What Bathroom Materials Are Available for You During a Renovation?

Starting a bathroom renovation? 

Have you weighed all the different options available to you for materials? 

The process can be overwhelming and we understand that. It’s why we’ve taken the time to scrutinize the most commonly used materials in bathroom renovations and walk through the pros and cons with you. 

The more knowledge you carry, the better your bathroom will be for you in the end. Whether that’s with Five Star Bath Solutions or not, we aim to help you create your perfect dream bathroom. 

Tile: Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Tile became popular because of its attractive aesthetic. 

It can be arranged in beautiful designs, it appeared easy to clean, and it was one of the most water-resistant materials available when modern bathrooms first rose in popularity. 

However, tile requires proper installation and frequent maintenance, including resealing every 6-12 months. This extra maintenance and the issues that arise when it isn't done properly lead to some serious drawbacks. 

Tiled Bathroom

Wear and Tear

While tile is seen as a durable option, if it isn’t glazed properly, it can easily sustain damage. 

In the glazing process, a final layer of glass is added to the outside of the tile for aesthetic purposes. It’s this glass that can break down. Once that erosion process has begun, it’s incredibly difficult to replace the impacted tile.

Crazing on tiles

Some tile is also susceptible to crazing, a spider web-like cracked appearance over the surface of the tile. Certain glazes are more susceptible to crazing than others, and it can decrease value and aesthetics. 

Other glazes may show pitting—when small air bubbles in the glaze allow water to seep in and cause distortions in the appearance of the tile. Glazes are also vulnerable to erosion by harsh, abrasive cleaners, which not only damage the glaze but can also compromise the tile underneath.

Additionally, if a hard object is dropped on tile, it can chip and break. Replacing a single damaged or chipped tile usually requires removing a portion of the floor or wall around it and can cost upward of $500.

Maintaining Cleanliness

Builders originally chose tile as the material of choice for bathrooms because it was easy to wipe clean. However, our understanding of cleanliness has now evolved from a simple lack of visual dirt and grime. 

When tile isn’t properly sealed and installed, it can harbor microbes that are bad for your health. 

Cleaning tiles

Because tile isn’t antimicrobial, it’s important to deep-clean it frequently—but abrasive chemical cleaners can damage and eat away the glaze. 

Finding the balance needed for good cleanliness and preserving the tile’s appearance shouldn’t have to be difficult, but it is. 

Water can also sneak under tile and into grout unseen through the porous surfaces, creating a perfect environment for mold. Over time, mold can cause health issues like watery eyes, runny nose, difficulty breathing, headache, and fatigue. 

The more often someone is exposed to mold, the more pronounced the reaction can become. 

Children are particularly vulnerable to negative reactions, due to their immature immune systems. Young children, infants, and those with preexisting conditions like asthma are especially susceptible to developing hemorrhagic pneumonia due to prolonged exposure to mold in the home.

All of this makes tile deceptively difficult to clean thoroughly, and grout should be scrubbed monthly to maintain its appearance. 

When you add resealing the grout every 6-12 months on top of this rigorous cleaning schedule, maintaining the tile in your bathroom becomes a significant time commitment. 

However, failing to care for tile properly can lead to dangerous health consequences.

Natural Stone: A Heavy Expense

Natural Stone: A Heavy Expense

Stone has come into fashion as a bathroom material due to its aesthetic qualities. 

While it has been popular for vanity countertops for many years, it is now becoming more common to use stone in the shower as well. 

Even though natural stone makes for a striking bathroom, the price can be prohibitive, and it can also be prone to moisture damage. 

Lack of Affordability

Natural stone is the most expensive material for a bathroom. It is typically sold in slabs, so there may be seams that break up the look as well. A stone walk-in shower renovation can easily cost $3000–$7000 depending on the materials chosen.

High Maintenance

Stone also requires significant maintenance. It is susceptible to the same drawbacks as tile, with varying levels of porosity depending on the stone. 

If the grout is not installed correctly, stone can:

  • Harbor microbes
  • Build up moisture
  • Grow mold

Bringing all the health concerns of tile. 

Stone is easily damaged as well, and homeowners need to be careful with abrasive cleaners. 

It’s recommended to reseal stone yearly to keep water from soaking into the stone and the grout. Some stone also needs to be polished every 3-5 years to keep it appearing at its best. 

While natural stone is beautiful, it comes at the expense of money and time to maintain its appearance.

Fiberglass: Light on the Wallet and Longevity

Fiberglass began to be used in showers in the 1960s and 70s as a cheaper alternative to tile, typically running between $300 and $1000. While fiberglass certainly appeals more in price and ease of installation, the aesthetic is widely considered to be a basic option.

An Inexpensive, Customizable Material

Fiberglass appeals to many homeowners due to its relative affordability and the wide range of color and design options available. 

Fiberglass inserts are made of polyester resin mixed with woven glass fibers, which is then poured into a mold that can be installed as a single unit. After installation, the material is sprayed with a gel coating to preserve the design and integrity. 

Due to the synthetic nature of the materials, it’s easy to change the colors and designs to fit the desired aesthetic of the home. 

Easily Damaged and Short-lived

However, fiberglass does not have a long lifespan compared to other bathroom materials.

Fiberglass tubs and showers typically last 10-15 years, while hardier products can last decades longer—including the material used by Five Star Bath Solutions. 

With fiberglass and its short-lived lifespan, the floor is prone to warping and cracking. 

Harsh cleaning chemicals can cause erosion and fading of the fiberglass, and no matter where it’s installed it is easily scratched and damaged. 

Fiberglass can be patched to try and extend its lifespan, but even with repairs, it will need to be replaced eventually. 

If fiberglass isn’t installed properly, it is also prone to leaks and water damage around the drain. 

Acrylic: Not Meant to Last Forever 

Acrylic Tub

Acrylic is a similar material to fiberglass in that it’s made of a synthetic plastic polymer, which is then reinforced with glass fibers and resin (in essence, it is reinforced with fiberglass). 

Acrylic is more affordable than stone or tile, but slightly more expensive than fiberglass. 

It is more malleable than fiberglass, and thus can be designed with many different shapes and colors. 

Stronger than Fiberglass But Weaker than Tile or Stone

In comparison to fiberglass, acrylic is less prone to scratching and fading. Acrylic is less easily damaged by abrasive cleaners than fiberglass, and it tends to last longer and require fewer repairs. 

However, it is still sensitive to some cleaners and scratches and fades more easily than tile or stone. 

Requires Eventual Replacement

Because acrylic is a lightweight material, it is relatively easy to install and replace compared to materials like tile and stone—but even though it lasts longer than fiberglass, it will still need to be replaced at some point. 

Because of acrylic’s light weight and durability, it is sometimes simply placed over existing showers and bathtubs without demolishing the structure under it.

While acrylic holds up better than fiberglass and avoids many of the pitfalls of tile and stone, it still requires replacement after 10 to 25 years

New Technology Has Led to Newer, Better Materials from Five Star Bath Solutions

As evidenced by the limited options available for bathroom construction, we need to make a change. 

Over the decades, there have been many innovations in homebuilding technology, but bathrooms seem to be lagging behind. 

The main options available over 50 years ago—tile and fiberglass—are still the main options available today. The only difference is that the craftsmanship and technical quality of installation have declined.

It’s time for a change.

An Innovation For Your Modern Bathroom

At Five Star Bath Solutions, we use an innovative new product that checks every box, from visual appeal to durability and cleanliness. 

Bathroom Renovation by Five Star Bath Solutions

All the Benefits with None of the Drawbacks

The idea for our unique material was born in 2004 with the aim of creating a product that looked like stone but didn’t struggle with any of the drawbacks:

  • High price tag
  • Rigorous maintenance
  • Heavy care schedule
  • Health hazards of potential microbe and mold growth

By using a specialized digital printing press, the original product was created. In the years since, it has been honed and perfected. 

The material is a composite, multi-layered panel that checks all of the boxes for a safe, attractive alternative to tile in the bathroom:

  • Microbe and mold resistant
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to maintain
  • Doesn’t chip or fade
  • Is aesthetically attractive 

By sampling real stone, our different colors and designs are a high-resolution copy of stones like granite, travertine, and marble. This means you get the look of high-end stone, with none of the weaknesses.

Call us today at (855) 970-BATH or visit our website fivestarbathsolutions.com to schedule a free design consultation. During which, you’ll be able to see our new material firsthand and discover the benefits for yourself.

Don’t wait any longer, you have nothing to lose!