Bath Fitter: Confessions of a bitchy bath designer

Bath Fitter frustrates me beyond unfathomable belief, both as a company model and as a product. I know, I know, I've said this before. They prey on low-end with not-so-well paid employees to exceed the bottom line. We have it in our heads that a "chain" or "franchise" of a product is a good thing (look at McDonald's, Wendy's, and Home Depot for example) and some of those are good things, but the question of quality versus quantity is all to often absent in our purchasing decisions. Bath Fitter is by far the worst possible solution anyone could consider in a bathroom remodel.

Here are Bath Fitter's claims:

  • Provide a long-term bathroom remodeling solution
  • Acrylic bathtubs and shower enclosures made of high-gloss, non-porous and stain-resistant acrylic material
  • They last for years to come
  • Provide grab bars, accessories, corner seats
  • Bathroom remodeling in just a day
  • One-piece, seamless liner installations last a lifetime
  • Liners are installed with quality and efficiently
  • No sub-contractors, everyone's an employee
Wow. Sounds fantastic. I've spent about 20 minutes on their website, eyes glazed over in disbelief, and they have a rebuttal to every counter argument that I possibly could have, except for providing a healthy environment. Well, frankly, I say that diamonds are only as good as the mine they came from. That, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder when the price is right.
This is my opinion on this type of "appliqué" product:
  1. Bath Fitter anything but a bathroom remodel. It is like you are covering your bathroom in cling-wrap and leaving it in the back of the refrigerator for a couple of months till you ask yourself "What's that smell?"
  2.  The acrylic is made who knows where under secret conditions and therefore the quality and performance is unknown. It will likely fade, and much like Glad Ware under the intense heat of a dishwasher, it will ripple and look like trailer trash in no time at all.
  3. The liner is installed over-top of your existing conditions. Say what?!? None of the moisture, safety, or cosmetic issues are resolved. They continue to exist beneath a sealed acrylic surface and this is extremely unhealthy.
  4. Grab bars and accessories must be installed with blocking in the walls or you will continue fall when you really need them. Any other installation can not be guaranteed to perform under stress. How will that welt from the grab bar look on your head, because it is like holding onto a picture frame while falling.
  5. Yup, it's a bathroom high-gloss-remodeling in just a day. This normally takes about 6 weeks for it to be done well.
  6. Installations can not last a lifetime. See #3.
  7. Products are installed by sub-trades people (I've read their "employment" ads and squirted coffee out my nose) and there have been general concerns by the customers about this.
If I can't convince you, maybe these consumer reports can. Yet, I just want to point out that a business with 5 complaints (in Vancouver alone)  continues to keep up a BBB rating of A+. Now with this new fangled internet, everyone's online and complaining about anything and everything without a filter (that's a separate problem all together) so be careful what you believe.
There is a better way to have your bathroom remodeled without hermetically sealing your mold, mildew, and rot problems behind an inferior product that looks like a fugly space capsule (really, I thought we were beyond this.) For the same price as Bath Fitter (roughly $2,000 to $5,000 per installation), you could have some tile-work done around your bathtub and address those problems. But, and that's a big but, if you think you're going to get a new bathtub, tile, faucets, grab bars, and a seat you have another thing coming because you are going to need double that budget and a heck of a lot more time than one day.
Bathroom remodels must be done correctly to address all the cleansing, moisture, and safety problems together. Do your research.