Bathroom Wall Panels vs Tiles: Which is for You?

One of the best ways to give your bathroom a makeover is to change the walls. However, as soon as you decide to do so, you’ll find yourself in a never-ending bathroom wall panels vs tiles debate. The good news – we’re here to end the debate once and for all.

Bathroom Wall Panels vs Tiles

A Few Important Things to Consider

We know you’re itching to start picking out colors and patterns already, but there are a few things to consider first. Before you even choose between wall panels and tiles, you need to understand some key features that both materials should have to avoid problems later on. 

For instance, look out for these features when buying:

  • Waterproof
  • Installation
  • Maintenance
  • Style

The first one is pretty obvious, but when you’re in the bathroom, you want your walls to be waterproof. Especially if it’s by the bath tub or in your shower cubicle, the walls will be directly getting splashes of water. Therefore, if the wall isn’t waterproof, it’ll absorb the moisture, and the wet wall can lead to lots of problems such as mold.

Whether you go for shower panels or tiles or something else entirely, you want to be able to install it easily. Not only will it be more cost-effective in the long run, but if you ever need to do any small repairs, you can do them yourself without a worry. Similarly, you should go for tiles or panels that have simple maintenance to keep things easy for yourself.

Lastly, you should carefully choose the style and pattern of the walls, so that it matches the theme of your bathroom and looks fantastic.


Read Also: How to Get Rid of Ants in the Bathroom


What is a Bathroom Shower Wall Panel?

Shower wall panels are also known as wet wall panels, bathroom panels, waterproof wall panels, shower boards, or decorative panels. These panels are made using PVC plastic, which ensures them to be 100% waterproof and, therefore, ideal for your bathroom walls.

Additionally, these panels have various other properties as well, which makes it the first choice for many bathroom renovators. For instance, they are quite lightweight and sturdy, which makes them easy to handle. We’ll talk more about it when we compare it against tiles.

Furthermore, shower wall panels are available in acrylic and fiberglass materials as well, which have different finishes and look.

The Benefits of Shower Panels Instead of Tiles

Over the last few years, shower wall panels have become quite a popular choice for many. Let’s see why.

  • Easy Installation

    Shower wall panels are quite easy and quick to install. Instead of cutting and placing small tiles one at a time over several days, you can put up the whole wall panels in one go. Depending on how big your bathroom is, the process doesn’t take more than a few hours. For example, a hydro panel with tongues and grooves easily clicks together for a tightly sealed wall.


  • No Grout

    This is probably the best thing about shower panel walls and why it’s one of the best alternatives to bathroom tiles. Unlike tiles that require grouting in between the pieces, wall panels fit perfectly and require no grouting. This makes them 100% waterproof as there’s no place for the water to seep into and it simply slides off.


  • Low Maintenance

    Any tiled bathroom owner can tell you what a headache it is to clean tiled bathrooms. Let’s just say there’s a lot of scrubbing involved. Well, with shower wall panels, there’s no grout, so there’s no place for dirt or mold to accumulate. Therefore, it’s much easier to clean and maintain. All you need is a cloth and some water.


  • Cost-effective

    Even though it might be more expensive to buy these wall panels initially, but if you consider its cost over its life, it’s quite cost-effective. There are fewer chances of chips or cracks in the panels, so repair costs are low. Similarly, maintenance is easy, so there are no worries there either. Moreover, the PVC material of these panels is quite durable.

The Benefits of a Tiled Bathroom Wall

Despite these benefits of going for bathroom panels instead of tiles, there’s a reason why many still opt for the latter. Tiles seem to have their own charm and advantages. Let’s look at a few of them.

  • One Man Job

    Fixing tiles in your bathroom is easily a one-man job. Unlike shower wall panels, which can be heavy at times and require an additional pair of hands. Therefore, if you want to do this job alone, tiles are the way for you.


  • Works on Straight and Curved Surfaces Alike

    It can be a little challenging to find curved wall panels or stick them in such a way that they adequately cover a curved wall. However, tiles are much easier to manipulate, and you can cut them and fix them in any shape, size, or curve.


  • Better for the Environment

    Tiles mostly use natural materials such as ceramics, which are much more environmentally friendly than the plastic used in wall panels.


  • More Options for Customization

    Even though wall panels aren’t too far behind in this matter, currently, tiles have many more options for customization and styling.


Bathroom Wall Panels vs Tiles F.A.Q.

Here are the answers to some of your frequent questions.

Are shower wall panels cheaper than tile?

It depends. Shower wall panels might be expensive to buy at first, but considering their installation, maintenance, and life, they can be regarded as cheaper than tiles.

Can you fix shower panels over tiles?

Yes, you can install shower wall panels directly over any surface, and this includes your old tiles.

What is the best type of tile to use in a shower?

If you are on a budget, simple ceramic tiles are a good option for your bathroom walls, with porcelain tiles more suitable for the direct splash zones. Other than that, glass and stone tiles look pretty great too. However, you have to be careful in using the proper grout.


Final Words

It’s pretty evident that both tiles and shower wall panels have their own merits and drawbacks. Ultimately it will depend on your tastes and preferences and what kind of vibe you’re going for in your bathroom.

If you ask us, though, we’re more inclined towards the shower wall panels. They’re quite cost-effective and can make your bathroom look modern and stylish.