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Alternative Shower Wall Materials for Your Bathroom

When it comes to bathroom renovation Toronto, most people never entertain the thought of alternative wall materials. From the get-go, their focus is usually on tiles. This may explain why there are so many types of tiles to pick from. Finding the tiles that work great with your vision is relatively easy, but did you know there are countless shower wall alternatives?

The available range of shower wall alternatives meets virtually every possible bathroom taste, from the opulent to the traditional. As a matter of fact, when it comes to alternative shower wall ideas, you will only be limited by your budget and imagination. All the same, before you start looking at alternative shower wall material options, you cannot afford to ignore tiles.

What Types of Tiles Are Available?

Tiles have unique qualities, which are what make them a perfect choice for bathroom renovations. Having been around since ancient Greece and Rome, you can be sure that the variety is wide. Newer tiles, such as glass tiles, are still being created not just as an alternative to tiles in bathroom walls but also to add design elements. Here are the most common tiles used in shower walls.

⦁ Ceramic tiles
This is, without a doubt, the most common type of tile. It is strong and helps create a modern yet luxurious style, even on a tight budget. Ceramic tiles are ideal for both walls and floors. The best thing is that they make a unique and seamless pattern when installed correctly. You can find them in both glazed and unglazed options.

⦁ Porcelain tiles
These tiles are preferred for their added level of elegance and refinement. They are manufactured using finer clay. This gives them a more durable surface which is highly resistant to stains and scratches. It also takes in less water when compared to ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles cost more since it costs more to manufacture them.

⦁ Glass tiles
Glass tiles are mainly used to create colourful backsplashes. They also add a light feel to the bathroom. The material can be cleaned easily with glass cleaners or soapy water. Moreover, this material is eco-friendly since they are mostly made using recycled glass. It can be tricky to install glass tiles. Expert help is needed.

⦁ Stone tiles
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to stone tiles. Keep in mind that these tiles require extra care. For example, while limestone looks and feels fantastic, it needs to be sealed because it is very porous. Understand the pros and cons of each material before making a decision.

Now that you are familiar with the most common types of tiles, it is time to take a look at the alternative to tiles in bathroom walls, but first, you need to understand why you should go for the alternatives.

Why Opt for Alternatives to Tiles?

There are many reasons why you should consider alternative shower wall material options. For starters, if you have a limited budget, you may want to consider materials that are cheaper than tiles. The right material can save you not only money but also installation time. You should also keep in mind that going for unconventional materials that may be cheaper can help you add extra design elements that you would otherwise not have gotten any other way. Moreover, bearing in mind most tiles are prone to chipping and cracking, you might be interested in finding an alternative that can serve you a lifetime.

One of the top reasons why homeowners go for shower wall alternatives is to put an end to the cleaning nightmare. This is more so when it comes to grout. Grouting calls for constant cleaning against mould buildup. Failure to do so may cause water to get behind the walls and lead to all manner of problems.

Alternative materials address the shortcomings of tiles, but the big question is this, what is the best material to use for shower walls? To better answer this question, you need to take a look at the pros and cons of various alternatives to tiles.

Popular Alternatives to Tiles in Bathroom Walls

1. Acrylic Panels

Acrylic panels have a close resemblance to tiles. The main benefit, however, is that with this material, you never have to deal with cracks, moisture and mould problems. If you are looking for a waterproof material for shower walls, this alternative material will be perfect. It is non-porous and can be used to cover a full wall or simply to add decorative wainscoting wall accents.

The best thing about acrylic is that it is very cost-effective, more so when it comes to the bathroom. It is not only cheaper but also has fewer problems than tiles. It is also highly durable, scratch-resistant and stain resistant. Best of all, this material does not chip and is very easy to clean using a soft cloth.

With acrylic panels, you can end the water damage and grout problem. Best of all, you can get custom acrylic panels to fit your needs. The material is perfect for freshening up the existing walls or a complete renovation. You can install acrylic panels over the existing surface.

2. PVC Panels

What can I put on my shower walls instead of tiles? PVC panels will be perfect. This is a material made by joining PVC sheets using a mesh structure. The material is ideal when you need something that is both strong and lightweight. Best of all, it is completely waterproof because it has no seams. You can cover a large wall using PVC panels and even install the panels in any colour combination you want. PVC panels are a lot cheaper than tiles. The main problem, however, is that these panels are susceptible to cracks and scratches. Moreover, if there is damage, you have to replace the entire panel.

PVC panels are some of the cheapest alternatives available in the market. Thus, they are a perfect choice when searching for renovation material that looks great and will not break the bank. It is cheap to buy and install. It is also perfect for adding a splash of lovely colours to your bathroom.

3. Marble

For a classic and elegant style, marble makes a perfect choice. This is a unique alternative to tiles in bathroom walls mainly because its look is timeless. The material is also very strong and can withstand repeated damage. When installed correctly and maintained properly, it can serve you for a lifetime. It is also good to note that it is completely mould resistant.

While it is impressive in many ways, marble has a couple of shortcomings. For one, the material can be very expensive. The high price tag is mainly because the material is finite, which means it is pretty difficult to source. The second drawback is that the material has to be sealed regularly. It is also prone to staining when exposed to acidic materials. Another drawback is that it is quite heavy. This can make it unsuitable for bathroom redesigns.

All things considered, marble is uniquely crafted and will add a fresh look to any bathroom. It significantly increases the value of your property. This means you will recoup the original investment fast.

4. Wood Shower Walls

What else can you use for the shower wall? How about wood? If you love natural and organic materials that radiate a warm aura, then the natural wood shower walls will be perfect for you. They are aesthetically appealing and will make your bathroom stand out.

Wood is rarely seen in the bathrooms because when it is untreated, it is not good for humid conditions. However, if your bathroom is well-ventilated and airy, wood will be a great choice. They add the oomph to a bathroom, thanks to the fact that the rustic look never goes out of style. Wood materials can be treated to make them more durable.

While it is unique, wood has several drawbacks. The most common problem is that wood materials are prone to warping and mould. This means you will require to install good ventilation in the bathroom. Moreover, wood has to be cleaned regularly to prevent deterioration.

Even with all the shortcomings, wood can serve you for at least 10 years when it is well-cared for. The best wood for the bathroom walls is cedar. This is because it is very durable.

5. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is trendy in modern homes. It can be used in any area. Most people wondering what materials can be used for shower walls end up using stainless steel. The material is a fantastic alternative to tiling. It is modern and clean. Thanks to being lightweight, the material can be cut and shaped to fit any area. It can even be used to create a shower cubicle or a featured wall. The 28-gauge stainless steel sheets are recommended for shower coverings.

Stainless steel is highly resistant to a variety of chemicals. This means it is pretty low maintenance. All the same, it does have some disadvantages. For starters, the seams have to be caulked properly using silicone to prevent leaks which cause the growth of mould behind the panel.

6. Stone Resin Panel

Still on what kind of paneling can you use for shower walls, a stone resin panel makes a great choice. It is preferred for its ability to create a bathroom wall that is seamless. The stone resin panel is made using a combination of bauxite, acrylic resin, marble dust and pigments, epoxy as well as stone resin. The material is non-porous and can be crafted to resemble natural stone, classic marble or granite.

The key advantage of a stone resin panel is that it is stain resistant and waterproof. The material is also remarkably strong and rarely chips or cracks. The surface of the stone resin is also warmer than that of tiles. It is, thus, ideal for areas that experience colder climates. As for the drawbacks, the material is heavy, and it can be difficult to find one in a larger size. As a result of this, the material is not ideal for DIY bathroom projects.

7. Fibreglass

When you need a less expensive waterproof material for shower walls, you will fall in love with fibreglass. This material can be moulded into any design, which makes it perfect when you need custom-made panels. It is also very effective in eliminating the issue of leaky seams and grouting. Moreover, fibreglass is cheaper to repair than other materials.

On the flip side, fibreglass is susceptible to scratching. The colours of the material also fade. This means you will have to deal with an expensive replacement of the panels at one point in time. It is good to note that when fibreglass is cracked, the porous material becomes damaged by high moisture. While the initial cost is low, maintenance can be a headache.

8. Paint

When you need a material that leaves you in complete control of your bathroom, paint will be perfect. There are many bathroom-ready wall paints available. When they are prepared properly, you can use any colour in your bathroom. The rule of thumb, however, is to go for the mould- and mildew-resistant paint that has antifungal additives.

New technologies have made it possible to create steam and moisture-resistant paints. These paints can be washed easily. The main problem with these paints is that they take longer to dry (3 to 5 days). Paint is also susceptible to chipping, scratching as well as peeling when it is not prepared properly. All excess moisture has to be removed before painting your bathroom walls.

9. Natural Stone

When it comes to modern bathrooms, stone is, without a doubt, the most naturally beautiful and durable material you can use. Natural stone is the only material that tends to look better as it ages. Weathered stone is attractive to both look at and feel.

However, you should note that natural stone is porous. As a result, natural stone needs to be sealed and maintained properly. It is also good to note that natural stone can be more expensive than other materials used in alternative shower wall ideas. Moreover, because it is heavy, natural stone might not be ideal for some bathrooms. The material has to be installed by a skilled professional.

10. Concrete Panels

Concrete wall panels are classy. They can be placed along the walls to radiate a masculine atmosphere. The panels can be acid-stained and then sealed to create purposeful-looking colour.

While tiles are resilient and durable materials, they are prevalent for several reasons. This does not, however, mean that you have to go the conventional way. In addition to the aforementioned alternative to tiles in bathroom walls, there are many more options available. What you end up choosing will depend on your preferences. All in all, do not choose a material simply because it is cheap but because it aligns with your needs and is durable.

Do you need more information on what material can be used for shower walls? Do not hesitate to contact us. At Easy Bathroom, we are committed not only to offering high-quality materials and services but also answering all the questions our clients may have. Call us today to find out more.

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