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When installing a bathroom or renovating an existing one, the builder has several options regarding the installation of a shower stall. The easiest option is the prefabricated shower stall, which is molded or otherwise built in a factory and delivered either as one solid unit or in a few easy to assemble pieces. Installing a prefabricated shower stall generally does not take long, nor does it require a significant amount of effort, unlike custom shower stalls built from tile or stone. Such stalls do have drawbacks, however, the most significant of which include durability and aesthetics.
In the past, a prefabricated shower stall was fairly limited in terms of aesthetic appeal, as the materials used to mold the shower stalls generally came in two tints: white or beige. Improvements have been made, however, and more colors and designs are now available, but a prefabricated shower stall made from plastic or vinyl is still likely to be less aesthetically pleasing than other options. If installed incorrectly, prefabricated stalls can also warp or peel away from the wall, potentially leading to the build-up of mold behind the shower stall itself. These stalls will generally need to be replaced more often than custom stalls, though not always.
In terms of cost, it is hard to beat a prefabricated shower stall. The stalls are reasonably quick and easy to fabricate in the factory, so the cost to the consumer tends to be quite low. Installation is also relatively easy, which means installation costs can be much lower. The savvy homeowner can even install the prefabricated shower stall himself or herself, though it is usually best to hire a professional to do the job. Prefabricated stalls tend to be lightweight, which means no extra reinforcement of the floor will be necessary, as is the case when using a cast iron tub.
Molded tubs are not the only prefabricated shower stall models on the market, either. Glass enclosures are also available for purchase, and the installation process, while usually more complex than a molded tub, is fairly straightforward and far less work than installing a tile tub or cast iron tub. Smaller prefabricated tubs may be used in conjunction with other materials as well. Some shower stalls feature a molded base with a drain in the middle, and the walls can be made of tile or other custom materials; molded walls can also be used for lower cost and easier installation.
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