What is a Bathtub Liner?

April S. Kenyon

Bathtub liners are thin linings made of hard plastic PVC or acrylic material that fit over existing bathtub fittings. They are used to quickly and easily cover an unsightly bathtub. The most common type of bathtub liners are acrylic, tend to be more durable, and have the look and feel of a ceramic bathtub.

Bathtub liners can quickly and easily cover an unsightly bathrub.
Bathtub liners can quickly and easily cover an unsightly bathrub.

Installing a bathtub liner is easier and less expensive than renovating an entire bathroom. They are available in many colors and can make the existing bathtub look new again. Rather than having to tear out the old bathtub and replace the plumbing and drywall, a homeowner can easily have a bathtub liner installed and save the time and money it would cost to replace the entire bathtub. Liners are also easy to clean and maintain.

Bathtub liners are typically made to PVC or acrylic.
Bathtub liners are typically made to PVC or acrylic.

Bathtub liners are best installed over old bathtubs that have minor cosmetic damage but still work properly, and a bathtub liner will not fix a leaky or cracked bathtub. Liners that are not properly installed will lead to problems with water leakage. This can cause damage to the walls and floors, which may lead to more expensive renovations within the bathroom. Leaky bathtubs can also cause mold and mildew buildup, which can cause damage and allergy problems.

Installing a bathtub liner should only be done by a licensed contractor. Contractors who install these liners can be found easily through most home department stores. The contractor will measure the existing bathtub, and the new liner will be glued into the tub with heavy industrial strength glue. Bathtub liners can be very difficult to remove, and almost impossible to do so without damaging the existing tub.

Bathtub liners made of PVC or acrylics are safe for both children and adults. The material used in the manufacturing of these liners does not contain elements that are damaging to a person's health. Bathtub liners are installed in one piece, so there is no messy grout or silicone to deal with. The liners are no more than one quarter of an inch (6.35 mm) thick, so the homeowner will not sacrifice the size or volume of the existing bathtub.

A slick, smooth surface is appealing to many, but it may also present a danger in falling. Sometimes a bath mat or non-slip appliques may be necessary if a bathtub liner with a smooth surface is installed. Non-slip bathtub liners offer an alternative to mats and appliques that may leave markings behind on tubs.

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