Shower panels or tiles: which one is right for your bathroom?

So you have decided to renovate or update your bathroom and realistically the first decision you have to make is; Shower panels or tiles, which one is right for your bathroom?

All design aspects colours, textures and contours fall into place after that.

The reason to have a bathroom is to wash so it follows that the shower area should take centre stage. Hopefully, this information will help you to decide what’s best for your bathroom renovation.

The primary tasks of tiles and shower panels are to waterproof the area around the show and both have advantages and disadvantages. Costs, installation, durability, maintenance and how the finished bathroom renovation looks are all important when coming to a decision on which suits your needs best.

What Are Shower Panels?

In building terms, shower panels are relatively new. They came into being because tiling bathrooms in large hotels were very time-consuming from a building perspective.

Large sheets of waterproof materials (usually a PVC base) with designs that could make them look like tiles were attached to the walls and instead of a bathroom taking 2 days or more to complete, they were done in 2 hours.

The PVC means there is little or no chance of water seeping through to the wall beneath it.

There are different types of sheeting such as solid core boards. These are made from MDF or plywood and overlayed with waterproof sheeting. PVC boards are the ones most frequently used because they are completely waterproof. You can also use acrylic shower panels but are much more expensive., acrylic can be made to look like glass so they are easy on the eye.

Which costs more: tiles or panels?

Given what is going on in the world at the moment, both are expensive. Like any other part of home renovations, the cost will hugely depend on what type of materials you are going as-chips

Solid core, PVC or top-of-the-range panels or cheap as chips tiles right up to top-of-the-range granite tiles.

It is important to remember that with tiles you have to add in trim, adhesive and grout. There is also the time to complete the bathroom renovation to consider.

Which is best?

Home renovators and renovation companies seem to be split right down the middle on this question. There are usually lower installation costs for the shower panels but there is an environmental question to be answered as well with the materials used in panels.

There is no definitive answer because some homeowners are traditional, and some are more modern.

Advantages of tiles

  • Readily available.
  • Plenty of colours, finishes, sizes and styles to choose from.
  • Will suit every budget.
  • Long-lasting.

Disadvantages of tiles

  • It takes far more time.
  • Some tiles can be very expensive e.g. Granite.
  • You make have to battle mould.
  • Grout gets discoloured over time.
  • Harder to maintain – especially in a hard-water area.

Advantages of shower panels

  • Easy to maintain and keep clean.
  • Can cover large areas.
  • Can be fitted over existing tiles.
  • Quicker to install than tiles.

Disadvantages of shower panels

  • MDF and chipboard versions can be prone to letting moisture through over time.
  • You can’t be as creative with customized designs.
  • Seals between panels can sometimes leak.
  • Can be expensive depending on the finish.
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