Can I Glue a Tub Surround Over The Existing Tile- In 11 Easy Steps ?

Can I glue a tub surround over the existing tile- In 11 Easy Steps ?

Installing a tub surround is a great way to renovate the bathroom without emptying your pockets and protecting your bathroom floors and tiles at the same time.

There are ample varieties of kinds to choose from, and the best part is that it is a DIY! It is generally fine to glue a tub around an existing tile, except in a few situations when you must avoid doing so. Let us understand it in a better way.

What do you mean by a Tub Surround?

In simple terms, a tub surround is like an enclosure for your bathtub. This cover protects the walls from water damage caused while showering and also improves your bathroom’s aesthetics.

The design comes in different varieties and shapes. It comes with shelves, stairs, ledges, and much more. It is essential to opt for a waterproof material. Typically a tub surround is made of fiberglass, plastic, acrylic, ceramic, or stone.

Placing a tub surround over an existing tile is a cost-effective method to renovate your bathroom. It is a great way to get rid of old tiled walls and replace it at a low cost and much less mess. Such installations do not require any experts as they can be installed conveniently over existing tiles.

Installing a Tub Surround over Existing Tiles:

Are you bored with your old bathroom tiles? They need proper maintenance and care so that you keep the bathroom free from molds and dirt.

But the good news is that now your bathroom renovation can be done easily by replacing the old tiles with a new tub surround. It is a great way to revamp the bathrooms and can be done by yourself.

What you need is some essential tools, a pry bar, adhesives, sandpaper, tub surrounds, a screwdriver, a hacksaw, a knife, and some other small tools. Let us see the steps to install one on your own:

1. Choose the Tub Surround

The first step involves choosing a tub surround for your bathroom. They come in a wide variety to match your bathroom tiles and overall look. You need to choose between fiberglass or acrylic surrounds.

These are low-maintenance and last long without much hassle. You do not need heavy scrubbing like old tiles. Select the shade or color for the tub surround that gels well with your bathroom’s color scheme. These come in smooth, pebbled, and rough surfaces.

2. Remove the existing plumbing fixtures

To start the installation, you need to remove the existing fixtures like the showerhead, spout, faucet handle, and faceplate.

Remove the screws carefully from the shower wall using a screwdriver. You may use a simple wrench to remove these items. Place a cloth over the tub to protect the surface.

3. Scratch the Surface of the Tile

The surface of the tile must be roughened up by scratching it with sandpaper. You must use high-grit sandpaper for best results. The process will help to improve the action of the adhesive on the tub surround.

You may remove the loose tiles using a pry bar. Reinstall them after applying tile glue to make them strong. De-gloss the tiles before installing the tub surround; otherwise, it will not be firm.

4. Clean the bathtub space

The next step involves cleaning the area of the bathtub. You must use a clean wet cloth dipped in liquid soap and warm water. Gently wipe the tiles around the tub with a damp towel and let them dry completely.

5. Installing Apron-Trim pieces

Now you need to measure the tub’s height from the border of the tub to the top edge of the molding. Now measure the same with the apron-trim piece and cut it using a hacksaw. Remove the paper backing and fix the apron-trim parts to the wall and the tiles over the tub.

6. Check the Alignment of the Apron-Trim Piece

Now you must check the alignment of the vertical apron-trim piece. Draw a line on the wall to keep a measure of the height.

7. Attach your Back Panel

The next step involves attaching the back panel. Lift it, align it with the pencil line on the wall, and use a belt sander if required. The filing ensures that the back panel fits plumb without any significant gaps.

8. Apply the sealant

Now it is time to apply the sealant tube using a caulk gun. Flip your panel and apply this sealant. Peel off the paper backing and place the panel over your bathroom tiles. Rub it with your palm so that it becomes firm.

9. Place Side Panel

Repeat the same steps as you did to place the back panel. Measure the wall’s length properly and ensure to mark the tiles with a marker so that you can install them properly between the two center points.

10. Applying Panel Sealant

The back of the panels must be strengthened using sealant beads. It must also be applied around the cutouts and then placed on the tiles firmly.

11. Reinstall the fixtures

Now install all the fixtures, including the faucet, spout, faceplate, and showerhead, which you had taken out earlier. Apply some silicone in all the seams to make them firm. Repeat the same for the tub’s edge.

When should you not use a Tub Surround over an Existing Tile?

There are certain factors that will stop you from using a tub surround over your existing tiles. You need to consider the age of the bathroom tiles.

If the tiles are old, then it might be a better decision to replace them before you install a tub surround. Another important factor is to consider the tile type.

Since the tub surround will be glued to the tile, it is vital to ensure that it sticks to the tiles. Certain tiles made of porcelain will not support regular adhesives.

You need to get a special kind of glue for such tiles. If the tiles are old, you must consult the tub surround manufacturer to ensure they will be compatible with holding the tub surround

The cost involved in Installing a Tub Surround:

A tub surrounded with a solid surface is highly durable. However, it may involve some labor to install them and may cost around $1,500 to $2,000, depending on the time taken to complete the task.

If you opt for a plastic tub surround, the price will depend on the design and size. It may start as low as $60 and may go up to $500. The plastic ones can usually be installed easily at home.


You can glue a tub surround easily if your bathroom tiles are in good shape. Tub surrounds come in numerous varieties, so you can find one that suits the bathroom color and design perfectly.

If your tiles are old or have developed cracks, you must repair them before opting for a tub surround. Solid surface tub surrounds are costly but durable and attractive. Enhance the appearance of your bathroom at a nominal cost by installing a tub surround now!


How To Remove A Tub Surround And Replace With Tile:

To remove a tub surround and replace it with tile, first, remove any fixtures and use a utility knife to score the caulk around the surround. Then, remove the surround from the wall, taking care not to damage the drywall. Install cement board to prepare for the tile installation, and then use thin set mortar to adhere the tiles to the wall.

After the mortar sets, apply grout between the tiles, and allow it to dry before sealing. With these steps, you can successfully remove a tub surround and replace it with a beautiful new tile, transforming the look of your bathroom.

How To Remove A Tub Surround With Adhesive:

To remove a tub surrounded with adhesive, first, turn off the water supply and remove any fixtures. Use a utility knife to score the caulk and carefully remove any trim or molding around the surround. Then, use a putty knife to gently pry the surround away from the wall. If the surround is glued to the wall, use a heat gun or hair dryer to soften the adhesive and make it easier to remove.

Take care not to damage the drywall, and be patient in removing the surround in sections if necessary. With these steps, you can successfully remove a tub surrounded with adhesive.

Best Adhesive For Plastic Tub Surround:

Selecting the best adhesive for a plastic tub surround is crucial for ensuring a successful and long-lasting installation. It is important to choose an adhesive that is specifically formulated for use with plastic materials and provides strong bonding properties. Water-resistant properties are also essential, given the wet environment of a bathroom.

Careful consideration should be given to the specific type of plastic used in the tub surround, as not all plastics have the same adhesive requirements. Following the manufacturer’s instructions closely and properly preparing the surface before applying the adhesive are crucial steps to ensure the best results. By taking the time to select the right adhesive, you can ensure a durable and reliable installation for your plastic tub surround.

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