How to Fit Bathroom Wall Panels

If you want to reinvigorate and refresh your bathroom, walls are the best place to start and few things accomplish this more than wall panels.

Proving itself as a stylish alternative to tiles and longer-lasting than paint, bathroom wall panels are fast becoming renowned for their ease of installation and efficiency. Requiring minimal cleaning, and in a range of designs, these panels can transform your wet room.

Whether it’s for the entire bathroom or just a shower enclosure, you’ll find that wall panels are crafted to a high standard in a variety of sizes and styles. So, whatever your budget or bathroom decor, there’s a design for you at Plumbworld.

Read on to learn more about bathroom wall panels and how to fit them…

What are bathroom wall panels?

Bathroom wall panels are made of acrylic stone resin or moisture-resistant MDF for durability while being resistant to colour loss and waterproof.

Compared to traditional tiling, wall panels are much easier to install. Coming as large sheets, panels seamlessly slot together in a fraction of the time for a concealed and smart finish. Installation time is much quicker, and you don’t need a specialist tiler.

Once in place, wall panels can massively reduce bacteria build-up and, thanks to a non-porous laminate covering, are much easier to maintain. Grime and dirty grout are a thing of the past.

If your bathroom is looking a little tired, your tiles are faded, you’ve just moved in or want to shake things up, wall panels can solve all of these issues quickly. By choosing a Multipanel or Showerwall, you’re guaranteed to create a stunning feature in your bathroom.

Bathroom Tiles vs Bathroom Panels: What’s the difference?

Tiles are the traditional way - besides paint - of reinvigorating the walls in your bathroom, either the entire space or that which runs alongside a bath or shower.

While you can build an impressive feature wall with your tiles, and then paint the remainder of the bathroom, this can take a long time. The process involves buying and cutting tiles, hiring a professional to install them - all before actually attaching them to the wall itself.

Creating a mixture to attach tiles, installing them, grouting for sealant from moisture, leaving them to dry - is incredibly time-consuming. Added to the fact that tiles are more fragile than panels, this is a much more expensive path to take for bathroom renovation.

Why are bathroom wall panels better than tiles?

First of all, there’s the cost - panels are much cheaper to buy, install and, should anything go wrong, replace.

Tiles are expensive to purchase from the outset and, more often than not, you need a professional to install them. As tiles are more fragile, if one breaks, you will have to refit the tile if it’s broken on the wall, fitting it around the tiles already there.

As most panels are made from PVC or water-resistant MDF, they are much cheaper to purchase and replace if they break. Even then, this is unlikely as the materials they are made from are far more durable.

Due to their lightweight construction, panels are very simple to install, often requiring screws and adhesive or by slotting into place. This is particularly true of our Multipanel ‘Hydrolock’ profiles which features a locking system between the panels.

Unlike tiles, each individual square must be laid separately, perfectly straight and with the correct amount of grout applied, plastic wall panels are simply placed in sheets. This significantly reduces installation time and you can do it yourself.

Can you put bathroom wall panels over tiles?

Yes, you can install wall panels over your existing tiles. There’s no need to remove your tiles, just slot them in place and your bathroom refresh is underway!

Another reason wall panels are a better choice than traditional tiles are waterproofing and maintenance - panels are much easier to look after.

While tiles are waterproof, panels are completely water-resistant owing to their PVC finish or laminate coating. This also protects your walls from a build-up of condensation, which can lead to mould and fungus.

Tiles, though waterproof, need to be cleaned more often, otherwise, the grout around them can be a starting place for mould - which can be a serious health risk. As panels don’t require grout and are easier to clean, there is less chance of bacteria building up and becoming mouldy.

How do I fit bathroom wall panels?

Once you’ve picked your ideal bathroom wall panels, it’s time to install them at home. Follow our simple step-by-step guide below to transform your bathroom:

Measure

Firstly, measure the area where your wall panels will be fitted. This includes horizontal and vertical measurements. Repeat this for each wall - if you need to.

Treat

A handy tip before installing is to treat your panels. Cleaning them with an anti-bacterial liquid will make sure they’re ready to go from the moment they’re in place. Lay the panels flat to do this.

Tools

Before moving on, make sure you have the correct tools and equipment:

  • Caulking gun
  • Safety goggles
  • Tape measure
  • Sharp blade
  • Electric or fine tooth saw
  • Adhesive sealant
  • Sand paper
  • Sealing kit - find out more here.

Marking & Cutting

Lay your panel flat on supports with the facing upwards and then mark-out the cutting lines where you need to cut. Use tape if you need to - this also will help protect the edges while cutting.

Using a fine-tooth or electric saw, carefully cut and remove the excess wall panel. Remember to wear safety goggles when using these tools!

Remember, any panels that have been cut must be thoroughly sealed prior to installation.

Sanding & Smoothing

Use your sandpaper or sanding pad on the cut edges. This creates a smooth finish while removing any nasty debris or leftover bits of MDF and laminate. 

Turn your panel over and use the sandpaper to rough-up the surface, so your adhesive can stick to it much stronger.

Attach the Trim

Before fitting your panel, you’ll need to install the trim that it slots into. To do this, you’ll need to use an adhesive sealant - you may need to screw it into the wall, too.

If you are panelling around a corner, add sealant to the wall and place the corner piece into position. Put tile spacers underneath where your panels will go so sealant can be added later.

Fitting your panels

Time to place your panel into position. Attach up to three strips of foam tape along the length of the panel.

You then need to apply panel adhesive:

  • First, a thin line down either side of the panel
  • Secondly, zig-zag the top and bottom for better coverage
  • Finally, draw large circles with your adhesive so it’s spread evenly

Before slotting your panel into place, remove the back of the foam tape!

Add adhesive sealant to the inside of the trim you will be attaching to your panel, as well as the very edge of the wall panel itself. Lift your panel into position and slide into the trim piece at an angle. 

This will prevent the foam tape from sticking to the wall until you have correctly positioned your panel. Always start in a corner - if you are panelling up to one!

Repeat

Repeat this process with your remaining wall panels. Make sure they’re positioned correctly positioned before pushing firmly into place. Connect your panels using the tongue and groove joins.

Finishing touches

Once your panels are all in place, you need to add sealant to the base of them. Some trims for the corner, base and ends of your panels will have a finishing cap or cover which clicks into position.

By following these steps, you can install bathroom wall panels far quicker and easier than tiles to provide a cost-effective bathroom makeover.

You can shop our two ranges, Multipanel and Showerwall, online or contact a member of our team to learn more about bathroom wall panels.

For extra detail, read and download this handy installation guide.

Shop online at Plumbworld today for guaranteed lowest prices!

Find more bathroom advice and buying guides by reading the Plumbworld blog. You may also like these posts…

What are the Different Types of Bathroom Mirror? | A Guide to Bathroom Heating | What is a Digital Shower & How They Work


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