Bathroom Wall Panels And Bathroom Cladding – What Is The Difference?

pvc bathroom wall panels

We were asked recently by a customer recently what the difference was between bathroom wall panels and bathroom cladding.  And are they the same as shower panels? So what exactly is the difference.

The short answer is none.

Bathroom wall panels as their name suggests is a panelling product use to decorate bathrooms. It is nearly always waterproof, usually made from some form of plastic or laminate material. “Bathroom cladding” is any material that is used to “clad” the walls. If these are used in a shower area then they effectively become shower wall panels. So the three terms are pretty well interchangeable.

There are several materials used to manufacture this type of wall covering (see our guide on here on the subject). The three most popular designs are extruded PVC planks, acrylic sheet, laminate/MDF sheets. Over the years, some people have started to associate one particular term with one particular style of products so will need to to elaborate a little further.

bathroom cladding information

 Bathroom Cladding

As stated previously, bathroom cladding is any material that is used to “clad” the walls. In theory tiles could be classed as a cladding but no-one ever does as this would become even more confusing. So usually when you see this term used they are referring to PVC panels, usually quite narrow in construction (250mm wide) with a printed design on the front (usually marble or tile effect).

But, as alluded to previously, this is not a hard and fast rule.

Before the advent of PVC panels cladding was made from wood. It was occasionally used in bathrooms but it was not an ideal material. The warm humid conditions, splashes from baths or showers would affect the surface coating and result in a lot of maintenance to keep it looking pristine. More often it was used on ceilings, but the same problems persisted so it has fallen out of favour now there is a more modern alternative available.


Orion Amarante Bathroom Wall Panels


Bathroom Wall Panels

This is a slightly broader description so tends to encompass all of the various different materials, sizes, styles and finishes. If you see the term bathroom wall panels used on a website you will need to dig a bit deeper to see to which type of product they are referring.

We use this term a lot on our own website although we do use others as well – when people land our website they might well have used one of these other terms in their search, so will expect to see it.

Neptune Black Marble Shower Wall Panels

Shower Wall Panels

Again this could refer to any of the materials but tends to mean large sheet materials used to cover the walls of a shower cubicle.

Acrylic panels came along next, usually with a tile effect moulded into the sheet. These were an inexpensive way of covering the wall of a shower cubicle in one go without needing to resort to tiles and the associated problems with grout.

Previously shower wall panels would have been the sole domain of laminate/MDF panels. But recent developments in plastics have made larger PVC sheets available. Which does not make the task of trying to work out what is being described on a website any easier.


Terminology On The Bathroom Marquee

We use all of the terminology interchangeably on our website as there is no hard and fast rule as to which description is correct. So expect to see bath bathroom wall panels and bathroom cladding used extensively.