Manufacturers produce fiberglass showers in a variety of colors and patterns, suitable for a wide range of bathroom designs. If you want a different look, you might consider tiling over the existing shower. Before acting on those thoughts, stop because you cannot apply tile to fiberglass. You cannot use tile on any part of the shower with a fiberglass surface, including the shower pan.
According to Ed Del Grande, author and contractor, you cannot add tile to a fiberglass base. Tile requires a smooth and flat base but does not adhere properly to fiberglass surfaces. Fiberglass showers are budget-friendly and install quickly, but are not suited for future remodels. When you install tile on the shower, you risk the tiles loosening over time and breaking off the shower. As the tiles loosen, water settles underneath, and the moisture buildup can cause mold and mildew.
If your shower features a surround made from a different material, you can tile the area. Use a waterproof tile adhesive or a mortar-style tile glue. An old tarp laid inside the shower protects the fiberglass pan and grabs any glue that drops onto the shower. The adhesive holds the tiles in place and cures within seven days. Keep in mind that you cannot use the shower until the glue sets because moisture damages the adhesive.
Refinishing kits let you change the look of your fiberglass shower without installing tile. The basic kit includes cleaning products that remove surface stains, including stains caused by exposure to hard water. The cleaning products restore the natural brightness and shine of the original fiberglass. The last product in the kit is a sealant that acts as a clear coat. The sealant protects the finish and prevents future stains from attaching to the surface.
Painting the Fiberglass
Another method that changes your fiberglass shower without adding tile is by painting the shower. Epoxy paints are your best choice because the epoxy adheres firmly to the fiberglass and will not chip or fade. Choose an epoxy paint that matches the style or design of your bathroom. The biggest benefit of using epoxy is that it seals and covers damaged areas, including cracks or splits in the fiberglass. A foam paintbrush ensures that the paint goes on smoothly. A regular paintbrush might leave behind brush strokes in the finished shower. If you worry about the epoxy peeling off, apply a coat of clear sealant once the epoxy dries.
Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.