DIY Network

How to Install a Tub Surround

Whether new construction or old walls, consider giving your tub a facelift with easy-to-install tub surround panels.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Remove Fixtures and Clean the Area

Old tile walls can really make a bathroom look unattractive, or worse, they can leak, but adding a new plastic or fiberglass tub surround is a simple solution for a clean, updated new look.

You can install a shower/tub surround over any material that is solid, flat and in good structural condition. This includes tile, plaster and drywall. If you're using drywall, make sure it is the moisture-resistant type (often called "greenboard") made specifically for use in damp areas. Prime any new drywall with moisture-resistant latex primer.

Start by removing your fixtures and thoroughly cleaning the area. Create a template for your fixture holes. Transfer the markings to your panel and cut out the holes. Remember, measure twice, cut once.

Step 3: Dry-fit the Panels

A tub surround comes with either a three or five piece kit. These pieces or panels overlap each other to compensate for different dimensions (and slightly out-of-square walls). Be sure to read the kit's installation instructions, because you'll probably need a special panel adhesive and color-matched caulk. Dry-fit the panels making sure they are plumb and free of gaps.

Step 4: Install the Panels

Apply a suitable tub surround adhesive and be sure to give edges a continuous bead of adhesive. Next, install the panels, pressing firmly. Finally, replace the fixtures, caulk the joints and let the adhesive cure. You now have a beautiful new tub surround and it can be done in a weekend.