Are your tiles looking tired? Fed up with scrubbing discoloured grout? Then why not consider giving your bathroom or shower a quick and easy makeover, with PVC bathroom panels. Simple to install, easy to maintain and available in a wide variety of finishes, these products will brighten up dreary walls and ceilings and will give your bathroom a completely new appearance without all the hassle of stripping of the old tiles.
Waterproof PVC Panels have been available for some years now and they are readily available from DIY stores, bathroom centres and specialist plastics merchants. They are sold in packs of four or five lengths, with each pack usually equating to just less than one square metre of panelling. If you are struggling to envisage this kind of product, think laminate flooring – but for walls and ceilings.
How do PVC Panels Work?
The panels themselves are extruded from PVC with an advanced technology painted, lacquered finish to the outward face. Some styles are also embossed for added authenticity – for example the tile effect style has a grooved grout line. Each individual panel is tongued and grooved, enabling adjacent sheets to slot together seamlessly with no fixings visible. Panels are either stuck direct to the wall or existing tiles with adhesive or fixed to timber battens.
In a word, yes. As the product itself is plastic, the panels are waterproof and are particularly suited to wet room environments such as bathrooms or kitchens. As an extra precaution, most manufacturers do recommend applying a small bead of silicon to the back of the joint before the next panel is slotted into place if the panels are to be used inside a shower cubicle. However it is possible now to buy a single sheet that can be cut to size to exactly fit inside the cubicle, eliminating the need for any joints.
PVC Panels are also anti-bacterial, meaning that unlike ceramic tiles no mould or fungi will ever grow on them.
How Easy are the Panels to Install?
Definitely easier than tiles! If the wall is flat and dry, panels can be stuck directly to the surface using a grab adhesive – this means that if your existing tiles are level and secure you can fix the panels directly on top of them, without having to spend days removing the old tiles with a hammer and chisel. If however your walls are damp or uneven, simply fix battens in place and pack them out to make them level, then nail, screw or staple the panel to the battens. The fixings will never been seen as the fixing lip of each panel is covered by the next one when it is slotted into place. Just make sure that any fixings are non-corrosive, such as stainless steel or zinc plated- these are usually the norm in most DIY stores nowadays anyway.
A variety of finishing trims such as corners and end caps are available to tidy up any cuts edges, and these are generally either colour matched to suit the panels. You can however use a contrasting trim to add a bit more interest – silver and gold are particularly popular as they can be used to accent the taps or the frame of the shower cubicle. You can even by dado rails if you want to create a half panel effect, or a plastic cove to hide any cuts at ceiling level.
How Much Choice of Colours Styles is Available?
As plastic extrusion technology has developed considerably in recent years there is now a huge amount of choice available. Most suppliers offer marble effects, mosaics, tile effects with grout lines and plain colour or woodgrain finishes. Take time to shop about and you will find sparkle and shimmer effects, travertine and granite style finishes and even panels with silver or gold highlight strips inserted – gone are the days when PVC Cladding was just a plain white shiplap affair!
If you have an eye for design, you will soon discover when you start looking around that PVC Panels can now be used as a main feature in any room rather than merely acting as a background.
Can PVC Panels be used on Ceilings?
Whilst they are slightly fiddlier to install on a ceiling, PVC Panels can add a real twist to any room when used at height. Tongue and grooved effect panels look best on a ceiling as the lines appear to add length to a room. Ceiling panels are usually available in either white or cream and you often have the choice of a matt or gloss finish. Silver highlight strips can also add interest and a touch of drama when used in the right setting on a ceiling.
For more information about PVC panelling for bathrooms and showers, please visit PVC Cladding.