The grout used with bathroom tiles can require a lot of cleaning and maintenance over its lifetime. So consequently people are looking for alternatives. Acrylic bathroom wall panels are made from a thin sheet with a tile effect routed into the surface. So you get the effect of a tile without any grout.
These panels are light, flexible and easy to cut but they are not tongue and grooved so a joining strip needs to be used for larger areas. It is vital the correct adhesive is used for these panels as being a thin, single skin product, any incorrect adhesive could damage the panel and be visible on the front surface.
This is less of an issue with twin-walled panels (they also tend to be made from PVC which is not affected by most adhesives)
Panels Can Be Used Around The Whole Bathroom
The photo above shows the panels used right around the whole bathroom.
To achieve this the customer butt-joined the acrylic bathroom wall panels and sealed in-between them with silicone. This gave a very neat finish because he did not require any joining trims. We did discuss the option of using a trim because this is what the manufacturers recommend. But in the end, we decided there was no disadvantage to this method.
The panels are stuck in place with solvent-free adhesive although you can use silicone if you prefer. Avoid using solvent-based glue because it can attack the material. This can result in the damage caused showing through at the surface.
Pros and Cons Of Acrylic Wall Panels
One of the downsides of acrylic wall panels is that they are quite floppy.
They need to be attached to a level, flat surface to give them integrity. Hollow bathroom cladding is much more rigid. Cladding can go up over much rougher surfaces. It can also be used to level out uneven walls much more effectively than with acrylic.
There is virtually no choice of option with this type of panel. They are all white and they all have a gloss finish. There may be some variation in the size of the tile effect but that’s about it.
As mentioned previously, these panels do not join together on the wall. They require a joining trim or you could employ the sealant method discussed previously. Joining trims are a bit on the obtrusive side so if you have a large area to cover you might want to think of alternatives.
One plus point with acrylic bathroom wall panels is that they are made from a solid sheet. It might not be very thick but it is reasonably robust. When installed onto a solid backing it will be less fragile than hollow panels.
The other big plus-point of acrylic panels is that they are quite cheap. So they are a great option if you are looking to give your bathroom a makeover on a limited budget. For more budget makeover ideas see this article
They also look rather good – as can be seen in these before and after photos: