If your bathtub looks like it needs updating or replacing, you may consider installing an acrylic bathtub liner over your existing tub. At first glance, acrylic liners seem like cost-effective and durable alternatives to a complete tub replacement. However, acrylic bathtub liners are accompanied by an array of potential problems that may have you returning to the planning board.
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Acrylic bathtub liners are not a remodelling option for all types of bathtubs. Some companies do not install acrylic liners over fibreglass bathtubs, and very few companies install acrylic liners in whirlpool or jetted bathtubs. Even if your bathtub is suitable for an acrylic liner, there are a limited number of colours available; for bathrooms with an unusual colour scheme, the colour options may be limiting if you are hoping to creative a cohesive colour palette. If your bathtub does not fit the standard or stock sizes of the liner company, your acrylic liner may have to be special-ordered to fit.
One of the most common criticisms of all bathtub liners is the propensity to a build-up of moisture between the liner and the original tub. Acrylic liners are installed directly onto an existing tub that has been prepared though cleaning and sanding. Though professional installation reduces the likelihood of cracks, holes or spaces between the tub and the liner, it is still possible for moisture to accumulate between the two surfaces. While the water build-up can cause buckling or puckering in the liner, the biggest concern of moisture is the spread of mould and mildew. Mold spores are hazardous to health, especially for people with asthma or allergies. Once moisture has penetrated the liner, it cannot be removed without removing the entire liner.
Many homeowners choose bathtub liners because they are less expensive than completely replacing an old bathtub. However, acrylic liners are the most expensive option for bathtub liners. The total cost of an acrylic liner, including installation, can range from as low as £520 to as much as £2,600, depending on the size of the bathtub and level of customisation. If your liner includes custom sizing, full shower surround and inlets for shampoo or soap, the cost of the liner increases. Though some homeowners may attempt to save money by installing the liner themselves, professional installation is the best way to guard against installation errors that reduce the durability and lifespan of the liner.
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