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What Are the Different Types of Bathtub Inserts?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2014
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The different types of bathtub inserts are made from fiberglass and acrylic, and can be designed to cover the tub, the tile surround, or both. These systems may be sold as kits for do it yourself homeowners who wish to refinish their bath personally, or they can be custom fit for the bathroom and installed by a professional contractor. The new inserts are often easier to clean than traditional porcelain or tile, and are coated with a glossy finish to resist the growth of mildew and other water loving bacteria.

Bathtub inserts may also be referred to as liners, and are made from hardened, waterproof materials to cover existing tub and tile surfaces. These liners may be sold in standard sizing from local home improvement stores, or ordered in a custom size and shape from a professional contractor. They are typically assembled in pieces over cracked and damaged bathtubs and tile surrounds. Some feature soap dishes, towel rods, safety handles, and shampoo holders. The finished surface may be molded to resemble textured tile or marble.

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The insert may be constructed from acrylic or PVC and backed with fiberglass. The top layer of the material is hard and non-porous, making it water and mildew resistant. It is finished to a high gloss that is easy to clean and attractive to look at. The bottom basin portion of the tub can often be coated with a non-skid surface to make the area safe when wet. The fiberglass reinforcements make the product able to withstand impacts without denting or cracking.

The liner may be installed over the tub alone, or be constructed to fit the tub and surrounding tile as well. The style of the liner often depends on the current condition of the existing bathroom. Bathtub inserts for the tub alone are typically designed to be dropped into the existing tub. Waterproof caulking can then be used to cover any exposed joints between the new tub surface and existing tile or acrylic walls. Tub surrounds can be assembled separately by panels and adhered to the tile without removing it, and are suitable for use with new acrylic inserts or existing ceramic and porcelain tubs.

Hot tubs may also be refinished using bathtub inserts. These liners feature multiple openings for water and air jets, which are situated around the side walls and bottom of the inserts. These liners are often made in custom sizing and shapes, and can fit indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and corner garden tubs as well.

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