today, fortunately, premade showers are so much better quality, in general, and come in a wide range of colors, even ones looking like tile or stone. But high-end premade showers or panels might be just as expensive as some tile jobs.
Custom tile showers are timeless, but require more maintenance and a professional installation. You'll need adequate support and waterproofing systems behind the tile. But the design options are endless! I have so much fun shopping for tile - it's hard to decide, even for me.
Tile is the better option if you have an unusual space or odd dimensions. Premade plastic units come in standard sizes only. Or, if you're trying to save a little money, use a premade shower floor, and just tile the walls.
Premade showers and tubs also need proper support to prevent them from flexing. Flexing may not hurt anything, but it isn't a very high-quality feel. Talk with a licensed contractor or a plumber for more information about your situation.
Lastly, I wouldn't paint an old premade tub or shower unless you had professional assistance. Ask around at a paint store or plumbing showroom for information. True fiberglass is very reparable, but it's a messy job involving highly toxic chemicals. Other plastics might be able to be polished or restored, but your whole bath will look better with the job done properly.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!