When it comes to kitchen counters, bathroom vanities, shower bases and the like, you have plenty of options in terms of materials from which to choose. Tile is one of the most popular materials on the market due to its relatively low cost, but it might not actually be worth your money (or your client’s) in the long term. In fact, when you drill down into the details, Solid Surface wins out over tile in the test of time.
We’ve broken down the entire cost equation between the two materials into individual segments to better highlight how each performs and why tile might not be the best choice for your build.
Installation of Tile and Solid Surface
It’s no secret that tile is difficult to install. It requires a considerable amount of prep work, and any existing structures must be removed before the first tile can be laid. In comparison, Solid Surface can be installed over quite a few existing structures, which eliminates a lot of wasted time and effort, as well as reducing costs. Solid Surface shower products are made to fit your space; each item is manufactured to your specification – for new or existing structures. That means creating Solid Surface shower walls, shower surrounds and bases is fast and easy, allowing a swifter completion time and reducing construction/renovation costs.
Tile is touted as being low maintenance, but that’s not actually the case. The grout must be kept clean to avoid moisture absorption and mold growth, and the entire surface will need to be re-grouted periodically to ensure that it lasts. That’s both expensive and time-consuming. Solid surface, on the other hand, has no need for grout. That means no lengthy cleaning, no worries about mold growth, and no re-grouting with Solid Surface shower walls.
Dealing with Damage to Tile and Solid Surface
Most manufacturers tout tile as being very durable when in fact it’s actually not. A single dropped object can crack a tile. A slip and fall can shatter several. Once a tile is damaged, the entire tile will need to be removed before it can be replaced. Of course, there’s also the chance for damage to adjacent tiles during the removal process. With Solid Surface shower surrounds and shower bases, the product is not only resistant to damage, but can often be repaired when damage does occur.
Of course, damage isn’t limited to cracked or shattered tiles. They can also be scratched and abraded. When this happens on a tiled surface, the tiles will need to be replaced. There is no way to repair them in place. Again, this leads to the potential for damage to surrounding tiles during the removal process. Solid surface shower walls and surrounds can be refinished easily, in contrast. That saves time, money and hassle.
In the End
When everything is said and done, it’s obvious that Solid Surface wins out. It is easy to install, and repairs are simple. Maintenance is low, and affordable, and the costs of ownership over time are also low. Tile, on the other hand, requires a significant investment of time and effort just to install. Maintenance costs (both time and money) are high, and damaged tiles cannot be repaired – only replaced.
In the end, a low initial price tag that’s outweighed by high lifetime costs is definitely not a bargain. Solid surface shower walls, surrounds, bases, vanities and counters might come at a slightly higher initial price, but the reduced maintenance and ability to repair damage rather than replace means that, ultimately, it’s a far more affordable solution for both professionals and property owners.