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How to choose the perfect grout free shower or tub wall panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Grout free high gloss acrylic shower wall panels in a modern bathroom

Grout free high gloss acrylic shower wall panels in a modern bathroom

OK – you’re looking for the perfect grout free tub or shower wall panel system and I have to start this article out by telling you there is no perfect system – bummer! What I can explain to you is there are a lot of options (a good thing) with different strengths and weaknesses inherent for each system.

Using frequently asked questions we’ll explore below the advantages and disadvantages of grout free shower and tub wall options.

Question 1) What are the cheapest, lowest cost grout free walls? The cheapest walls are made of plastic or fiberglass. They are available in standard sized tub and shower wall kits. There are certainly drawbacks associated with these systems since they are more prone to cracking, chipping, yellowing and staining.

Fiberglass walls are low cost and come in standard sizes

Fiberglass walls are low cost and come in standard sizes

Question 2) What wall panels are easy for a DIY person to install? One of the easiest is a PVC backed composite wall board which is ¼” thick and looks like real stone. It can even be cut with a carpenters knife! The next easiest would be acrylic walls, although you have to be careful with acrylic with expansion and contraction if you’re cutting them in cold or hot environments.

PVC backed composite walls look like real stone and are easy to install!

PVC backed composite walls look like real stone and are easy to install!

Question 3) What choices are there for natural grout free tub and shower walls? Marble and granite would be the two most popular choices. They look fantastic and create a luxurious space. The biggest negatives to these materials are their weight, cost, difficulty and mess in cutting, and the fact they require resealing.

Marble slab tub and shower walls create a luxury look

Marble slab tub and shower walls create a luxury look

Question 4) What man-made options can create the look of natural stone, tile or marble? Acrylic, cultured marble and PVC backed composites and solid surface wall panels are all man-made options to create the look of these natural materials. These materials are easier to maintain (and generally cheaper) than their natural counterparts. The drawback is in the end they aren’t exactly the same as the natural product.

Acrylic wall panels can create the look of stone or tile

Acrylic wall panels can create the look of stone or tile

Question 5) Are there any safe and contemporary looking wall systems to create the high gloss look of glass in a tub, shower or bathroom area? High gloss acrylic wall panels can create the modern look of a back painted glass with the benefits of being safe, strong, durable and easy to cut and install.

High gloss acrylic walls (in multiple colors) create the look of back painted contemporary glass

High gloss acrylic walls (in multiple colors) create the look of back painted contemporary glass

Which of these grout free wall panel systems do you like the best? Which do you like the least? Please comment below.

 

 

If you’re looking for more information or an estimate on remodeling a tub or shower or nationwide material supply for several of the wall systems mentioned above call The Bath Doctor in Cleveland (216-531-6085), Columbus (614-252-7294) or for nationwide supply Innovate Building Solutions (877-668-5888).

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Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

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