Disadvantages of Tile Bath Walls

While tile walls are beautiful, there are some significant disadvantages you should be aware of before you make the decision on what to have installed for your new bath or shower wall surround.

Installation Time

Tile installation requires plenty of work to prepare the surface before the motor and tile can even touch the walls. The surface must be leveled to keep the tiles laying flush with each other. Installation can take anywhere from one to two weeks to complete. In contrast, solid surface bath walls, like acrylic, can take as little as one day to install, which means that you won’t have to be without a fully functioning tub or shower for as long.

Installation Cost

The costs of tile products can range from $2 per square foot for the most basic tile, to $40 or more for higher end tile. That’s just for the tile, it’s doesn’t include the price of all the additional materials needed to install the tile such as backer board, mortar, grout, sealer, edge transition pieces and labor costs. Average cost to have a tile wall surround installed in your tub or shower can easily reach $7,500 and up.


Cleaning tile is time consuming. Wiping down the tile itself is not so bad, especially if you keep up with doing it regularly. However, cleaning the grout can be a bit more like flossing your teeth, you know you need to do it, but it’s tedious and takes so much longer to do than just cleaning the surface.

Soap scum, water, and mineral deposits all pose challenges to keeping your tile looking beautiful. It’s recommended to use a spray bottle of vinegar water to spray all the grout and allow it to sit for five minutes before scrubbing the grout with a stiff brush. If vinegar isn’t quite doing the trick, apply a paste made of baking soda and water to all the grout lines, then spray with vinegar. Allow it bubble and fizz and then scrub with the brush.

In extreme cases, bleach can be used, but only in small doses. Bleach can cause erosion to grout, so be cautious in applying it to your grout as is can shorten its lifespan.

The best practice it to clean tile regularly and frequently to avoid needing to use harsh chemicals or a significant amount of effort. If scrubbing your shower or tub walls is something you struggle to keep up with, tile is probably not the best choice for your bathroom design.


Because grout is porous, regular care must be taken to prevent water from seeping into the grout causing it to soften and decay, thereby allowing water to get behind the tile and ruin the wall. That moisture gets trapped in the grout and mold begins to grow causing unsightly stains requiring hefty cleaning and grout replacement. To prevent such things from happening, the grout must be sealed 1-2 times per year to keep moisture from settling into the grout causing damage.

Even with proper, regular care, the grout between your tile will eventually require replacement. That’s more money and time that must be put into keeping your tile looking good. The process to remove the old grout is an involved and messy project and then the grout must be reinstalled and then resealed.

Again, while a traditional tile and grout wall enclosure is beautiful and has many options available to fit your style preferences, be aware of the work, time, and money required to keep it looking good.


We know the importance of having a low maintenance, high functioning bath or shower. We respect your time and space by arriving on time, doing the work we said we would do and staying within the budget we set. Five Star Bath Solutions works hard to create the bathroom design you are looking for. With 30 locations to serve you in the US and Canada, call us today to schedule your free estimate and learn how we can transform your bath and improve your daily routine.