Is it Cheaper to Tile or Panel a Bathroom?
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Is it Cheaper to Tile or Panel a Bathroom?

There is one big question that all homeowners must face when redecorating their bathroom – tiles or panels? For many years, the sweet and simple answer was “tiles”. But things have changed. Technology has evolved, allowing us to produce PVC bathroom wall panels that have plenty of benefits over tiles.

For example, bathroom wall panels are a lot easier to install. They are usually tongue and groove panels – just like a jigsaw but a lot easier to put together. And unlike tiles, they’re completely waterproof. In turn, this makes them much more durable. Tiles might look good when you first fit them, but it doesn’t take long for the grouting in-between them to look worn. With a bathroom panel, your walls will always look just as new.

A verdict has been reached – bathroom wall panels are far more modern and convenient than tiles. But are they cheaper? Let’s break the costs of each decorating method down…

How much does it cost to tile a bathroom?

We can all agree that tiles can be very easy on the eye thanks to their intricate patterns. But are they as easy on the wallet? Not quite, as it turns out. Of course, the cost of tiling a bathroom depends on a range of different factors – from the products you use to the size of the bathroom. But tiling is costly, especially if you’re on a tight budget.


With most UK tile retailers, the least expensive tile will cost you around £25 per square metre. If you want to give your bathroom a bit more personality, be ready to pay around £45 per square meter. You also need to add the cost of the extra materials you need for the installation, such as grout and adhesive. These additional materials will probably cost you around £50 for a medium-sized bathroom.

So far, we’ve only covered the cost of the materials themselves. But what about the installation? Here’s where things get ugly…


On average, you can expect your professional installer to charge you at least £50 per square metre. This means that tiling a small bathroom will cost you between £750 and £1,150 – depending on the materials used and the bathroom design. And for a medium-to-large bathroom, this can easily go up to £2,000.

Sure, you could just tile your bathroom yourself. But will you be able to make all of your tiles align perfectly? Probably not. And remember that tiles are fairly high maintenance. With time, water will make your old grout grow mouldy – meaning you’ll need to remove it and replace it with new grout every few years.

Bathroom tiles may be pretty, but they sure don’t come for free. So, is installing a bathroom wall panel any cheaper?

Are wall panels cheaper than tiles?

The answer is a resounding yes. And there are many reasons why…

First of all, bathroom wall panels are significantly bigger than tiles. This means that they’re easier and cheaper to mass-produce. To make things better, they are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a strong and light material that is extremely cost-effective.

Does that mean that wall panels are made with poor-quality materials? Not at all. As well as being completely mould and mildew-proof, PVC can be light and soft to the touch. In fact, good PVC panelling can look just as good as tiling – if not better. From classy driftwood ash finishes to a chic pink look, there is a style of wall panel for every bathroom.

Regarding the installation costs, wall panels also have the upper hand. Read on as we break down the numbers…

How much does it cost to install a bathroom wall panel?

You can install wall panels in a small bathroom for less than £300 – about three times cheaper than with tiling. But why is there such a big difference? Let us explain.

When it comes to tiling a bathroom, DIY is strongly advised against. Making dozens of tiles seamlessly align is not just something that you’re born knowing – it takes years of experience. And even if you make it look good, a shoddy tiling job can easily result in excess damp and mould.

But with bathroom panels, all these worries are washed away – quite literally.

Compared to tiling, installing a bathroom panel is extremely simple – so much so that DIY is highly recommended no matter what your budget is. Most panels are tongue and groove, so they barely require any additional sealing or grouting. In the rare scenario where they need additional sealing, this can be done in a matter of minutes. You can even save time and money and order your panel alongside an all-in-one installation kit that includes everything you need to upgrade your bathroom.

Another key advantage of wall panels is that they’re a lot more flexible. You can even cut them to size to suit your bathroom’s dimensions. And unlike tiles, you can do this with ordinary woodwork tools.

On top of that, bathroom panels are a lot more cost-effective long-term. Why? It’s simple – no grout, no mould. Because of their PVC material, bathroom wall panels are completely waterproof. All you need to do is wipe them down once in a while and they’ll last for ages. This will be a welcome change for homeowners tired of re-grouting their tiles only for them to get mouldy again after a few months.

Transform the look of your bathroom

If you’re looking to renovate your bathroom, you’ve got two options. You can either spend thousands of pounds on tiles that will need re-grouting every few months – or install stylish waterproof wall panels for a few hundred. If you ask us, it’s a no-brainer.

At Igloo Surfaces, we’ve got a wide array of PVC bathroom wall panels to transform the look of your bathroom. From tile effect marmo panels to luxurious grey marble panels, our PVC bathroom panels are completely waterproof, hard wearing and easy to install. And if you still need help with the installation, don’t worry. Our team is more than happy to provide expert advice. Just ring us on 01709 329117 or email [email protected].

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