Should you install Solid Surface or Tile in your facility's shower area?

When it comes to commercial shower surrounds and shower bases, old fashioned materials and methods may lead to dirty and unhealthy outcomes. Yes, we’re talking about ceramic tile and grout.

The 4 biggest problems with tile shower walls and bases

Dirty Grout – We’ve all seen it at some point in our lives. Think back to high school physical education... the grout in-between tiles that’s flecked with black splotches of mold, and the distinctive aroma of mildew. Because grout is porous, it gives mold and mildew a surface to grow, and grow rapidly. This is a major headache for facility cleaning staff, as it leads to hours spent scrubbing shower tile. This also means an increase in facility budget for cleaning costs.

Chipping and damage – Tile and grout can chip and fall out. This leaves openings where shower water can infiltrate behind the tile to soak into the drywall and under the shower base to the substrate.  In either case, it means a large mold breeding ground, and rot in the wood studs or subflooring. Cleaning and resealing tile means more work for maintenance staff and leaves room for error.

Tile is slippery - Tile has been a known cause of slip and fall accidents, resulting in serious injury. This is a major issue in assisted living and healthcare facilities.

Installation Time - When you tally up all the prep and installation time to put in traditional tile showers, it could take as long as 12 days to complete one shower stall. Not to mention, tile showers pans are often difficult to install on-site and mistakes are common.


Why solid surface material is superior for commercial shower areas

Solid surface showers are cleaner and easier to maintain

Shower enclosures constructed using single, uniform sheets of solid surface can easily be seamed and sealed to prevent water infiltration. When installed to a solid surface shower base, you get a complete shower enclosure that’s impervious to water.

Since solid surface is non-nutritive, it does not promote the growth of mold and mildew, and resists bacterial growth.

Maintenance and housekeeping headaches go away – that’s because the solid surface shower is easy to clean, and there’s no grout to chip away nor tiles that fall out.

Solid surface showers can look and feel like traditional tile

When you think of solid surface material you may feel like you’re limited to a straight, smooth finish. This is far from true - with BioPrism® solid surface shower walls by Endurant® you can provide a decorative designer look to your shower walls without the hassle of traditional tile and grout.

Our shower wall panels can give the look of tile while remaining smooth, hygienic, and easy to clean with our decorative shower wall options. The patterns include: subway tile, square (multiple sizes), diamond pattern, horizontal pattern, stacked, beadboard + plankboard, and a variety of listello patterns. Take a peak at our selection of decorative shower wall options.

Solid surface showers install faster than tile showers

Solid surface shower panels and shower receptors can be installed in as little as 1 day to as long as 4 days depending on the complexities of the project. This is a major time and budget saver compared to its tile counterpart.

Thinking about renovating your commercial showers?  Both ¼" and ½" solid surface shower panels can be installed over existing tile – which eliminates the need for costly demolition of the old shower.

Solid surface showers can be installed over existing tile

Yes, our solid surface material can be installed over existing tile in your shower area, which is a great way to save on time and budget costs! No need for demolition in your commercial shower area, simply follow our 4 Steps to Installing Solid Surface over Tile in your shower.

Solid surface material is easier to repair

BioPrism® solid surface is a poured material that has a consistent color throughout the material. This means if the material is scratched or vandalized, it has a reduced chance of displaying unsightly discoloration. Solid surface can also be repaired if any deep scratches appear, it requires a typical household or commercial orbital sander.

Non-slip surface to prevent slips and falls

BioPrism solid surface shower bases have a non-slip surface to prevent slips and falls in shower areas. To learn more about reducing slip risks in shower and bathroom areas, read our article, Creating Safer Showers by Reducing the Hidden Threat.


Click here to see this project. Endurant® Product Installed: Solid surface wall panels, solid surface shower receptors and solid surface partitions.

A word about custom solid surface shower bases

With renovations, often the installers have to utilize existing drain locations.  This is where custom solid surface shower pans come to the rescue – the drain can be located wherever necessary to line up with the existing drain. Shower receptors can be poured into squares and rectangles of numerous sizes. The integral non-skid surface helps prevent slips and falls, and ADA edges and ramps can ease the transition from floor to receptor.

We say, that for commercial and institutional shower enclosures:  GET THE GROUT OUT! And install solid surface shower panels and shower bases.


Additional Resource 

If you'd like additional information about solid surface showers and examples of complications caused by mold breakout in tile, download our free white paper, The Fight Against Mold Starts In The Bathroom.  The resource focuses on student housing, but is relevant to any building that contains showers.

Download White Paper