Bathroom cladding panels for walls and ceiling: types, advantages and recommendations (UK)

Even though plastic is less popular than tiles, it has several significant advantages, thanks to which it is in high demand. Like any other finishing material, bathroom cladding has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s consider them in detail.

Advantages and disadvantages of using PVC wall panels for bathroom decoration

An essential plus of the material is its low cost. This allows you to make budget renovations and refresh a bathroom of any size. Also, among the advantages of bathroom cladding are the following:

  • resistance to moisture;
  • absence of ugly streaks when water gets on their surface;
  • lack of an unpleasant odour (high-quality material does not emit or absorb it);
  • ease of maintenance (no need to use special products to remove dirt);
  • installation speed (an experienced master, if the bathroom area is small, cope with the work in a day);
  • during decoration with the help of PVC wall panels, you can successfully hide various engineering communications;
  • a large selection of colours and designs is available, which allows you to choose panels that fit the interior in any style.

But despite the numerous advantages, some disadvantages must also be considered when choosing bathroom cladding panels. These include:

  • the fragility of the material (the wall panels can be easily damaged with sharp objects or a strong blow or even by pressing a finger, as a result, through holes or cracks may appear on their surface);
  • high-quality plastic products do not emit toxins, but any PVC products can hardly be called environmentally friendly;
  • condensation and mould can form if proper ventilation is not provided during the installation of the wall panels.

Bathroom cladding types

For the production of finishing material, polyvinyl chloride is used. It is squeezed into a mould in a semi-liquid state. Finished panels are decorated with a pattern. Usually, it is first printed on film, then pasted onto a panel and laminated. This technology ensures the brightness of the colours for a long time, which affects the final price towards its increase.

There is also a budget manufacturing technology. In this case, the drawing is applied directly to the plastic, then covered with several layers of varnish. But such bathroom wall panels do not retain their attractive appearance for a very long time.

According to the classification by purpose, the finishing material is intended for ceilings and walls. The thickness of the ceiling panels does not exceed 5 mm, and their partitions are thinner. Bathroom wall panels can be up to 10 mm thick.

Recommendations for the selection of bathroom cladding panels

The first thing that you have to pay attention to when choosing bathroom cladding is pattern and colour. But not only these parameters are the key. To prevent possible difficulties during installation, other important characteristics must be taken into account.

It is imperative to pay attention to the cut of the PVC panel. For a durable finish, the lintels and polymer layers (both front and back) need to be as thick as possible. Weight can also be used as a guide. A simple rule applies here – the heavier the material, the thicker it is.

The panel should be of uniform thickness (there should be no thin spots or bulges). Otherwise, the products are classified as low quality.

Geometry cannot be ignored. Right wall panels have even edges, and cells are not wrinkled. If the panels are purchased in a store, rather than online, you can ask the seller to open the packaging to check these characteristics.

When inspecting the front surface, you must make sure that the pattern is even and precise, there are no streaks.

When combining panels of the same colour, but from different packs, you need to check the identity of their shades. Colour rendition may differ in different batches of material.

Wall decoration with PVC wall panels

As mentioned above, the installation of wall panels on the bathroom walls takes a minimum of time. Usually, it takes no more than two days to complete all the work.

Installation of PVC wall panels is carried out on a structure, for the manufacture of which you can use:

  • Wooden panels. They are pre-treated with antiseptic compounds, as well as impregnations that prevent the formation of mould. To fix the panels to such strips, special self-tapping screws are used, as well as nails with a wide head.
  • Metal profiles. For the bathroom, it is advisable to use a galvanised version. Fastening is carried out with self-tapping screws for metal. But such a structure has a drawback – it takes up a lot of space.
  • Plastic mounting strips and cleats. This type of fastening is most suitable for PVC panels. The work does not take much time – with the help of fasteners, the plastic snaps into the groove that is on the profile. If necessary, the structure can be easily disassembled. This structure option takes up a minimum of space.

Arrangement of the structure

Before making the structure, the walls of the bathroom must be prepared: carefully remove the old finish, close up large recesses. After levelling, it is treated with an antibacterial primer. Then you can attach the structure to the wall.

It is essential to place the structure panels perpendicular to the wall cladding panels, keeping a distance of 30 cm between them. They must be fixed both at the beginning and at the end of the walls, and also do not forget about the doorways and windows.

To decorate the walls with PVC panels smoothly and beautifully, you have to do the structure properly.

Installation process

In addition to wall panels, you will need additional fittings for wall decoration – various profiles (starting, corner, F-shaped). They give the finish a neat and finished look. A ceiling or starter skirting board is used to seal the gaps between the ceiling and panels, as well as the floor and panels.

The wall decoration process consists of several stages:

  • The selected profiles are installed in the corner and at the top/bottom. They are fixed to the structure. The result is a frame into which the panels are then inserted.
  • The first panel is cut, taking into account the height or length of the wall. A protruding thorn is removed from the first strip, with this side it is inserted into the corner profile. The verticality of the placement is checked using a level.
  • After fixing the first strip, similar actions are done with all the others. The last panel on the wall usually needs to be cut to width.

Another way to finish

In addition to the above-described method of decorating walls with PVC bathroom wall panels, there is another one. It is used for perfectly flat wall surfaces that do not require a space-consuming structure. In this case, the panels are fixed using silicone or polyurethane foam.

But you still can’t do without setting up start profiles. They are fixed with suitable dowels. Mounting foam or silicone is applied to the back of the panels.

This method allows you to get the job done as quickly as possible. But there is also a drawback – to remove the panels, they will have to be destroyed.

PVC Ceiling cladding installation

The ceiling finished with PVC panels can be of two types – suspended and glued. The second method is suitable for flat ceiling surfaces, as well as for rooms with a limited area (too narrow). In all other cases, the suspended method is used.

The work is done in stages:

  • Preparation. You have to thoroughly clean the surface with the removal of the old finishing coating, rust, mould, etc. The ceiling is levelled and primed. Sound and heat insulation is carried out.
  • Layout and installation of the structure. These works are carried out to create a suspended frame. As when working with walls, you can make the structure from wooden panels or metal profiles.
  • Installation of the ceiling cladding. Screws, clips or self-tapping screws are used as fasteners. When using wooden panels, staples are also suitable. When installing plastic panels on glue, the whole process is quick. For this, it is crucial to prepare the glue mixture according to the instructions properly.
  • Finishing treatment. It includes the installation of skirting boards that cover gaps and serve as decorative elements. Seams and joints are necessarily processed. For this, an acrylic sealant is used. The crucial moment is the placement of lamps with their subsequent connection to the network.

Bathroom cladding: what interior design styles are suitable

When choosing bathroom cladding for finishing, you need to focus on its overall design. For example, in classic interiors, such material will be inappropriate. The same applies to Art Deco or country styles. Natural materials are more in harmony with them.

But for a design in the style of minimalism or modern, PVC wall panels are suitable. The appearance of the panels is very diverse. Modern manufacturers offer different design options that imitate ceramic tiles, stone, natural wood. You can also find panels decorated with an ornament, visually reminiscent of wallpaper or a spectacular panel with photo printing. Given the large assortment, if you wish, you can translate the most creative design ideas into reality. Besides, bathroom cladding goes well with various materials used in bathroom decoration.

There are several options for a harmonious combination. Looks stylish and modern the bathroom, the walls of which are decorated with panels with patterns, combined in a specific sequence. In the shower area and around the mirror, you can install bathroom cladding with patterns, and the rest of the room remains monochromatic.

Often, three types of bathroom cladding alternate with each other. Moreover, the panels have different textures and prints. This design option is more suitable for spacious bathrooms with low ceilings.

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