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Answers to F.A.Q.'s

31. What are the pros and cons of Bathtub Liners?
   
     Bathtub liners are molded plastic, PVC, or acrylic inserts that are placed over an existing bathtub and are marketed as an alternative to replacement or refinishing. The pros and cons are as follows:

Pros

  • Most liners are fairly durable and resist chipping and scratching.
  • Liners may be appropriate to use in dorms or rental properties where tubs are more likely to be subject to heavy use.
  • Liners may be the only alternative to replacement for tubs which are severely damaged or deteriorated to a point where they can't be economically refinished.

Cons

  • Most liners are boxy with a look and feel of plastic.
  • Liners come in a limited number of colors.
  • Liners are expensive.  While liners themselves usually cost $125 - $175, the total price to the consumer tends to be from $650 - $1500.
  • Sales of liners are often accompanied by high pressure sales pitches for new plumbing and liner walls raising the costs considerably.
  • Liners can take 4-8 weeks to install.  They must be custom molded which requires; one trip of the liner installer to measure, time to order and make the liner in the factory, time to ship, and a second trip to do the installation.
  • Liners can create plumbing problems because the added thickness of the liner will require an extension of the drain and overflow.
  • If the liner does not match the contours of the existing tub, then the liner may flex back and forth and can crack over time, creating a leak.  Contoured liners cost extra.
  • Liners have a persistent reputation for allowing water to accumulate between the old tub and the new liner.  This water is impossible to remove completely. The result is a "squishy" feeling each time someone steps in and out of the tub.  In addition, the standing water can become stagnant, creating odor problems and an unhealthy bathing environment.  Any small crack or hole which develops in the liner or the caulking along the seam between the liner and the wall surround will allow water to penetrate.
  • Liners are fairly durable, but they can be scratched and damaged.  They will eventually wear out.
  • Liners are difficult to replace.  Since liners are glued to the old tub when installed, they usually have to be ripped or cut out in order to replace them.

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