You can expect a fiberglass tub/shower to last 10 to 20 years, with an average of 15 years. Frequent usage will shorten lifespan, and abrasive cleaners cause the surface to deteriorate prematurely. The gel coating can be repaired, but do-it-yourself resurfacing does not always work out so well.
Here’s a bar graph that compares estimated life of a fiberglass tub/shower with other plumbing fixtures.
Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?
Also, see our blog posts What are the minimum requirements for a shower? and Why are shower water valves all single-handle nowadays?
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Here’s links to some of our other blog posts about BATHROOMS:
• Honey, who shrunk the toilet?
• Why is it a problem when a trap under a bathroom sink is installed backwards?
• What are the code requirements for layout of drain piping under bathroom sinks?
• Why is there sand in the bottom of my toilet tank?
• How do you test a shower pan for leaks?
• What is a "fixture unit" for plumbing?
• Are drop-in toilet bowl cleaner tablets safe?
• Why is there mold inside my toilet tank?
• What are the pros and cons of a wall-mounted toilet?
• Is a hot water faucet handle required to be on the left?
• What is an escutcheon plate?
• Why is the European-style bottle trap not approved by the plumbing codes in the U.S.?
• What are the minimum clearances around a toilet?
• Can I make a trap under the sink from straight pipe and 90º elbows?
• Why is there a flexible accordion pipe under the bathroom sink?
• What is that big thing in the toilet tank?
• What is the difference between a plumbing fixture, a plumbing appliance, and a plumbing appurtenance?
• Why is my bathroom vent fan not exhausting enough air?
• What is an "S-Trap" under my sink? Why is it a problem?
• What is a P-trap?
• When did the building code begin requiring bathroom vent fans to discharge to the exterior (not the attic or crawl space)?
• Is a furnace allowed in a bedroom, bathroom, or an adjoining closet?How do you test a shower pan for leaks?
• Does a half bathroom (no shower or tub) require an exhaust fan?
• Is a shower pan leak test a required part of a home inspection?
• Can I install a commercial (wall-mounted flushometer) toilet in my home?
• What are the ventilation requirements for bathrooms and kitchens in mobile homes?
• Can a bathroom exhaust fan dump air (discharge/terminate) in the attic?
• What are the requirements for bathroom ventilation?
• How can I check to see if my bathroom exhaust fan is actually working and moving air?
• My bathroom is stinky and humid even though it has an exhaust fan. What can I do to fix it?
• Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?
• My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?
• Why is there no bathroom electric receptacle in this old house?
• Can you install a gas water heater in a bathroom?
• What is the minimum size of a shower?
• Does a bathroom exhaust fan need to be GFCI protected by code?
• Does a shower light need to be GFCI protected by code?
• How much space is necessary for a toilet between a vanity and shower?
• Does a home inspector check bathroom exhaust fans?
• What is the code minimum clearance in front of a toilet?
Visit our BATHROOMS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.
NOTE: These life expectancies are based on data provided by InterNACHI, NAHB, FannieMae, and our own professional experience. Because of the numerous variables that can affect a lifespan, they should be used as rough guidelines only, and not relied upon as a warranty or guarantee of future performance.