Plastic Shower Wall Panels Vs. Tiling

Written by Milan Jara on 21st Nov 2022

Bathroom Wall Panels

There is a stark difference between tiling and plastic shower wall panels. Find out how each can benefit you and when to use them in your bathroom.

A better alternative to incorporating tiling in a bathroom is plastic shower wall panels composed of synthetic materials like PVC, acrylic, and MDF. You can purchase them in convenient strips that you can cut and arrange to fit any interior wall. In a bathroom, they provide a waterproof surface for the area that surrounds the sink, bath, or shower to prevent walls from molding but also for visual appeal.

Plastic shower panels are applied to a wall with a strong adhesive and can be glued directly to drywall, over top of existing tiles, or on plaster.

How Do Plastic Shower Wall Panels Differ from Tiling?

While tiles comprise a traditional choice for a waterproof surface, plastic shower panels offer an easier solution. Tiles tend to be porcelain or ceramic. They are applied using grout, a mixture of sand, cement, and water. Plastic shower wall panels are applied using an adhesive like silicone or polyurethane glue.

Tiles take more time to install since they are significantly smaller compared to wall panels. You will require more individual tiles to cover an area than you need with paneling. Tiling not only takes longer, but ensuring they are spaced evenly and have a neat grouting job requires more precision than panels.

Both materials require cleaning. Plastic shower panels are easier to clean than tiles, as all you need to do is simply apply a cleaner and wipe them down. Since tiling has grout, dirt, mold, and bacteria can be drawn into the spacing. You need to take extra care to ensure everything is disinfected.

Furthermore, sometimes a bathroom needs to be re-grouted as bacteria has collected within the material or the grout is showing signs of wear.

An even more significant difference is that plastic shower walls are more cost-effective than tiles. Since they need less work upon installation, they are a better do-it-yourself option. The cost of materials is also substantially less.

You can also add trim to elevate the look, and it’s easily removable when it is time for a different look.

Why Should I Purchase Plastic Shower Wall Panels?

Plastic shower wall panels are an excellent choice for the bathroom if you want a high-quality finish and desire to keep costs to a minimum. They are also the perfect choice for a quick renovation or to upgrade the bathroom's appearance without doing a complete overhaul.

These bathroom wall panels can also provide the appearance of oak or granite without the cost or maintenance associated with wood. Furthermore, the installation and maintenance costs are lower, making them a powerful design option. They are easily fitted and easier to clean compared to traditional bathroom surfaces.

Since the styles available are so diverse, these panels are a very flexible choice. You can create a rustic look for an old home or add a futuristic appearance to a contemporary style.


Shower Wall Panels

There are many advantages to installing this type of paneling.

Low Maintenance

They are easily cleaned using a mild solution and cloth. Getting rid of tough mold or dirt from grout isn’t an issue since none is present. There is no need to regrout a bathroom from mold; these panels are incredibly durable and have a long lifespan.

Easy to Install

Plastic shower wall panels install easily. There is little need to contact a professional like when installing tile. It is also a less time-consuming procedure, and installation isn’t as detailed.

Diversity of Style

The extensive range of styles makes it easy to find something to match your room. They are also more cost-effective than purchasing more expensive materials like marble or granite, yet they can provide the appearance of being these materials. You can also purchase paneling that looks like wood or tiles, allowing for greater flexibility in generating your style.


These panels are completely waterproof. There is a limited risk of water coming through them and reaching the supporting walls. These waterproof shower panels protect more against water damage than paint or laminated wood paneling.

Types of Plastic Shower Wall Panels

PVC Shower Wall Panels

PVC is the most affordable type of shower wall panel and can be formed into flexible or rigid forms, making it a popular choice for showers. It is lighter than MDF or acrylic since the core is not a solid mass. Its construction is more cuboid in appearance. Designs are simple yet offer the same benefits as its premium counterparts.

Acrylic wall panels are slimmer in width, measuring 4 to 5mm. Despite their slimmer appearance, they are heavier than PVC because of their denser construction. They are designed in brighter, bolder colors and can be semi-transparent. Acrylic panels are hygienic and durable.

Laminated MDF is the thickest and heaviest. However, it is also the best constructed. The core contains a high-pressure backing laminated on both sides, providing complete coverage against water.

Things to Consider

You should also note that shower panels differ from bathroom wall panels and cannot be used interchangeably. Shower wall panels are for the shower. They surround the walls and potentially the ceiling area.

As mentioned, they are fully waterproof for this reason and resist the effects of humidity. Shower panels tend to be made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) since they provide better water resistance while not affecting the cost.

Meanwhile, wall panels cover a broader range. They are made of wood, PVC, MDF, or glass and were initially used as an easy way to protect walls from rising dampness or crumbling plaster surfaces. Now, they are used with walls in good condition. They are used to add texture to walls. Yet, while they aren’t functional, per se, they do cover insulation. These panels are fitted to prevent heat from escaping when composed of cork or foam.

You can use wall panels anywhere in the house, including the bathroom, as some may be suitable to the environment in a bathroom. However, overall, they are used for looks.

Final Thoughts

There really is no comparison between plastic shower wall panels and traditional tiling. Tiling is more challenging to install, costs more, and is not as easy to maintain when you compare it to plastic shower wall panels. These panels are affordable, easy to maintain and clean, and fully waterproof. Not to mention, they are safer in the bathroom than tile. Talk to us about installing plastic shower wall panels today!

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