Are Bathroom Wall Panels Waterproof?
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Are Bathroom Wall Panels Waterproof?

When it comes to decorating your bathroom, water-resistance is arguably the most important factor to consider. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that ‘are bathroom wall panels waterproof’ is one of the most frequently asked questions about this product.

In this post, we’ll explain whether bathroom wall panels are waterproof, what qualities to look for, and why water-resistance is so vital.

Bathroom wall panels explained

Technically speaking, bathroom wall panels can refer to any wall panels marketed and sold specifically for the bathroom. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re all designed for the bathroom in particular.

It’s perfectly conceivable to find wooden wall panels for bathrooms, for example. This is despite the fact that wood is typically unsuitable for high-moisture environments, given that it continuously adapts to its surrounding environment. So, in other words, wood will expand when it’s humid and contract when it’s dry.

Why are we explaining this? It’s important to bear in mind when answering whether or not they are waterproof…

So, are they waterproof?

Whether or not bathroom wall panels are waterproof depends on some key factors. Most crucially, it’s down to the material they’re made from…

Depends on the material

Only a waterproof material can make waterproof bathroom wall panels. However, as explained above, they can technically be made from anything. In our recent blog post, we highlighted five potential materials that walls panels can be made from, which are:

  • Natural wood
  • MDF
  • Upholstered
  • Glass
  • PVC

As you might expect, it’s only the final two on that list which are waterproof. Unfortunately, glass panels come with other issues – most specifically their heat resistance and durability.

We’ll make it easy for you – if you’re looking for waterproof bathroom wall panels, PVC is the way to go. This has become one of the most popular decorating options thanks to its longevity, affordability and water-resistance. Not to mention that it’s easy to produce in a wide range of styles and designs.

Don’t forget the installation

Another important factor that affects the waterproofing qualities of your wall panels is the installation. Even the most water-resistant PVC bathroom wall panels will be let down if they’re installed incorrectly. So, what’s the best course of action?

One option is to find a wall panel supplier that provides installation as part of their service. That way, any waterproofing issues should be covered by their warranty.

However, this comes with the clear downside of cost. Hiring a professional to install your bathroom wall panels could take them from affordable to extortionate – especially if you’re at the mercy of the supplier, as you can’t shop around.

The alternative is to ensure that the waterproof PVC bathroom wall panels you purchase are easy to install. At Igloo Surfaces, for example, all our bathroom wall panels have been specifically designed for easy installation, with step-by-step help guides to show you the way.

That starts with a choice of tongue and groove panels, which interlock together for a tight seal. Alternatively, thinner panels simply need to be fixed to the wall using an adhesive paste. In either case, all you need to do to create a water-tight seal is apply a small amount of silicone between each panel, then add a cladseal strip around your bath or shower.

Do I need bathroom wall panels to be waterproof?

Having heard that some products sold as bathroom wall panels aren’t necessarily waterproof, you may be wondering whether water-resistance is essential for your own bathroom. However, the answer is still a firm “yes”. Here’s why…

Moisture is generated

Bathrooms are undoubtedly the wettest room in the home. As well as the potential of splashes from the bath, shower or sink, your floor, walls and ceilings will have some serious humidity to contend with.

For the uninitiated, that’s the moisture that’s transferred to the air whenever hot water is around. So, whenever you run a bath, turn on the shower or even fill the sink with hot water to wash off your makeup, the air in your bathroom will be getting more humid.

Moisture becomes damp and mould

Most bathrooms are fitted with extractor fans to remove some of that moisture from the air – but it’s impossible to do so completely or immediately. If your wall covering isn’t waterproof, moisture can settle on it as condensation and eventually cause damp and mould.

Damp and mould lead to more serious problems

When your walls become damp, that moisture can spread and cause more serious issues for your house. That includes rotting wooden trims like skirting boards and windowsills, as well as affecting roof rafters and floor joists.

Damp walls also provide the perfect environment for mould to grow. As well as being an eyesore, mould can cause health problems including poor immunity, respiratory infections and allergies.

Waterproof bathroom wall panels – the verdict

To summarise, not all bathroom wall panels are waterproof. To find those that are, you should look for a waterproof material like PVC, along with a simple installation process, ideally one which you can do yourself to keep costs down.

In terms of importance, these criteria are pretty much non-negotiable. Wall panels that aren’t waterproof could lead to damp and mould, plus a range of subsequent structural problems and health issues.

Choose from a range of waterproof bathroom wall panels

If you want to take the guesswork out of bathroom wall coverings, Igloo Surfaces has the ideal solution. All our bathroom wall panels are completely waterproof thanks to their high-quality PVC composition. Panels come with a 10-15 year guarantee, depending on the panel you choose. That’s topped off with easy installation, including step-by-step guides and a dedicated helpline for any queries.

Ready to get started? Take a look at our full bathroom wall panel collection, including a plethora of delightful styles. From marble- and wood-effect panels to stunning colours, unique designs and scenic images, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in our collection. So, your bathroom wall panels will look the part as well as being waterproof.

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