Best Tub Surround: Top Options for Protecting Your Bathroom Walls

Updated by Lynda Stevens

Moisture tends to ruin walls — they cause mold, rot, and other nasty things. And since bathrooms tend to be the dampest rooms in the house, you need special protection for them.

If you have a bathtub, you have to protect the surrounding space from water damages and overflow. You know that it would be more costly to repair your walls, so it would be awesome to have something that will cover them, and look gorgeous doing it. And a bathtub surround is the prefect solution.

Like you, I used to have the same problem, but I searched for the best tub surround online and in physical stores. In my research, I discovered that I have a wide range of options, so I painstakingly looked at each of them before finally deciding the one that will occupy my bathtub wall space.

For my bathroom, I opted to install the Durawall Thermoplastic Bathtub Surround because it’s sturdy and watertight. The shelves are suitable for my bath essentials, and they’re self-draining too. The glossy finish also makes it resistant to scuff, mold, and mildew.

Our List of the Best Tub Surrounds Are:

ProductDetails
1.Thermoplastic Bathtub Wall Kit

  • High-grade thermoplastic material
  • Fits standard-sized bathtubs and whirlpools
  • Six self-draining, molded-in, and large shelves
  • Five-panel wall system with overlapping edges and seamless corner panels
  • Mold and mildew resistant
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2.American Standard Bathtub Wall Set

  • High-gloss acrylic material
  • Six shelves to hold full-size bathroom products
  • Center wall area is bare for comfortable movement
  • Easy to install
  • Interlocking groove and tongue prevent water seepage
  • Limited lifetime warranty
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3.Sterling Plumbing Bathtub Wall Surround

  • Designed for smaller spaces
  • Solid Vikrell material for durability, strength, and lasting beauty
  • Curved wall with integrated storage shelves
  • High-gloss finish
  • 18” apron design
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4.Swanstone 3-Panel Bathtub Wall Kit

  • Authentic compact surface
  • Suitable for a standard tub area
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Heat-resistant walls
  • Accessories sold separately
  • Limited lifetime warranty
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1. Thermoplastic Bathtub Wall Kit

The Durawall Bathtub Wall Kit is suitable for regular bathtubs, and can fit a maximum space of 42” x 72”. A five-piece panel set that’s watertight and sturdy. The molded-in shelves are self-draining and ideal as storage for bathing products. The attractive glossy finish makes it resistant to molds, mildews, and scuffs.

I like that it has six large, self-draining shelves for my shampoo, conditioner, bath salts, and other bath paraphernalia. The design is too simple for my taste, although it has a smooth, colorfast satin finish. I think the manufacturer can improve it by adding a touch of color in some of its parts.

Specs

  • High-grade thermoplastic material
  • Fits standard-sized bathtubs and whirlpools
  • Six self-draining, molded-in, and large shelves
  • Five-panel wall system with overlapping edges and seamless corner panels
  • Mold and mildew resistant

Pros

  • Easy to cut and install
  • Tough and durable
  • Affordable
  • Enhances the bathroom style
  • Easy to clean
  • Watertight

Cons

  • Tricky to cut using a box cutter
  • Too simple design and look

If you’re searching for the best tub surround, you may consider the Durawall Bathtub Wall Kit because it’s stylish and functional. You don’t need any professional help in installing it, so you also save money. Moreover, it’s affordable.

Overall Rating: 4.1

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2. American Standard Bathtub Wall Set

The American Standard Bathtub Wall Set has minimalist and clean lines. Its design complements the Studio tub, but it can also work well with other styles. The attractive and sturdy acrylic walls have deep shelving for the storage of full-size toiletries.

I like its aesthetics because it features a minimalist and uncluttered design with a touch of elegance. It has three large shelves on each side, so I have plenty of storage space for my bath products.

The center wall panel is empty, so I can move around with ease. My only negative comment about this product is that it’s expensive. However, it has high-quality construction, so I feel that I have the best tub surround that offers value for money.

Specs

  • High-gloss acrylic material
  • Six shelves to hold full-size bathroom products
  • Center wall area is bare for comfortable movement
  • Easy to install
  • Interlocking groove and tongue prevent water seepage
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Pros

  • Visually appealing
  • Suitable for tubs of about 18” in height
  • Durable
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Expensive

You may try this bathtub kit from American Standard if you have the budget to pay for a stylish and classy surround.

Overall Rating: 4.6

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3. Sterling Plumbing Bathtub Wall Surround

The Sterling Bathtub Surround complements any modern bathroom design with its curved and sharp lines. It uses Vikrell material, a stone resin composite that remains unyielding and strong. A modular product is easy to piece together.

I like the gentle curves with sufficient, convenient storage space. It gives various options for ensuring that bath products are tidy and organized. If there’s something not to like about this wall surround, it will be its lack of color options and small shelves.

Specs

  • Designed for smaller spaces
  • Solid Vikrell material for durability, strength, and lasting beauty
  • Curved wall with integrated storage shelves
  • High-gloss finish
  • 18” apron design

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Gives the bathroom a striking and classy look

Cons

  • Small shelves
  • Not available in other colors

You may consider the Sterling Plumbing Bathtub Wall Surround if you appreciate curved walls and if you have a small bathroom.

Overall Rating: 5.0

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4. Swanstone 3-Panel Bathtub Wall Kit

The Swanstone bathtub wall kit includes a back panel, two molded corner strips, and two side panels. It’s suitable for tub areas of up to 30” x 60” and can be cut to size easily. It has a solid surface that requires low maintenance and is mold and mildew resistant.

Specs

  • Authentic compact surface
  • Suitable for a standard tub area
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Heat-resistant walls
  • Accessories sold separately
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Pros

  • Non-porous surface doesn’t collect water
  • Helps make bathroom stunning
  • No grout to scrub
  • Clear installation instructions and video from the manufacturer’s website

Cons

Overall, this solid surface wall kit is attractive, easy to install, and long-lasting. It is worth your money because it’s high quality and provides excellent value.

Overall Rating: 4.3

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Bathtub Surround Buying Guide

If you wish to purchase a tub surround, you have to consider the following essential factors.

Size

Tub surround varies in size, so you have to measure first your bathroom space where you’ll put it. Many wall kits indicate their minimum and maximum dimension.

It’s frankly a matter of cutting the panels, but you have to ensure that the stated measurements fit your requirements. It will be a waste of time, money, and effort if you discover you have the wrong size when you’re ready to install it.

Material

You also have to consider the bath surround material. Some of these kits use acrylic, ABS thermoplastic, and other substances. Your choice will affect the bathtub surround durability.

You may purchase an inexpensive model if you’re looking for a short-term solution. However, if you want it to last for years, you have to have a higher budget for high-quality material.

Fiberglass, PVC and ABS Plastic

Plastic and fiberglass are the least expensive tub surrounds, and they can be a DIY project. You can cut and install them with conventional tools you have around the house.

However, they may be difficult to clean because they’re rough and porous. You also have limited choices in terms of style and color.

Cultured Marble

Cultured marble offers a high gloss and luxurious look, and it’s resistant to bath product materials. However, it will scratch easily. Your choice of color ranges from solid colors to granite and marble patterns.

You may use car wax to clean it, but you may need at least another person to install it because it’s heavy. You also have to use a masonry saw blade to cut it. It will chip easily, but you can also repair it effortlessly.

Acrylic

Acrylic is non-porous, lightweight, thick, and has a smooth, easy to clean finish. You can choose from a wide range of patterns and colors. It has a lengthier warranty, and the surface lasts a lifetime and is repairable.

However, you may need a professional to install it because trimming edges can be tricky. Using caustic cleaners can damage the finish significantly, and it’s not repairable.

Solid Surface

Swanstone is an excellent example of this material. It has a smooth surface but is expensive because of its thickness and consistency. You may choose between a custom-made and standard kit.

You also have different options as to patterns and colors. Aside from the expense, you also need special tools to install it. You may need a professional to install it too.

Ease of Maintenance

If you wish to install a bathtub surround, you also have to consider the ease of maintenance, which relates to your chosen material. You have to pick a wall surround that maintains its sparkling and clean look.

Storage and Shelves

You also have to consider the number of shelves and storage spaces. One of the reasons why you need a tub surround is that you have to keep your bath essentials nearby and orderly.

A large family requires extra shelf spaces. You may also consider surrounds that have bars for your towels.

Ease of Installation

Some surrounds require a professional, while most of them are easy to install. Pick a model that suits your capabilities.

Style

You have to consider practicality when you choose a tub surround. You have to ensure that it offers storage spaces for your bath products, and it must have that clean and sparkling look even after many uses. However, you have to consider the aesthetics.

Cost

Some bathtub surrounds are affordable and can serve as an alternative in decorating your bathroom. If you wish to improve the style of your bath area without breaking the bank, you have to pick one that complements the overall theme of the tub.

You can discover some worthy options like the ones I reviewed. It may be tough to choose the best tub surround, but with due diligence, you can find one that suits your requirements.

Final Thoughts

Among all the tub surrounds that I reviewed, I prefer the Durawall Thermoplastic Wall Kit because it fits my budget, and it’s easy to maintain and install.

Moreover, I like its style as it complements my bathroom aesthetics. It also has six large shelves for all my bath essentials. If you’re shopping for a bathtub surround, you may consider this product as well.

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