Scott Beattie, Managing Director at Fibo, explains the benefits of opting for waterproof wall panels.
For many, the bathroom is a haven, a welcoming and relaxing space instead of a purely functional room. To help customers achieve this, it’s important to use materials that can not only fulfil the technical requirements – such as speedy installation and long-lasting durability – but also be aesthetically pleasing.
For years, tiles have been the standard choice for bathrooms. However, waterproof wall panels offer a great alternative, providing benefits for installers and consumers.
Installation is a big part of a project and any time that can be saved during this stage is key. For this reason, those in the trade should be looking for easy and fuss-free installation options, helping to save time and labour on site. This also benefits the end-customer too, minimising disruption and enabling them to enjoy their newly finished bathroom, sooner.
With installation in mind, wall panels are faster to fit when compared to tiles. This is due to several reasons, such as the fact that wall panels are capable of being fitted directly on top of existing tiles, with minimal surface preparation required. Alternatively, they are also suitable for installation onto plasterboard or stud partitioning.
Additionally, there are no specialist tools or skills required to fit them, with the panels able to simply be cut to size and glued (or screwed) into position. This is especially important considering the ongoing labour shortages, with experienced tilers often being highly sought after and potentially causing delays to jobs.
Wall panels are also easy to store and transport, with less chance of damage during travel.
Test of time
Another critical factor for installers to consider is whether the product they’re fitting will stand the test of time. This is especially important for bathrooms, one of the busiest rooms in any home. With this in mind, durability is key.
Most high-quality wall panels are manufactured with a multi-layered plywood core, providing a strong, durable and long-lasting system. Look out for products with a tongue and groove joining system, such as Fibo’s Aqualock, helping to create a strong and reliable watertight join. This will protect the bathroom from damp and leaks, further increasing the lifespan of the room and reducing the likelihood of call-backs.
Many wall panel systems are available with a 10- or 15-year guarantee, giving you and your customers the added assurance of performance. Fibo takes this one step further, offering a 25-year warranty on all of its panel systems, providing they are fitted properly according to the installation instructions.
Range of designs
Given the transition from functional to beautiful, appearance is everything. This is another area in which wall panels excel, with a wide range of styles, decors and colours available to choose from, meaning your customers can pick the exact design they want.
With wall panel manufacturers taking inspiration from current interior design trends, you’re able to find decors that are inspired by biophilic design, with blues and greens or authentic wood effects reminiscent of nature. There are also different tile patterns on offer, such as metro brick, hexagonal and straight herringbone. This all helps to feed into the idea of a bathroom being more than just a functional space, but also one to get creative with the colours and styles that are chosen.
For those who remain sceptical about moving wholly away from the aesthetic of tiles, it’s good to know that there are realistic tile-effect wall panels on offer. These come with realistic grout lines and a high gloss finish. Some manufacturers even go as far as to router in the grout lines to create a 3D effect, resulting in a panel that not only looks real but feels real too.
When it comes to bathroom installations, tiles have long been the traditional choice. However, the increased popularity of waterproof wall panels demonstrates that it is perhaps time for a change. With endless benefits for installers and residents, it’s clear to see why they’re becoming a popular alternative.