Bathroom Remodel – Stone Surround or Acrylic Surround

February 23, 20243 min read

Upgrading your bathroom with a new shower or walk in tub can greatly improve your home. One key decision in this remodel is choosing your surround material – will it be classic stone surround or lightweight acrylic surround? Both provide sleek, waterproof finishes, but have trade-offs to weigh with appearance, durability, cost, and installation.

In this blog, we’ll cover:

  • Main Differences Between Stone Surround and Acrylic Surround

  • Pros and Cons of a Stone Surround

  • Pros and Cons of an Acrylic Surround

  • Cost and Value Comparison

  • Which is Best for Your Bathroom Remodel?

Main Differences Between Stone and Acrylic Surrounds

The most significant differences between natural stone surrounds compared to man-made acrylic surrounds are:

Appearance: Stone has an elegant, high-end look while acrylic has had major improvements, often appears more basic. However, acrylics come in far more color options.

Durability and Longevity: Natural stone is extremely durable for decades of use. Acrylics can become dulled and scratched over shorter periods.

Water Resistance: Both provide waterproof barriers around wet areas when properly sealed during installation.

Cost: Stone is a premium material with higher costs while acrylic is an affordable alternative.

Weight: Stone surrounds have very heavy weight, sometimes requiring structural enhancements. Acrylics are lightweight.

Installation: Stone requires specialized masonry skills for proper cutting and placement. Acrylics can be installed directly over existing materials.

Now let’s dive into the key pros and cons of each option.

Pros and Cons of Stone Surrounds

Pros

  • Timeless, high-end natural beauty unmatched by artificial materials

  • Extreme durability for life-long use without replacement

  • Can increase resale value of bathrooms significantly

  • Promotes calm with neutral, earthy tones

  • Withstands scratches, stains, and daily wear-and-tear

  • Provides seamless, elegant appearance when installed properly

Cons

  • One of the most expensive bathroom surfacing materials

  • Extremely heavy requiring professional handling

  • Can crack or chip if not protected from direct impacts

  • Risk of damage from improper cutting during installation

  • Grout lines need periodic sealing to prevent mold or mildew

  • Limited color options to work with most stone types

Pros and Cons of Acrylic Surrounds

Pros

  • Budget-friendly option for lavish looks without premium price

  • Wide range of color options from solids to simulated patterns

  • Resists most scratches and stains with durable outer finish

  • Easy installation over many existing tub & shower surfaces

  • Lightweight for DIY or simple professional installation

  • Can mimic stone appearance while avoiding weight and fragility

Cons

  • Surface imperfections appear quicker than with natural stone

  • Durability concerns beyond 5-10 years with dulling or damage

  • Plastic-like rather than authentic texture and appearance

  • Not a value-enhancing upgrade for home resale

  • Minimal thermal mass unlike stone so feels cooler

  • Acrylic-specific cleaners needed to prevent premature wear

Cost and Value Comparison

Stone can cost two to five times more than acrylic with labor and tile costs averaging $5,000+ for a basic tub surround. However, it adds significantly more resale value due to durability and appearance. It also saves costs long-term without any foreseeable replacement needs.

Acrylic delivers big visual impact for smaller budgets at an average installed price of $1,500-$3,000. Lower durability means possible replacement in 5-15 years – incurring added expenses. Still, this upfront value works well if not concerned with home resale.

Which is Best for Your Bathroom Remodel?

Choosing your optimal shower wall or tub surround depends most on your budget, design taste, and timeline in your home. Consider these factors when deciding:

Stone surrounds work well if…

  • You want truly timeless, luxurious bathroom styling

  • You have sufficient budget for premium materials

  • You plan to stay in your home over 10+ years

  • Easy maintenance and durability are preferable

Acrylic surrounds are ideal picks if….

  • Cost savings is your top priority

  • You want to expand color palette possibilities

  • Easier DIY installation is preferred

  • You may sell your home sooner than 10 years

We hope this comparison helps provide clarity and confidence around choosing new stone versus acrylic surrounds in your next bathroom remodel or upgrade. Reach out to the experts at Adaptive Living Renovations with any other tile, tub, or construction questions.

Ready to start your bathroom remodel? Choose 1 of 3 options:

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