Shower Wall Panels Or Tiles – What’s Best For My Cubicle?

shower wall panels and tiles

Personal taste will always have a huge effect on any decision that you make regarding decorating or remodelling your home. But as there are other factors that you need to take into consideration as well. Price, practicality, installation, availability and design will also have a part to play in the decision making process. So if we take the personal taste aspect out of the equation we will try our best to answer the question – what’s best for my cubicle.


In the past shower wall panels were not a cheap option. The laminate/plywood construction were expensive to make and they were really only seen as a top-end luxury product. But the advent of PVC versions of the panels has seen the price steadily drop – especially in the last few years. Shower wall panels are now similarly priced to tiles and as such make sense financially as well as on a practical level.

Tiles vary massively in price. While the cheapest tiles can cost as little as £10 for a square metre the most expensive ones couldcost more than the cubicle – or even the whole bathroom! You also need to factor-in that tiles need a lot more in the way of preparation from an installation point of view. So even the cheapest tiles can work out more expensive than panelling when this is taken into account.

Are You Doing The Redecorating Yourself?

Tiling can be a tricky art to master especially if the walls are not flat and true. If you are an expert tiler then this will not be an issue but even so panelling might be an easier option for you as it will save you so much time – it is a much faster system than tiles and doesn’t need several visits to complete.

Panels are extremely easy to fit and do not require any specialist tools or skills. We have many customers who have had a go themselves and found the installation process to be simplicity itself. A bigger issue is the plumbing that might be involved with any refurbishment. If you have doubts over your ability get a professional in – it could save you money in the long run.

Neptune Grey Marble Shower Wall Panels


Most products are available with quick delivery options these days and panels or tiles are no exception. Whichever product you end up choosing please take note of the following:

  • always order in plenty of time – problems can and do happen, especially when couriers are involved
  • check the products immediately – do not wait until installation as this will be too late to do anything about it
  • open all the packages and check the batches – colour variations will not be visible when tiles or panels are still in their wrapping
  • check the products thoroughly to ensure they are exactly what you ordered

Make sure you have ordered enough panels or tiles. You need to allow for wastage and the odd installation problem so make sure you have too much rather than too little. This is doubly important if you are buying discontinued items that are on sale.


Does a maintenance free surface sound good to you? If so shower wall panels would be a better choice. Once they are installed they need no maintenance and since they have no grout there is no mould or mildew – a common problem that plagues tiled showers. If you opt for tiles make sure you choose a flexible, waterproof grout. Cheap grout will just cause long term problems and give you a headache that lasts for years.

With panels they just need a quick wipe over with a soapy water and a soft cloth to keep them looking pristine. They are not quite as resilient as tiles so do not use strong chemicals or abrasive cleaning products on them – there simply is no need.

So no bleach is needed, no scrubbing no raking out and re-grouting – just fit them and forget about them.

Design Choices – Personal Taste

This is one of the only areas where tiles have a distinct advantage over panelling.

Tiles are ubiquitous so there is an overwhelming choice available with price points that vary as much as the designs themselves.

Panels by comparison have a much more limited range of designs to offer. But, manufacturers know what is popular in the tile market and many of the panelling designs reflect these choices so emulate the more well-chosen styles.

There are even tile-effect bathroom wall panels available now that give you the look of a tiled room but the advantages of a modern panelling system.

Are Shower Wall Panels Less Likely To Leak?

In general yes. We have hundreds of customers who come to us looking for a solution to their leaking shower and one of the main causes in most (but not all) of the instances is that the tiles have failed. Well, to be more specific the grout has failed. A well fitted shower tray with the correctly specified grout will not leak. But there are just more things that can go wrong with tiling – pinholes in the grout, tiny cracks that let water though etc – see our guide here on leaking showers for more information.

By fitting shower wall panels you eliminate many of the common problems in one fell swoop. So if you would like to find out more about what they can do for you click here: