Is a Tiled Shower Better than a Prefabricated Insert?

shower remodeling

Although tiled shower walls can be incredible works of art, there are a lot of reasons that a prefabricated insert may be a better choice for you. From being easier to keep clean to a variety of stunning color and texture options to choose from, prefabricated inserts rival tile walls in more ways than one.

Are you having trouble deciding which one is the better choice for you? We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of both below to help you make up your mind.

Tiled Wall Pros:

  • Tile is long-lasting. Tile can take a lot of wear and tear. It’s solid and, when installed properly, difficult to crack and break. These qualities help it last a long, long time. If you’re happy with the tile you choose and never want to change it, you may never have to.

  • Tile is aesthetically pleasing. There’s no denying that tile is beautiful. When installed in intricate patterns, it adds depth and contrast to the kitchen floor, bathroom walls, or wherever it may be.

Tiled Wall Cons:

  • Tiles go out of style. Tile itself doesn’t got out of style, but the style of tile does. In fact, if you were looking at tile at your local home improvement store only six months ago and were to go back in today, odds are you wouldn’t find the same tile you had your eye on before. Think about a home that was built in the 70s or 80s. The tile in it would likely be smaller and smooth with no texture or pattern and it would likely be a pink, brown, or green color. While that may have been all the rage then, large stone-like tiles are what people are looking for today. And ten or twenty years down the road, it may be something else entirely.

  • Tile can be difficult to keep clean. Although keeping soap scum off of the surface of the tiles isn’t too difficult to do and has to be done on any type of shower wall, tile can be more difficult to keep clean than other types of walling because of the grout. Grout is porous and makes it easy for moisture to get in and, in turn, allow mold to grow. Keeping grout clean can be a massive and exhausting undertaking.

  • Tile can be difficult and timely to install. If you’re planning to do your tile yourself, you may find that it’s not what you expected. Tile takes a lot of time and energy to install and even if you’re doing a simple pattern, it’s important to follow all prep steps to ensure that the tile lays properly and doesn’t crack after some wear and tear. Aside from cutting the tile, it’s recommended that you dry fit your pattern before setting it in mortar. Between all these steps it needs hours and sometimes even days to set before the next step can be done. Your “quick” tile project may end up being a lot longer than you originally thought.

  • Tile can be expensive. Although there are a lot more options out there and tile has become more and more affordable, long-lasting and worthwhile tile will cost a pretty penny. You may need to budget extra in order to get the tile you actually want.

Prefabricated Insert Pros:

  • Prefabricated inserts are easy to install. Whether you’re planning on doing it yourself or hiring a professional, prefabricated inserts take much less time to install and can give you what feels like a brand new bathroom within about a day.

  • Prefabricated inserts are affordable. Finding an insert that you like won’t always mean that you have to up your budget. Prefabricated inserts are so affordable you may not even have to think twice before making a purchase.

  • Prefabricated inserts are long-lasting. Although tile can last a long, long time, prefabricated inserts can make it through a lot too. After so long, though, it’s always time to upgrade, no matter what kind of shower walling you have.

  • Prefabricated inserts come in a variety of color and style options. With the development of technology, the options available when it comes to prefabricated insert colors and patterns has expanded. You no longer have to choose between white and white. You can choose between all different kinds of patterns and colors including patterns that look like tile.

  • Prefabricated inserts are easy to clean and maintain. Because there aren’t many nooks and grooves to get into, getting prefabricated inserts clean and free of soap scum, mold, etc. isn’t very difficult to do and doesn’t require almost constant attention to keep it that way.

Prefabricated Insert Cons:

  • Prefabricated inserts may appear cheap. Despite available color and pattern options, if you don’t choose the right manufacturer, you may end up with a prefabricated insert that looks cheap and definitely detracts from the look you were actually going for.

  • Prefabricated inserts may need to be replaced more frequently. Because they don’t last as long as tile, prefabricated inserts may need to be replaced more often than a tile wall. Wear and tear can cause dings and dents or the overall appearance may just fade with time, leaving you with the need for a new one.

  • Prefabricated inserts aren’t always unique. If you’re looking for that perfect backdrop to your one-of-a-kind, personally designed bathroom, a prefabricated insert may not be right for you. Because of their affordability and how easy they are to install, a lot of people choose to get prefabricated inserts when finishing or refinishing their bathroom. That means that if you’re opting for a plain white insert, you’re probably going to meet someone else who has the same one at some time or another.

  • Prefabricated inserts stain more easily. Although they are made from hard materials and finished to ensure that they can withstand the wear and tear of everyday life, prefabricated inserts can be stained. Whether from the kids’ markers or soap scum build up, odds are you’ll get a stain at some point or another.

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