Bathtub walls can be expensive to tile. It takes time, skill, and patience to perfect the look, but there are alternatives. The best bathtub surrounds make light work of finishing off the tub, are easier to install, and deliver instant results.
We review 7 of the best bathtub surrounds, judging them for their price, quality, and material to make your choice easier.
- Repairable and scratch-resistant
- Fits directly onto other surface
- Maintenance-free subway tile pattern
- Lightweight and modern design
- Limited lifetime warranty
- 6 corner shelves for maximum storage
- Easy to cut the pieces to size
- Interlocked edges, so you don’t need grout
- 100 percent waterproof protects your walls from moisture
- 6 self-draining shelves for storage
- Price is set somewhere in between
- Mold and mildew-resistant
- Unbelievable price
- 6 generous shelves for added storage
- Weighing just 4.38 pounds
- High-quality Veritek so it won't chip or crack
- Stylish tile-effect surface
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Doesn’t fade, scratch, or crack
- Durable and would last for years
- Recreate that swanky hotel bathroom look
Review Methodology: At Sensible Digs, we deeply understand the importance of a reliable, durable, and stylish bathtub surround. Our experts perform hands-on tests, meticulously compare different products, and use their extensive professional experience to evaluate each one. We provide in-depth analysis and assessment, using a range of criteria including design, durability, ease of installation, cost, and aesthetic appeal. We present facts and evidence from our findings to help you make an informed decision. We rank and review each product, identifying key decision-making factors like water resistance, material quality, and maintenance needs. Our aim is to give you a clear benchmark of what sets the best bathtub surrounds apart from their competitors. Our track record of offering trusted, objective, and user-focused reviews makes us your go-to source for all your home improvement needs.
The Best Bathtub Surrounds of 2023
Here is our review of the 7 top bathtub surrounds, based on price, quality, and material. We also look at options like 3-piece and 5-piece kits.
Transolid SWK603660-27 SaraMar 3-Piece Tub Wall Kit
Best Premium Bathtub Surround
This Transolid kit comes with 3 wall panels and 2 color-coordinated inside trim pieces. It measures 36 inches by 60 inches, but you can get it in larger 72-inch and 96-inch panels.
It has a maintenance-free subway tile pattern, which enhances your bathroom style, and the panels glue directly over other surfaces, making them ideal for a bathroom remodel or new construction project.
Because the material has color running all the way through rather than on the surface, it is scratch-resistant and repairable, keeping it looking good for longer.
The downside is you pay for the added quality. This kit costs several times the amount of other examples, but the plus side is it looks good. And to top it all, you get a 10-year warranty, which instills peace of mind when you purchase.
- The color runs through the entire material, so it is repairable and scratch-resistant.
- It fits directly onto other surfaces, making it ideal for remodels.
- You get a maintenance-free subway tile pattern for a modern-looking bathtub surround.
- The 10-year warranty is industry-leading.
- This surround costs several times the amount of other bathtub surrounds.
|Dimensions (inches)||36 x 60 x 60|
|Number of pieces||Three|
American Standard Studio 60-inch x 32-Inch Bathtub Surround
Best Direct To Stud Bathtub Surround
This American Standard bathtub surround comes with a high-gloss finish. It has 6 large corner shelves and is constructed from acrylic. The central wall area is free of shelving to make getting in and out of the bathtub easier.
This surround mounts directly to studs and has a tongue and groove interlocking system so that the panels are watertight to prevent seepage. This model is 60 inches by 32 inches, although you can order it in smaller and larger sizes.
It comes as a 3-piece set, and best of all, you get a limited lifetime warranty to guard against defects in the manufacturing process. It’s also a lot lighter than the Transolid model, so installing it won’t need an army of people to lift it.
- The lightweight and modern design complement the Studio range of bathtubs.
- It fits directly onto studs for a super-secure installation.
- You get a limited lifetime warranty, giving you peace of mind against defects.
- It has 6 generous corner shelves for maximum storage.
- It still costs a lot of money for a molded plastic kit.
|Dimensions (inches)||60 x 32 x 58|
|Number of pieces||Three|
Palisade Shower and Tub Surround Kit
Best Marble Effect
Marble is trendy, but real marble can be expensive and time-consuming to install. With this surround kit, you get a stunning marble effect. The vinyl wall tiles are easy to install and look super realistic. It comes in various colors, including white and grey, darker grey, beige and more.
The kit includes four large pieces, 23.2 inches by 11.1 inches. This lets you get it up in your bathroom in no time at all.
The pieces are made from durable PVC, which is durable to moisture, sunlight, and soap. They’re 100 percent waterproof, so you never need to worry about getting them wet.
- Easy to cut the pieces to size.
- The edges interlock, so you don’t need grout.
- Elegant aesthetic looks good in any space.
- 100 percent waterproof protects your walls from moisture.
- Over 10 color options.
- Durable material can withstand moisture and sunlight.
- It’s a pretty pricey kit.
- Installation is easy but still requires a bit of a learning curve.
|Dimensions (inches)||23.23 x 0.2 x 11.11 (per piece)|
|Material||Vinyl and PVC|
|Number of pieces||Four|
Mustee 56WHT Durawall Fiberglass Bathtub Wall Surround
Best Bathtub Surround With Shelves
This Mustee is another 5-piece wall surround kit. It has 6 substantial self-draining shelves for keeping shampoo and soap, as well as other bathroom items, plus it has seamless overlapping corners and edges for a watertight seal.
These panels are formed from a high-grade thermoplastic and should stay looking good for years to come. It fits standard 60-inch by 30-inch bathtubs, as well as larger 32-inch by 60-inch models. It even accommodates whirlpool baths measuring 42 inches deep and 72 inches wide.
The colorfast satin finish is resistant to mold and mildew and easy to clean, just don’t use abrasive materials like scourers, or you risk damaging the material.
Mustee has pitched this wall surround in the middle price-point, so it should appeal to most customers.
- You get 6 generous, self-draining shelves for storing shampoo and other bathroom items.
- The price is set somewhere in between the cheapest and more expensive wall surrounds.
- It fits standard, large, and whirlpool bathtubs.
- Formed from high-grade thermoplastic that’s mold and mildew-resistant.
- The thermoplastic easily scratches if you use the wrong cleaning products.
|Dimensions (inches)||39.8 x 5 x 59|
|Number of pieces||Five|
Maax 5-Piece Bathtub Wall Kit
Best Budget Bathtub Surround
When it comes to saving the pennies, this Maax bathtub surround is impossible to beat. It costs nearly 7 times less than the Transolid model and almost 4 times less than the American Standard.
This kit comes in 5 biscuit-colored pieces. You also get 6 generous shelves for added storage, although you might want to limit the weight you place on them, as this unit only weighs 4.38 pounds.
It fits bathtubs up to 60 inches in length and 31 inches in width. This is the budget option, so don’t expect the same quality as other models. The material is polystyrene, which may not have the durability of fiberglass or high-grade acrylic.
- The unbelievable price makes this an instant favorite with customers.
- You get 6 generous shelves for added storage.
- This kit is super-lightweight, weighing just 4.38 pounds, so it’s easy to maneuver into place.
- It fits bathtubs up to 60 inches long and 31 inches wide.
- It weighs 4.38 pounds, so the flimsy construction might limit its durability.
- This is not the highest quality bathtub surround you can buy.
|Dimensions (inches)||29.25 x 4.37 x 59.25|
|Number of pieces||Five|
Swanstone Veritek Glue-Up 5-Panel Kit
Best Tile-Effect Bathtub Surround
It seems that 5-panel bathtub surrounds are popular, and this Swanstone model is no exception. We liked the molded tile effect, giving it a higher-quality finish and a style that complements most modern bathroom suites.
It is constructed from Veritek, which is a compression-molded material that is non-porous and has no surface coating to chip or crack. So it should withstand the rigors of the family bathroom without a hitch.
Instead of 6 large shelves, Swanstone has been a little mean and only provided a thin soap rack and a ledge for shower products. Given that this unit costs 5 times more than the budget option, you might have expected more.
This kit is also heavy, weighing 90 pounds, so you might need to recruit help to install it. On the plus side, you also get a limited lifetime warranty, which instills confidence that this bathtub surround will last the distance.
- It’s made from high-quality Veritek, which means it won’t chip or crack.
- You get a stylish tile-effect surface, which complements most bathroom styles.
- You get a limited lifetime warranty, covering you for manufacturer defects.
- This surround is mold and mildew-resistant, keeping it looking its best for years.
- This kit is expensive, costing 5 times the price of the budget model.
- It’s also heavy, weighing 90 pounds, so you might need help maneuvering it into position.
|Dimensions (inches)||32 x 60 x 59.63|
|Number of pieces||Five|
Swanstone Solid Surface Glue-Up 5-Piece Wall Kit
Best Solid Surface Bathtub Surround
If you’ve ever stayed in an expensive hotel and dreamt of reproducing that bathroom style in your home, now you can. The Swanstone solid bathtub surround has the look you want. The solid material is colored all the way through, so there is no surface coating to chip or scratch.
It will not crack; it is mold and mildew-resistant and is ideal for bathroom remodels and new constructions. Furthermore, it can withstand heat up to 450° F.
On the downside, you sure pay for this durability and style. It costs almost 8 times the price of the budget model, and it weighs over 100 pounds, so you won’t be installing this on your own.
That said, if you are in the market for a high-quality bathtub surround that will last for years, once you reconcile the price, this is a fantastic option.
- The material is color-through, so it doesn’t fade, scratch, or crack.
- Bang for the buck because of its proven durability.
- This surround scores highly for durability. Even though it costs a lot, it will last the distance.
- You can recreate that swanky hotel bathroom look, adding a touch of class to your home.
- This kit is expensive, costing almost 8 times the price of the budget model.
- Limited color option.
|Dimensions (inches)||60 x 60 x 30|
|Number of pieces||Five|
|Product||Best||Weight||Dimensions||Material||Number of pieces||Price||Warranty|
|Transolid SaraMar 3-Piece Kit||Best Premium||180 lbs||36″ x 60″ x 60″||Saramar||3||$$$$$||10-year|
|American Standard Studio Bathtub Surround||Best Direct To Stud||27 lbs||60″ x 32″ x 58″||High-gloss acrylic||3||$$$$||Limited lifetime|
|Palisade Shower and Tub Kit||Best Marble Effect||118 lbs||23.23″ x 0.2″ x 11.11″||Vinyl and PVC||4||$$$||10-year|
|Mustee Durawall Fiberglass Wall Surround||Best With Shelves||25 lbs||39.8″ x 5″ x 59″||Thermoplastic fiberglass||5||$$$||1-year|
|Maax 5-Piece Bathtub Wall Kit||Best Budget||4.38 lbs||29.25″ x 4.37″ x 59.25″||Polystyrene||5||$||1-year|
|Swanstone Veritek Glue-Up||Best Tile-Effect||90 lbs||32″ x 60″ x 59.63″||Veritek||5||$$$$||Limited lifetime|
|Swanstone Solid Surface||Best Solid Surface||102.8 lbs||60″ x 60″ x 30″||Solid surface||5||$$$$$||Limited lifetime|
How To Choose the Best Bathtub Surround
Getting the best bathtub surround is a challenge. There are some things you should keep in mind when making your choice. Here are the key considerations.
How To Install Bathtub Surrounds
Once the tub is fitted and you’ve removed the faucets and other fixtures, you need to attach the surround. Here’s the best way to do it.
1. Measure Twice
Grab a tape measure and double-check the length and width of the surrounding walls next to the bath. Remember to measure each surface that the bathtub makes contact with. Some tub surrounds are designed to fit the entire length of the wall, which is great for freestanding baths, but you want one that reaches the edge of the tub where it meets the wall.
2. Select the New Surround
Once you have the measurements, it’s time to select the new surround. They come in many different styles and materials, ranging from plastic acrylic to ABS. Some panes are wrap-around types and come as one complete unit with the sides attached, while others have individual panels that need to be connected together.
If you are going for wood, metal, or stone, expect to pay a lot more, and you might need special tools to install it, which increases your workload.
3. Install the Surround
Check the height of your walls, making a series of marks to denote the dimensions of the surround. Grab a carpenter’s level to join up the dots in a straight line.
The horizontal guideline needs to be plumb, even if the bathtub is not, which is where the carpenter’s level comes in.
Offering up the surround is the best way to see if it fits. It also gives you the chance to see where you need to cut openings for faucets and other fittings. This can be tricky to do on your own, so enlist some help for this.
4. Make Your Cuts
Now that you have dry-installed the panel and marked where you need to cut for faucets, showerheads, and other features, you are ready to start cutting. Grab a hole saw or jigsaw and carefully make the cuts.
Offer the panel back onto the wall to check your accuracy. If you need to make adjustments, repeat this process until you get it right.
Remember that you only get one shot at cutting these holes, so getting it wrong could be costly as you may need to buy another surround.
5. Fit the Surround
Use a caulk gun and a trowel to spread the adhesive over the wall evenly. The adhesive sets quickly, so if your surround comes in individual panels, focus on one wall at a time.
Offer up the tub surround and press firmly, making sure that the glue covers the surround in all areas. Use your guideline to make sure the surround is square. If you are fitting panels one at a time, start with the sides rather than the back panel.
6. Reinstall the Fixtures
Allow the surround to dry for 24 hours before you attempt to do any more work. Tug it to see if the panels have set. If it feels impossible to move, you are good to start sealing the edges and the fixtures to make them watertight.
Remember that individual panels will need waterproof silicone to seal between each section, or you might get water seeping behind the surround, which could cause damp issues.