If you’re remodeling your bathroom, or building a new one, one of the decisions you’ll likely be making is what type of shower to install. Bathroom shower stalls can be one of two main types – a prefabricated unit that is basically ready to install or a tile stall that is built from scratch.

Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Prefabricated stalls are typically much easier to install, to the point where a do-it-yourselfer can do the work. Tile stalls, on the other hand, are much more labor-intensive and will need to be done by a tile-setter.

Traditionally, prefabricated shower kits have been considered a lesser quality option, due to limited colors and designs. But over the past several years, they have come a long way towards matching tile showers in the number of design options and styles available.

Most modern prefab showers are made from fiberglass, acrylic or tempered glass. Fiberglass and acrylic stalls have the advantage of being able to repair them if they’re damaged in some way. You can either do spot repairs or install a liner to cover up any damage. Liners are typically considered inferior to a replacement, or spot repairs, but they are less expensive than a full replacement.

Prefabricated shower stalls are generally less expensive than a tile shower and they are also more flexible, which means they are much less likely to develop leaks if the floor shifts with the settling of the house or for some other reason.

Tile showers, on the other hand, give you much more freedom of design, since they are being built from scratch. They can also be built to fit any space, where prefab units generally come in specific sizes.

Tile showers are often easier to manage for remodels because they are built in place. Getting a full-size prefabricated shower through existing doors can sometimes be a problem.

Tile also tends to have a little better resale value, so if you expect to be selling your home anytime soon they can be a better option in the long run.