Friday 31 March 2017

Shower Panels or Tiles?

Ceramica Etc’s expert team weigh on the debate . . .
Shower Panels vs Tiles.

Recently a new bathroom dilemma has surfaced causing some controversy, it is shower panelling versus tiling. The suppliers of panelling claim to solve all your problems, available in every colour and pattern, cheaper than tiling, no leaks etc etc etc.

I am putting my bit forward on behalf of the tile.  I want you to know why all the myths around how hard it is to look after grouting, how expensive tiling is and how you only get leaks when you use tiles are just that, Myths.

First lets begin with the figures aka your hard earned cash.  With most things in life, you get what you pay for.  Cheap shower panels will of course cost you less than expensive tiles and vice versa.  After some research it would seem that, like for like there really isn’t much difference in the overall cost of one against the other.  However with some of the better quality panels only coming with a 15 year guarantee and good grout and adhesives coming with a 25 year guarantee (a good tile can last forever) maybe that isn’t such a good deal after all.

What about Mould?  Tiles need grouted, this is what enhances the look and prevents them from letting water soak through to the wall/floor beneath.  If you buy a good, antibacterial grout with Microban this prevents the growth of mould.  The most common problem area used to be the silicone joints.  Whether you go for tiles or panels there are still some areas that will need a silicone joint to stop leaks.  Again go for a good antibacterial, mould resistant silicone and you will not have a problem with mould.  So grouting is no longer a problem, whether you go for a large format tile with minimal grouting, a metro brick or a tiny mosaic there really is nothing to worry about.  Choose the one you love the most, don’t let the myths put you off.  If you still aren’t sure, call in to your local suppliers who will be more than happy to help you choose the right products. 

Preparation is everything.   Whichever option you choose, it is important that the walls are even, sound and dry.  A bad surface can cause all sorts of problems, ask your supplier and fitter what is best and what you need to do to prepare.  Use a tanking kit, this is a relatively new system giving extra protection and will waterproof your shower or bathroom before tiles or panels are put up.  Used as a precaution to prevent leaks from doing any damage to the structure of your home.

Which one wins?
So after all of that, in terms of longevity it would seem that tiles are the outright winner.  
When it comes to price there really isn’t much difference.
Time - although the actual installation of tiles may take a little longer, the panels need to be left flat in your bathroom for at least three days prior to being installed to acclimatise, putting your bathroom out of use for just as long if not longer than tiling.
Overall appearance – With tiles there are endless options of colour, shapes, size and pattern in contemporary or traditional styles.  Over and above the choices seen in panelling.  

Tiles win every time!
So remember, with a lot of research and development by the technical departments.  Grouting is no longer an issue!  Neither is silicone.  Don’t let it put you off!  Ask for antibacterial grout, adhesive and silicone with a 25 year guarantee.  We recommend using BAL and FILA products, you can check their websites for more information and technical details.

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