Fix St Louis declines to rule on Making America Grout Again

We here at Fix St Louis recognize that we do not work in a democracy, and we accept our fate. In our world, homeowners are the supreme leaders, who can issue one executive order after another, to which we gladly and gratefully comply. We don’t decide and we don’t judge.

But occasionally, homeowners seek our counsel on complex issues, like what should be on the walls surrounding their bathtub or shower base. To which we authoritatively respond, “Gee, I don’t know. What do you like?”

Since many homeowners are not satisfied with that inconclusive answer, let Fix St Louis lay out the 3 major choices, along with the most frequently cited arguments by opposing sides.

Wall Tile – This is by far the most common material we see on tub and shower surrounds. And, they’ve come a long way since the 4-1/4″ square Pepto Bismol Pink, Avocado Green, and Col. Mustard Gold tiles of the ’50’s and ’60’s. Tiles now come in all different sizes and shapes, including ones that resemble those on the NY Subway, which must appeal only to people who have never actually had the unpleasant experience of actually RIDING on the Subway. Some tiles are glossy, some are glassy, and some are stoney. But, all will eventually become grungy. Well, the grout between them, that is. So, if you’d rather not add scrubbing grout lines to your ongoing house cleaning chores, you might want to read on.

Onyx – This is actually a brand name, and if I could find that little “®” on my keyboard I’d use it (oh, guess I did). In any event, let’s just say “Onyx is the new cultured marble”, both of which look like polished stone (think granite countertops). Compared to cultured marble, Onyx is less fragile, looks more like granite (no rock-like streaks, though), and has a spiffy glossy shine. But most importantly when compared to wall tile, there is only one slab per wall – which means there are no grout lines to clean per wall. So, is it more expensive than wall tile? Not really – maybe in the low hundreds of dollars more. That’s because while the Onyx MATERIAL is more expensive than tile, it takes fewer Fix St Louis LABOR HOURS to install it. So, unless those few extra hundred dollars are important to you, or if you really, really like the way tile looks, Onyx is the way to go.

Molded Plastic Surrounds – If tub and shower surrounds were a family, these would be the neglected step-children. But, they shouldn’t be because they are a good choice in many situations. So, OK, when you’re selling your house, these surrounds are not going to impress buyers if they see one in your master bedroom, and may possibly turn them off if they see one in your hall bath. But what about a basement bathroom or a bathroom designed for kids? They’re very easy to maintain (no grout), and some come with nifty features that are rarely found in other surrounds, like plenty of shelves, washrag bars, and even foot rests for shaving legs.

So as you can see, at least when it comes to tub and shower surrounds, there is no right answer. You be the judge. Fix St Louis will honor your decision.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

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