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GLENN HAEGE

Handyman: Bath remodeling doesn’t have to include tile

Glenn Haege
Special to The Detroit News

If you want a bathroom that is low maintenance and can look just as good as tile, look for the many options available today. And as always, I recommend you visit showrooms to see these groutless products in person.

These types of groutless shower and wall systems for bathrooms are available at most kitchen and bath stores and home centers. When you do see them up close, you may fall in love with their look.

“When I show customers our DuraBath wall surrounds they don’t even realize it isn’t tile,” said Jeff Oslund, owner of Re-Bath, (866) 661-3831, rebathit.com.

Oslund said the DuraBath wall surrounds for inside the shower and wainscoting for the bathroom walls have the look of expensive granite or marble tile, but are made from a solid surface nonporous polymer that eliminates mold and mildew problems. And they don’t have grout, so you can take “scrubbing grout lines” off your weekly to-do list. This is especially beneficial if you live with hard water.

“With 70 percent of our business being tub to shower conversions these days, the DuraBath wall surrounds provide the type of style people want without the expense and upkeep of tile or granite,” he said. He said there are a variety of DuraBath colors and patterns people can choose from to fit the style and decor they desire, and they can also choose colors and patterns for the walls outside the shower that accent the shower walls and also look like tile but without grout.

“We also have a natural stone product we can install that comes in sheets and is groutless, but it costs 50 percent more than our DuraBath systems, so many customers choose the DuraBath surrounds and walls products because they look great and are so cost effective, “ he added.

Kristen Andrews of Infusion Showrooms, (248) 624-6905, infusionshowrooms.com, said the most popular bathroom product they are selling these days is the Choreograph collection from Kohler, kohler.com, which is a shower wall system made from composite material.

“The Choreograph wall system resembles the look of tile, granite or marble but it doesn’t have grout lines, it resists stain and mildew and is very low maintenance,” Andrews said. “Even hair dye won’t stain the Choreograph walls, and that is a very popular feature for women because the dye can stain tile.”

In addition to offering full wall panel designs, Andrews said you can also choose various accent panels and back splashes to enhance the look. It can also be used for the walls in the bathroom, and is glued directly to the drywall for easier installation.

Both the Durabath system from Re-Bath and Kohler’s Choreograph shower wall systems have another advantage — they can be installed in one or two days, helping to keep the labor costs down for those who want to remodel on a budget.

If you still want to use tile in your bath remodeling because you love the look, you can lessen the amount of maintenance you have by using bigger 12-inch by 24-inch tiles in the shower, which has the added benefit of fewer grout lines that you will have to keep clean. But remember, tile and stone products like marble or granite can stain and also need to be cleaned using specific products, so they do require more care and maintenance.

For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can also be heard on more than 135 radio stations nationwide.