The Cost of Ownership: Exposing the Pitfalls of Shower Surfacing Materials

The Cost of Ownership: Exposing the Pitfalls of Shower Surfacing Materials

The material chosen for shower surfaces has a significant impact on a wide range of things, ranging from the initial cost of installation to the amount (and cost) of maintenance needed to keep it in good condition, and even the lifespan you can expect from the material. There are quite a few options out there, but we will limit this discussion to fiberglass, tile and Solid Surface.


When it comes to affordability, few materials can beat fiberglass. It’s very cheap, and it’s also relatively easy to install. However, it is definitely not the best solution for custom shower solutions. Fiberglass is easily cracked. In fact, some showers will eventually crack through general use. Once it has cracked, you’re faced with problems stemming from water leakage, including mold and bacterial growth. Finally, fiberglass shower surrounds and bases simply do not stand the test of time. This material’s short lifespan means that you’ll be paying for renovations sooner rather than later.


Tile is relatively affordable and widely available. You’ll find it in just about any color you want, or you can choose from designed or patterned tiles if you prefer. However, while the tiles themselves might be affordable, the labor needed to install them is not. This is particularly true if you’re renovating an area, because all existing structures will need to be removed before any tile can be laid. Then there’s the prospect of cleaning and maintenance – cleaning grout is a nightmare, but it is unavoidable.

Grout will absorb moisture and can quickly become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Of course, the grout will eventually need to be replaced, which adds even more cost to the equation, and then there’s the prospect of damage (cracks, chips and shattered ties). A damaged tile will need to be removed and replaced. You can’t repair them.

Solid Surface

Solid Surface is not as inexpensive as fiberglass or even tile at the outset. However, that is the only area where it doesn’t outperform competing products and you’ll find that the costs over time are significantly lower. Solid Surface lives up to its name – it is not porous, like tile and grouting. That means cleaning is simple and fast, and you’re able to keep solid surface showers sanitary with ease. Think about the time and money that would save your facility. It might even be possible to re-task your tile repair team and use their services elsewhere.

While maintenance staff will definitely appreciate the reduced labor needed to keep solid surface showers clean, it goes deeper than that. By reducing cleaning time by 50%, your organization saves a significant amount of money over the course of the year.

Because custom shower solutions are exceptionally durable, you can expect to see those savings continue for a decade or two. And, with no worries about water leaks from one-piece Solid Surface shower bases, you don’t have to fear the damage and repair costs caused by water leaks from leaking or missing tile grout or broken fiberglass. There’s also the fact that reduced cleaning requirements will mean less use of caustic chemicals, which is good news for both your bottom line and the environment.

Finally, Solid Surface offers a significant amount of peace of mind. With fiberglass and other surface materials, you generally get a single year of warranty coverage. With Meridian Solid Surface, that coverage is for a full 15 years, ensuring that even if something does go wrong, you’re protected.

In the end, Solid Surface showers and custom shower solutions are the most economical on the market, but also the most durable and require the least amount of maintenance. Contact us today to learn more.

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