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Pre-fab tub/shower surround or tiled walls?

We're starting planning on remodeling two full baths in a 1972 townhouse. We expect to live in it for up to 5 more years before selling and moving. We're in a starter community (first homes) , so we want the baths to look nice and have easy upkeep. I really like the look of the newest pre-fab surrounds I've seen, and I think they'd be easier to clean and maintain. But will they adversely affect the desirability of our house for a first-time home buyer? These bathrooms are tiny, just big enough for a tub, toilet and vanity.
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October 28 2013 - Burke
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Replies (16)

Tile, if done well, is hard to beat.
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October 28 2013
I think tile looks higher end.  The surrounds look like you went for cheap.
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October 28 2013
There are some pros and cons to each...

 Surrounds offer simple, quick installation and are often MUCH easier to clean and keep clean. They are only available in certain sizes though, so not much in the way of options.

 Tile offers a much more diverse look and feel with so many patterns, textures, and materials to choose from. Tile can also offer so much more in the way of high end look and finishes with the added benefit of more customization for size and storage. Grout lines are always a concern as far as keeping them clean and water tight, but with modern day advances and the new sealers on the market, this concern has virtually been eliminated.

 My vote: TILE - because it offers a lot more and looks better when finished.
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October 28 2013
Tile is lovely but what is the cost comparatively to a new tub surround. I think if you live in your house 5 more years which option will hold up better and cleaner for when you decide to put your house on the market.  You did say that you have a starter home-which one will give you the biggest bang for the buck.  You didn't say where you are located -I think it would make a difference as far as expectations of buyers.
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October 28 2013

Comparing the two is like apples and oranges , you get what you pay
for. The reason the surrounds are cheaper is because they look cheap
and are cheap.

Tile surrounds are a long lasting in value, they can go along with your homes integrity and help keep value in your home and are a definite
selling point later.
But as said in other posts only if they are done correctly.
-Joseph-

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October 28 2013
You will receive higher payback with a tiled surround.
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October 30 2013
Hi Scott.

Always go with tile if you're thinking of resale value and appreciation.  I would put surrounds into rehabs if I were doing them at a college/campus area only.

GOOD LUCK.
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October 31 2013
I would do tile surround.  They look better and last way longer.  The Tile Shop has great tile and good prices.  That pre fab plastic can stain pretty quickly.
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November 08 2013
 Unless you are willing to pay top dollar for a great tile man/women, I would go with the surrounds.  Maintenance is way easier leaving time for more important things. It has been my experiences that a cheap/ok company will leave you with a damp smelling cave in your bathrooms, that leak , never seam to dry, are constant maintenance especially on a plywood subflooring vs. a slab.  I am sure there are many around that can do it right. I just haven't seen many of them.

 Good Luck in any direction you go.

Rick
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November 12 2013
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December 24 2013
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The cost is actually the same for the most part and if you do a surround you are just covering up an ugly problem. I had mine gutted and rebuilt. This was so much better. Tile all the way up the walls and everything. Just be sure to go with a smaller company, the big ones will take you for a ride. - Fort Washington, MD 
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December 28 2013
I think if you can afford it tile is the wy to go. It looks much more high end and is much classier than the built in style. In high end homes you will only find tile.

Have fun renovating.

Greetings from Sunny Florida

Allister Lenn

Broker Associate
DECORUS REALTY LLC
[Contact information removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for more information.]
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December 28 2013
All the contributors have valid points. I'm sure you'll decide what is best with what means you have.  As far as your question, will it effect your 1st time home buyers?  My opinion is no.  All things being equal, yes tile is better but the most important factors would be to keep it in good working order and looking as new as possible.  Many town homes in Burke have "pre-fab surrounds" and it does not effect the sales of those properties.  It may not fetch top dollar but the difference in 1 bathroom surround relative to the other factors would be minuscule. What does is disrepair, being dated and level of cleanliness.  Most people don't expect to see the most highest grade materials, fixtures or appliances in a townhouse in Burke. As long as things are kept clean you should have no problem with the selling of your home.

I hope this helps. Thank you for your time.
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February 18
Profile picture for zuser20140220143743159
I would go prefab 1st time buyers of small houses would not have the experience or past judgement to admire tile,its cheaper so home price down a little! and NOits not going "cheap" as the opinionated"  woman above states not all of us can afford tile!
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February 20
I will tell you what, most people would like the tiled areas with grout since it is traditional. I like the surround prefab type walls for less maintenance, looks great and easy to clean. The tile grout needs to be cleaned regularly and always looks dirty.
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February 20
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I think the surrounds look cheap!  I'd never have one.
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April 27
 
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Pre-fab tub/shower surround or tiled walls?
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