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Acrylic Shower Wall Panels: Waterproof & Budget Friendly

June 4th, 2024 | 4 min read

By Callie Lovejoy


“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” - Jim Watkins.

Water is essential to life and yet it also represents a huge problem in our homes when it finds a way into places it isn’t supposed to be. When water gets through shower walls it can cause tiles to fall off the wall, rust, structure damage, ugly discoloration, a bad odor, and of course mold.

Acrylic shower walls offer a budget-friendly alternative to tile showers with greater waterproofing and virtually no maintenance. You can also erase any ideas you have of acrylic showers from years ago. The acrylic of today has superior quality and value than the acrylic of the past.

JSB Home Solutions has been remodeling central Ohio bathrooms for over 45 years and we are always searching for alternatives to traditional materials that bring quality and value to our customers. Whether you choose to work with us or not, acrylic shower walls can give you the peace of mind that water is not causing damage to your home.

Acrylic wall panels as a tub surround with glass shower door.

Table of Contents:

  • What are Acrylic Shower Walls?
  • Timeline of Acrylic Shower Walls
  • Cost of Acrylic Shower Walls
  • Advantages of Acrylic Shower Walls
  • Disadvantages of Acrylic Shower Walls

As you read this article, consider the things you value most in a shower. Maybe it’s relaxing, easy to clean, or low maintenance. Evaluate how acrylic shower walls fit into your idea of an ideal shower to decide if this is the best option for your bathroom remodel.

What are Acrylic Shower Walls?

Acrylic shower walls are a plastic based product that comes in large panels for shower applications. The non-pourous nature of acrylic means that it is completely waterproof. Acrylic is also one of the most budget friendly materials for shower panel systems.

As you consider acrylic as an alternative to tile or solid surface shower walls, you will want to understand how it will affect the timeline of your bathroom project.

Timeline of Acrylic Shower Walls

JSBHomeSolutionsHowLongDoesABathroomRemodelTakeCalculator-768x472Acrylic shower walls are simple to install and only take 1-2 days. Acrylic panels come in large sheets and are cut down to the size needed at the job site. Then they are glued to the shower walls using a specific adhesive. Joints and corners are sealed with silicone to keep water out from behind the panels. Once everything is set, your new acrylic shower is ready to enjoy!

Your shower will be a large piece of your bathroom project cost, so you will want to choose a material that keeps your project budget in line with your budget goal.

Cost of Acrylic Shower Walls

It is beneficial to talk about shower costs in two parts: the purchase price of the shower and the maintenance costs of the shower.

Acrylic comes in natural stone and tile colors and patternsPurchase: The cost of panels is the largest expense of buying acrylic shower wall panels. Installation is straightforward and comparable to solid surface, both being 3-5x less expensive than tile installation. After materials and installation for a standard shower with acrylic walls, you are looking at $8,000 - $13,000.

Maintenance: With virtually no maintenance for the life of your acrylic shower, maintenance costs are essentially $0.

As you start to put together what you want your bathroom remodel experience to be, consider the advantages and disadvantages of acrylic shower walls.

Advantages of Acrylic Shower Walls

1. Less Expensive than Solid Surface

Since acrylic is a plastic-based product, it is a less expensive material than stone-based solid surface shower walls. Installation costs are comparable and both materials have virtually no maintenance costs (more on that later).

Shower Head - Water2. Waterproof

As mentioned earlier, acrylic is non-porous meaning that water cannot penetrate past the surface of the panels. Any joints between acrylic pieces are sealed with silicone, another waterproof material so that water cannot cause hidden damage to the structure behind your shower walls.

3. Easy to Clean

Acrylic shower walls are smooth and cleaning is as simple as wiping down the material.

3. No Maintenance

It is not uncommon for acrylic showers to last 30+ years with no maintenance. Occasionally, the silicone joints may need to be reapplied but usually not more than once in the shower’s lifetime.

Disadvantages of Acrylic Shower Walls

1. Less Durable than Solid Surface

By nature of the materials used to manufacture them, plastic-based acrylic is a softer material than stone-based solid surface. It is possible to dent and scratch acrylic. While acrylic is less durable than solid surfaces, it still withstands normal wear and tear with minimal visual signs.

2. Sensitive to Harsh Cleaning Agents and Abrasives

Tile showers can withstand cleaning with harsh chemicals and abrasives but these products should be avoided with acrylic showers. There are still plenty of cleaning products that are safe for acrylic. Just be sure to check with your remodel company or the product’s manufacturer to be safe.

3. Limited Sizes and Shapes of Shower Bases

Acrylic shower bases are pre-fabricated to set sizes and shapes. Most of the time, this doesn’t pose a problem because they are the most common sizes for showers and tub surrounds. 

Here at JSB, we remedy this by using the same bases as our solid surface showers. All of our shower bases are made of a solid-surface-like material from The Onyx Collection. This lets us have more flexibility with sizes and shapes than all acrylic showers.

4. Limited Selection in Colors and styles

Acrylic also comes in a more limited selection of colors and styles. If you are looking for a quick, no maintenance, lower cost shower wall, and designs and styles are a lower priority, acrylic is for you. If you want a more custom look, a solid surface will give you a larger variety of colors, textures, and patterns.

Are Acrylic Shower Walls Right for Your Bathroom Remodel?

The power of water is magnificent to see in nature at places like Niagara Falls. But that power should not be let loose in your bathroom, hidden behind shower walls that are not waterproof.

Acrylic shower walls provide a completely waterproof space for you to enjoy maintenance-free for years to come. Your shower walls will be only one piece of your bathroom remodel project so consider the big picture of your overall bathroom project cost and bathroom project timeline as you choose materials.

Your future self will thank you with water worries being a thing of the past! If you want to talk to a design consultant about the shower wall options we install, schedule a free in-home consultation with JSB Home Solutions.

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