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Alternatives to Tile Shower Walls: Tile vs. Solid Surface vs. Acrylic

May 26th, 2024 | 4 min read

By Callie Lovejoy

Why do you shower?  That’s kind of a personal question but bear with me! Most of the time, you probably shower to get clean. Occasionally, maybe you shower to relieve stress from a busy day. Showers have magic healing powers for sick kids too.

But an old, worn out, hard-to-keep-clean shower won’t fill any of those needs. What your shower walls are made of can make all the difference between a functional, yet underwhelming shower and a magical oasis that heals the body and the mind. 

We here at JSB Home Solutions installed tile and solid surface shower walls in over 180 Central Ohio bathrooms in 2023 alone. With over four decades of bathroom renovation experience, we will share the advantages and disadvantages of tile, solid surface, and acrylic shower walls so that you can decide which type of shower will best fit your bathroom, regardless of the contractor you work with.

Table of Contents:

Tile vs. Solid Surface vs. Acrylic for Shower Walls

We are about to throw a lot of information at you in this article, so to help you quickly compare the features of each shower wall material, check out this table with all the details.



Solid Surface


Cost after Installation

$2,100 - $17,500

$10,000 - $15,000

$8,000- $13,000

Installation Timeline

3-5 days

1-2 days

1-2 days

Waterproof Rating out of 5





Every 6 months




Depends on maintenance; 5 - 50 years

30+ years

30+ years

Ease of Cleaning Rating out of 5




Durability Rating out of 5





Very High

Wide range of colors and patterns; less than tile

Limited to standard size bases

Grout Lines




What are Tile Shower Walls?

Tile is a highly durable and water-resistant material used in rooms with a lot of water exposure such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry/mudrooms. There are many different materials used to make tiles including ceramic, porcelain, glass, marble, and granite. Tiles can come in many colors, textures, sizes, shapes, and materials, offering limitless creativity in designing a tile shower.

JSB Home Solutions does not install tile showers because we feel that the other shower wall options bring better quality, value, and longevity to our customers.

Tile shower walls offer a great amount of customization but require diligent, regular maintenance. A tile shower requires time and money commitments initially and throughout its life.

The average size of a walk-in shower is 60 inches by 30 inches so we will use this as a guide for time and cost estimates for this article.


Large grey tile in oversized glass-enclosed shower
Large grey tile with dark grout with a shower bench
Dark grey tile with light grout, glass shower door, and shower bench
Natural stone tiles serve as a shower and tub surround

Timeline & Cost of Tile Shower Walls

An average tiled walk-in shower will take about 3-5 days to install. Choosing more decorative features like an accent strip or laying tiles in an intricate pattern like a herringbone pattern may increase the timeline.

“A tiled walk-in shower can cost anywhere from $2,100 to $17,500,” according to Angi.

If creative and classic charm is the look you want, tile shower walls may be the right choice for you. If you are looking for a maintenance free alternative that still offers beautiful style options, solid surface might be the best fit for your goals.

Solid surface shower walls have no grout to maintain or cleanWhat are Solid Surface Shower Walls?

Solid surface shower panels are large sheets made from mineral dust mixed with resin. These materials give solid surface panels a more natural stone look than acrylic panels. Installation is quick and painless, it is completely waterproof, and best of all, there are NO GROUT LINES!!! Silicone is used to seal any joints and corners and there is an ever-growing selection of colors, designs, and textures for solid surface panels.

Solid surfaces are non-porous, making them mold and mildew-resistant. Gone are the days of hoping that your grout is secretly growing things that will affect your health. With nowhere for the water to go but down the drain, mold and mildew have no place to grow in solid surface showers.

JSB Home Solutions installs shower walls by The Onyx Collection which is 63% solid surface materials and 37% proprietary resin to give it the look of natural onyx stone.

White textured Onyx shower walls with accent strip and large shower caddy
Light Onyx shower walls with a dark base and complimentary, vertical accent strip
Grey-marbled Onyx shower walls with subway tile texture and oversized shower caddy
Peppered Onyx shower walls and tub surround with bold black fixtures

Project timelines and costs are important as you plan for your bathroom remodel.

Timeline & Cost of Solid Surface Shower Walls

Solid surface shower wall installation is simple, only taking 1-2 days on average.

The cost of an average shower with solid surface walls after installation is $10,000 - $15,000.

If you want a completely waterproof, maintenance-free shower wall, solid surface walls are a strong competitor. It can be built into almost any size and shape that tile can do. If you want a grout-free shower wall at a smaller price tag, acrylic shower walls might be your thing.

What are Acrylic Shower Walls?Acrylic comes in natural stone and tile colors and patterns

Acrylic shower walls are a plastic-based product manufactured in large sheets that are cut to the size needed for your shower. Now, forget the idea that you have of cheap, ugly acrylic shower walls of the past. Technology has come so far and the acrylic of today is a far better than the acrylic of 20 years ago.

Acrylic shower walls offer a more budget-friendly option to waterproof your shower completely and have many of the same advantages as solid surface shower walls. However, acrylic comes in pre-determined dimensions and is more limited in size than solid surface. Many times this isn’t a problem for homeowners who are replacing a standard-sized shower anyway.

As always, project timelines and costs should be considered as you decide which shower wall material is best for your bathroom project.

Timeline & Cost of Acrylic Shower Walls

Acrylic shower wall installation is almost identical to that of solid surface walls. Installation can be completed in as little as 1-2 days.

The cost of an average walk-in shower with acrylic walls after installation is $8,000 - 13,000.

Are Tile, Solid Surface, or Acrylic Panels Right for Your Shower Walls?

At the end of the day, you want to be able to relax in your clean and inviting shower. When your kids are sick, they should be able to step in and breathe in the magic shower air, free of mold and mildew. While tile offers some creative design options, solid surface and acrylic shower walls bring the functional beauty homeowners crave.

The type of shower wall you choose will affect not only your bathroom remodel timeline, but also the cost of your bathroom remodel. At JSB Home Solutions, we want to give you the tools you need to make informed decisions to give you the best remodeling experience. If you want to talk to us more about your bathroom remodel vision, schedule a free 45-minute in-home consultation to see if we are the right company for you.

After weighing the options of tile, solid surface, and acrylic shower walls, what material you use doesn't have to be a high-stakes guessing game for your bathroom. With the proper knowledge and a clear vision of how you want your space to be, your bathroom walls will be set up for success.

Schedule Free In-Home Consultation