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We bought a new house that we're slowly learning was the victim of a rather cheap remodeling job. So, I'm slowly patching thing up.

One task is our shower enclosure. It's made up of some sort of panel system, with a matching shower base. It's the same material that the bathroom vanity top is made out of. I'm guessing it's something like Corian, though likely a lot cheaper of a product. Can anyone ID what this is?

The issue is that the corners of the shower walls had these inside corner trim pieces that had most of the caulking failing. I wanted to remove them, clean off the caulk, and re-caulk. Unfortunately, while one came off, the other came off in pieces as this material isn't terribly strong. It appears to be some sort of fibrous plastic material.

The problem is I have no idea what the product is, so don't know where to even begin looking for a replacement trim piece.

Bonus points if anyone can tell me more about the actual wall panels. Most stand-up shower systems I've seen have redundant joint overlaps to keep water from getting behind them. I'm pretty sure the shower pan has that, but can't tell on the wall panels themselves.

Shower (with corner trim removed):

enter image description here

Close up of surface pattern:

enter image description here

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Have you tried google goggles image recognition search on the surface pattern? A carefully taken picture might narrow the search enough to identify the brand. –  alx9r Aug 4 '12 at 17:11
    
Google gives it a good shot. The catch is that this pattern is attempting to emulate some actual granite, so anything that does match as a surface ends up being granite (from apparently China or Japan). I'll be hitting the big-boxes tomorrow hoping to narrow it down. Worst case, I just buy something contrasting and call it 'dseign' ;) –  DA01 Aug 4 '12 at 17:34
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If you do meet with success it'd be good to answer your own question with your method so others can learn from your experience. –  alx9r Aug 4 '12 at 17:42
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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The answer: Swanstone

How I found it: I got lucky. I just grabbed it and started taking it to local big-box places (I assumed it was a big-box as the materials in this house aren't necessarily 'high end').

I stopped at Lowes and the initial guy in the kitchen section had no clue, but I was fortunate that a curious co-worker popped his head over the counter, thought for a minute, then declared it 'Bermuda Sand' from 'Swanstone'. We found the swatches and, sure enough, he was right-on. So kudos tot he very helpful Lowes employee.

Apparently, these type of shower systems are just large panels of solid surface material that is glued up on the wall. They idea is that the panels abut, then caulked. The corner cove is more of an 'extra' piece that can be used if desired. The underlayment SHOULD be your standard tile surface...water proof cement board that is then sealed with some sort of water sealant. However, I don't know that in this case, so this particular piece seems to be a rather critical for my shower. So, glad we were able to find it.

The challenge for future people reading this is that I guess the solid surface companies are many, and the patterns all tend to be unique to each company, so it is a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack hunt trying to find these.

For contractors, I'd like to suggest leaving a note on the inside of a bath or kitchen vanity with the manufacturer's info. That'd be handy. ;)

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Yes, Swanstone. The corner trim is supposed to be "optional" but it is included in the wall kit, and 99% required to cover gappy joints in the main wall panels. This is not "cheap". A site-built tile system is cheap. Tile carries every chance for leaks and water damage in every joint. Leak potential is our concern. –  user12942 May 10 '13 at 20:21
    
I am pretty sure that most of the large solid surface shower panels allow for attachment to sheetrock (usually has to be primed). Not saying this is best practice. But if you have everything sealed right and the sheetrock can breathe then I could see it lasting 30-40 years easy. I am doing big granite panels right now from a former competitor of swanstone. Will be using 1/2 inch HB. I almost thought about drywalling but was really just worried about the 2 back corners. Mine don't have corner strips so you even have more protection. –  DMoore May 10 '13 at 20:29
    
From the pictures the one thing mine has that I think is better is that my panels sit inside a fiberglass/granite solid pan. Not sure what system (other than caulk) that swanstone uses to keep moisture out there. But I have heard very positive things about the swanstone systems. –  DMoore May 10 '13 at 20:33
    
@hbmcc I'd say this is much cheaper to install than to hire a skilled tiler. And given the angles the walls meet at, I'm pretty sure this builder took the cheap route a much as possible. ;) –  DA01 May 10 '13 at 20:44
    
I will have a 5'x3' shower fully installed in 2 hours using granite panels - notching the step on the sides is about 1.5 hours of that. The prep is extra because my walls have to be almost perfect or you get gaps in the back corners and I am not counting in the soap dishes... Swanstone is easier to cut - plus it has the corner trim. If you had experience doing it would really be a 2 hour job. I think there should be more/better panel options out there. I would like to see a solid plastic/fiberglass option with a little heft to it with solid coloring... just me though. –  DMoore May 10 '13 at 20:52
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