What to Know Before Buying: Bathtub and Shower Liners

If fitted properly, a quality bathtub or shower set ought to last for decades. They are repairable over time. But eventually they will be too damaged to be repaired on the spot. 

Showers and tubs made of acrylic or fibreglass may develop huge holes or suffer from severe cracking. The enamel on steel or cast iron tubs may chip, rust, or crack. When your bathtub or shower does develop problems, a complete replacement is occasionally the best option. However, it is also the most expensive option, so it could not work with your current budget.

Surface refinishing or reg lazing is one alternative if you aren’t ready to replace a tub or shower, but the results are frequently subpar, and the fix is at best temporary. Installing a bathtub or shower liner is an additional choice, though. 

What Are Shower and Tub Liners?

A solid piece of acrylic or PVC plastic that is made to perfectly fit the contours of your tub or shower unit is known as a bathtub or shower liner. A liner is a solid piece that is custom-made to the exact shapes of a factory tub or shower, as opposed to refinishing, which involves spraying epoxy, urethane, or polymer substance on top of the surface.

The liners typically consist of two parts: a bottom unit that fits over the bathtub or shower pan and an upper portion, known as the surround, that rises from the edge of the tub or shower pan up the walls. The installation is made simpler by the two-part construction. The joints between the lower part and the surround will be completely sealed by the installation crew.

Cost of shower and bathtub liners

A full replacement adds considerably more value to your bathroom (and the worth of your property overall) than a shower or bathtub liner. Tub and shower liners may cost more than you anticipate, and can come close to the expenses for a full-scale tub or shower replacement.

Installation and labour for a basin-only liner can start at about $725 for labour and an equal amount for supplies. This would entail levelling and preparing the existing tub, putting in a tub liner, connecting the plumbing, checking that it functions, and removing the previous liner.

Get several quotes for your project, as well as quotes for replacing the entire tub or shower. Costs of liners can vary depending on a number of things. First off, PVC plastic liners are frequently hundreds of dollars less expensive than acrylic. The cost of a liner may also be impacted by local labour costs and long-distance shipping costs. Few companies and contractors specialize in tub or shower liners, although many perform complete tub or shower replacements.

Purchasing a Shower or Bathtub Liner

Suppliers of bathtub and shower liners make up a somewhat tiny category. Typically, they are local franchised contractors working for a national liner manufacturer.

Online searches for bathtub liners typically turn up full-service installation firms rather than the components needed to line your tub or shower. Another option is to speak with a consultant at a nearby big-box home improvement store about your requirements. 

Large retail chains like Home Depot and Lowes collaborate with regional franchisees to provide a range of installation services, such as shower and bathtub liners.

Installation of shower and bathtub liners

Measuring the Shower or Tub

When you hire a company to install a liner, a local installation expert will first come to your bathtub or shower unit to collect exact measurements and possibly photos.

Placing a liner order

Using this data, a central office determines the tub or shower’s manufacturer and uses vacuum-form technology to construct a precise ABS or PVC shell for the tub or shower unit. Although it is a thinner coating of acrylic, the acrylic shell is identical to the substance used in many tub and shower sets. The shell preparation process can take up to eight weeks.

Putting in the Liner

Installation only requires a few hours once the liner has been delivered to the location. Using silicone adhesives and two-sided tape, the shell is placed directly over the old tub or shower unit once the old fixtures and drain fittings have been removed.

Cleaning and finishing

The work area is cleaned and new drain, overflow, stopper, and tap fixtures are installed. Typically, it takes one day to install a tub or shower liner completely.

Is it Possible to Install Your Own Liner?

Installing a bathtub or shower liner yourself is challenging; it’s usually recommended to hire a liner business to handle the job.

No merchant can offer liners for customers to pick up off the shelf due to the wide variety of forms and sizes. Working with a contractor associated with one of the major national producers of liners is the only practical choice for a full liner installation. However, the surrounding can be completed in half by one person. Prefabricated shower surround panels are available for purchase and can be used to cover the back walls or alcove walls of a shower or a tub. These can be used to hide shoddy tile work or an existing surround, but they won’t cover the tub or shower pan.

The panels are sized appropriately and frequently have corner mouldings to cover the seams. Technically speaking, these are surround kits rather than liners. It is typically better to have both installed by the liner provider because it might be challenging to acquire off-the-shelf surround kits from home centres that exactly match up with professionally installed tub liners.