How to Compare Kohler Choreograph to Fibo Laminate Shower and Tub Wall Panels
Updated November 13, 2020
Important Annoucement: In late August 2020 Kohler decided to stop selling the Choreograph brand grout free wall panels direct to the public .
Deciding on the right shower and tub wall panels is tough enough, but it becomes ‘doubly-difficult’ when the two systems you’re comparing are newer to the United States market (even if one of them has been around the world market for over 40 years).
While Kohler Choreograph (also known as LuxStone) and Fibo laminate wall panels are both 100% waterproof, simple to maintain, respected brands in their country of origin (everyone knows Kohler in the United States and Fibo is used in 1/3 of the homes in Norway) and are an excellent alternatives to tile, this is where the similarities end.
As you’ll see below the Kohler and Fibo wall panels both have their strengths and weaknesses, just like you and I (note: even my wife of 35+ years thinks I have a few weaknesses…OK I’m lying, she thinks I have more than a few!).
In this article, I’ll present the advantages of each product and brand. At the end, I’d love to hear your opinion on which you’d choose for your next bathroom remodel or renovation of a vacation home rental bathroom.
Advantages of Kohler Choreograph vs. Fibo laminate shower and tub wall panels
Advantage #1 of Kohler Choreograph – They have 72” high panels for tubs
When you’re simply looking to get rid of your tile or fiberglass tub wall surrounds (and keep your existing tub) and want to upgrade with a thicker, higher quality system at a low cost, Kohler can be for you. With the Choreography panels you can buy shorter 72” high panels. The Fibo line is only available in 94.4” tall.
Advantage #2 of Kohler Choreograph – They were widely available at home centers, on-line stores or through Kohler distributors
It’s nice to purchase products through several places. Kohler (for better – and sometimes for worse) has been widely distributed. It used to be simple to find Choreograph (or LuxStone – which is actually the same product as Choreograph but is rebranded as the ‘installation line) at home centers, online stores and Kohler distributors. Fibo is only available through a small (right now) network of nationwide distributors and approved installing dealers.
However, there is a downside with Kohler’s wide distribution. You can also get in the middle of ‘finger-pointing’ battles. One I saw in an Amazon review was a customer who wasn’t happy with the printed quality of the Kohler panels. The on-line store he bought from wanted him to return the panels to Kohler. Kohler wanted him to return the panels through the online store.
The other disadvantage of wide distribution is some stores and sites carry a wide range of products. They don’t have specialized expertise in shower and tub wall panels. This can result in working with people who are selling everything and anything (‘er can you say online stores here?) and (as my Dad used to say), ‘don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground.’ At this point – it will be hard to find Choreograph at a home center unless its some old stock laying around since Kohler decided to discontinue the ‘Choreography’ brand.
Advantage #3 of Kohler Choreograph – You’ll find top-notch accessories
Kohler has done a masterful job designing accessories for the Choreograph line. You’ll find ‘shower lockers’ – which are recessed shower niches on steroids. They can be 9” or 14” wide and provide up to 5’ long of storage depth. It’s also smart how they have adjustable shelves and removable storage baskets. They’re stylish and space-efficient for those of you with LOTS of products (my wife Rose knows she certainly would resemble this remark!).
You’ll also find ‘shower barre’s,’ shower hooks and teak trays to name of few of the options.
The Choreograph accessories are better designed than those associated with any wall panel system in the market – IMHO.
Advantages of Fibo laminate wall panels vs. Kohler Choreograph
Advantage #1 of Fibo laminate panels vs. Kohler– You can get the product RIGHT NOW!
You don’t have to read of ton of reviews on the Kohler Choreograph line to figure out getting their product has been a MAJOR PROBLEM since it was introduced over 5 years ago (this may have been one of the reasons Kohler decided to discontinue this brand in in-store outlets). Lead time have ranged from 5 weeks to 5 months. Can you say, ouch? That’s a crazy amount of time.
Unless you (or your contractor) excels at planning ahead (and I’ll tell you from my experience, once someone decides to do a project, they want it done yesterday!) long lead times are a problem.
Fibo, on the other hand, has 26 different laminate shower wall patterns and colors available from stock today in the United States. Design styles include Transitionalist, Modern Minimalist, Contemporary High Gloss, a Matte finished wall panel collection called ‘Oasis,’ and Modern Minimalist in these waterproof wall panels.
Advantage #2 of Fibo laminate panels vs. Kohler– You can choose from matte and gloss finishes
Perhaps you’ve got a small, cramped, dark bathroom without windows. You need to do EVERYTHING to brighten up your small space. This is where shower wall panels with gloss finishes excel.
Gloss provides a reflective surface which brightens up a room. Gloss is simple to clean.
On the other hand you may want a more ‘relaxed’ matte finish – and this is where this line can ‘shine’ (OK – that was a bad ‘matte finish’ pun). You’ll want to check out some of the fun colors in the Oasis collection.’
With the Fibo line, you can choose from matte and gloss finishes. With Choreograph (or Luxstone) you’re limited to matte only.
Advantage #3 of Fibo laminate wall panels vs. Kohler – Everything’s in the kit
Think back to last Christmas. You’re assembling toys for your kids or grandkids. You get to the end. Then you see those evil words on the box “BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED!”
You mutter to yourself (or you swear out loud), “Why the heck (OK, you didn’t say heck, but this is a ‘family-friendly’ blog) aren’t batteries included? They KNOW we need batteries!’ Then you have to go out to the store late at night and hunt down batteries. What a pain!
The same challenge (even to a larger degree) can also be a problem when you’re dealing with shower wall panels. The manufacturer knows you’ll need adhesives and caulks, so why doesn’t every wall panel manufacturer include them with the wall panels?
With Fibo you can purchase complete shower and tub wall panel kits. The kit has the trims, factory-tested sealants and panels you’ll need. You won’t need to figure out (and worry if) you’re using the right sealants (note: sealants are critical to the long-term performance of any wall panel system). You’ll also know the sealant has been colored matched to the faux grout joints of the panels.
With the Kohler system, on the other hand, the installation videos tell you to find ‘construction adhesives’ to go with the system. This leaves you to guess (and have to find), proper adhesives and sealants for the job. That can be a BIG problem if you buy and install the wrong stuff.
Having the right sealant included in the kit will save you time (and worry) whether you’re using this in your personal home or you’re remodeling a rental home shower.
Advantage #4 of Fibo laminate wall panels vs. Kohler – Laminate is easier to install
If you’ve ever worked with a solid surface wall panel (which at its core – no pun intended- is what Kohler Choreograph is) you know a 60” x 96” back wall panel is ONE HEAVY PUPPY (likely around 120 lbs.)! You cannot and you will not be doing this installation alone.
Solid surface panels are hard to maneuver into tight bathrooms. You need to be careful not to crack them (otherwise you’ll go through the waaaaay-too-long lead time once again). You’ll need to brace the panels, so they don’t fall over before the sealant behind the walls fully dries.
Fibo laminate panels, on the other hand, are 2’ x 8’ x 3/8” thick tongue and groove style units which weigh 26 pounds. They’re simply screwed onto plywood or Oriented Strand Board. Then you apply sealant to the ‘mating’ panel and click and lock adjoining panels together. Lastly, you clean off the excess.
The installation is light and do-able by one person. There is no time to wait for the ‘braced’ panels to fully adhere.
Advantage #5 of Fibo laminate wall panels vs. Kohler – The Fibo system has been ‘around the block’ – or should I say ‘around the world’ for 5x longer than Choreography
New products are good…until they’re not.
With any wall panel system, it takes time to ‘get the bugs’ out. Since Kohler’s proprietary formulation is new and their production processes have been strained, there are still kinks (from what I see and read on the review sites) in the system.
With Fibo laminate panels you’re looking at a system which has been sold and installed in Europe for over 26 years. While this product is also evolving (check out the new marble patterns and rough wood textured laminate picture below), it’s been proven in Europe for decades. Sure, it’s new to the United States. However, the product is not – by any stretch of the imagination – new.
Advantage #6 of Fibo laminate wall panels vs. Kohler – There are no seam or inside corner trims
While there are a lot of ‘standard’ 60” and 48” wide showers, there are plenty of custom showers which go beyond these widths. And you know what people HATE about wall panels when they have larger custom showers? They hate not having a continuous look. They hate seam and corner trim pieces. They’re evil and should be avoided at all costs.
With the Kohler system you’ll have to put up with corner trims in every job. You’ll also need a seam trim piece when a wall gets wider than 60”.
With the Fibo laminate product (since the panels are sealed inside their tongue and groove construction) you’ll see ZERO seams no matter how long your wall is! That’s a look which works in a custom shower. It’s also nice to know you won’t need a high-cost custom kit to do custom sized walls. You’ll just need to order more 24” wide panels to (as Larry the Cable Guy would say), ‘get ‘er done!’
Advantage #7 of Fibo laminate wall panels vs. Kohler – These panels can be used beyond the bathroom
Although most waterproof panels are limited to use in your bathroom, this is not the case with the Fibo laminate panels. A full line of ‘under the cabinet’ kitchen backsplash panels brings the same easy installation from the bathroom into your kitchen. And if you’ve ever installed a tile kitchen backsplash, you know you’ll be glad you don’t have to go back THERE again!
I will admit I do have a preference between these 2 systems (I’d choose the Fibo system), although there were some way cool elements (like the shower accessories) designed into the Choreograph line. As you might guess I’m an opinionated guy whose been in the bathroom remodeling and shower wall panel supply for a ‘few’ years. Ok, I’ve been around more than 30 years, and NO, I don’t want to admit I have gray hair either (and my hair stylist has been sworn to secrecy also)!
However, the most important question is not what I think, it’s what do you think?
If you had to select one, would you choose the Kohler Choreograph or the Fibo laminate panels? Why did you make this selection?
Please add your thoughts in the comments below or call me (or my team). We can help you ‘sift through’ the plethora (fancy words I’m using to impress you now) of options, provide Free Samples of wall panels and help you get your favorite system installed (either through our local crews in Cleveland or through our nationwide network of installing wall panel dealers).
How can I (or a member of my team) help you?
Do you have any additional question about your project me (or my team) can ‘fill in the blanks’ for you?
We’d love to help. Call us at 877-668-5888 (for nationwide wholesale supply or a connection to a local installing dealer of laminated wall panels). For a local project call 216-658-1280 in Cleveland or 614-252-3242 in Columbus for professional installation service.
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Marie – thanks for your interest in the laminate wall panels. The good news is we have these products in stock. So I would use a 2 week lead time. I’ll send you an email if you’d like to reach out to me – Mike (the number of our office is 877-668-5888 also).
We are building a home in Saint George, Utah. We would love to use the Filo laminate panels in our Master Bath shower. Our shower size is 42” x 42” with an 8’ ceiling. Can the panels be trimmed to fit 42”? Can they be shipped to us? If so, what is your lead time?
Heidi – yes we do have some cool accessories to go with the Fibo laminate wall panels. I’ll include a link here and also email you and your Customer Service rep to help you with pricing, sizes etc. of these accessories. Thanks for choosing this product – I think it’s the sharpest wall panel (and best value) in the US market today (OK – I’m partial, but I still think it’s true) – Mike. Now here’s the link – https://innovatebuildingsolutions.com/products/bathrooms/contemporary-shower-accessories-laminated-wall-panels
I’m eagerly awaiting delivery of my Fibo shower, and I need help! Does this system offer any kind of accessories for inside the shower? Shelves, baskets, anything that attach to the wall?
Susan – if you’re looking for wholesale supply we can get the materials to you directly. If you’re looking for an installing dealer we have a newer one in Kent Washington I can refer to you. Let us know – Mike -877-668-5888.
Would you be able to tell me if there are any Fibo distributors in the Seattle, WA area?
Aimee – since responding to your comment a couple of days ago I have received through a dealer of ours a letter to Kohler Distributor Partners saying Kohler Company is halting production of all Choreograph wall panels and kits effective immedidately. All open orders will be cancelled. I am writing an article right now to talk about stylish – yet cost-effective – alternatives to this line (2 of which I mentioned in the reply before. Feel free to reach out to me or our team for more insights at 877-668-5888 – Mike
Aimee – I know challenges with deliveries have existed with the Kohler Choreograph panels (also called Luxstone) since they were introduced 4 or 5 years ago. I’ve heard rumors about this product being discontinued – but I really don’t know if they’re true or not. In addition to the laminate wall panels – you can also look at optical grade high gloss shower panels (very contemporary and stylish) or PVC wall panels (very simple to install and they look like stone). If me – or my team – can help further feel free to reach out at 877-668-5888 – Mike
I was going to order Luxstone and was just told that is going to be discontinued! Is this true? Beside Fibo are there any other products that you would recommend?
Feel free to call us and we can work with you on a display kit and color selections – Mike – 877-668-5888
Tom – I’m glad you like the laminate wall panels and were able to get help from Ryan (he’s a smart guy!). And also thanks for your input about having a helper. Let us know if we can help you any further – Mike
I recently installed the fibo laminate wall panels in my master bathroom remodelIng project. My wife actually discovered the fibo system and I reached out to innovate building solutions where Rep. Ryan Kean was extremely helpful. As a DIY’er my concern was getting in over my head and will this material leak? The panels/trim/screws and sealant arrived well packaged. Installation was pretty straight forward and the learning curve was simple, measure twice and cut once. My wife loves that the wall panels go from shower pan to ceiling with no seams! The tongue and groove panels with the polymer sealant ensures a tight seal. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the product and any questions that I had were quickly answered by Ryan. My one recommendation is to have a helper. My 18 yr old son assisted me when needed during the installation of panels, due to the overall length of each.
Christofferson Const LLC
Can you send me color samples.
I and a G C and I have 7 bath rooms in being bidding at the time.
I would a display kit and color kit.
Gary – good questions. First Fibo got into the wall panel business 40 years ago in Europe and there are installations which have been in that long – and are still in good condition. We sell the Fibo system as a kit (including the hybrid polymer sealant and trims) so someone has all the right materials to make sure it’s done properly. If you want to get extra materials beyond the standard kit you certainly can.
Yes – good point about my comment to Robert Allen. The ‘material price’ of the fibo system will be about the same as Kohler, but yes the labor can be less because it can be done with one person – although things always go quicker with 2 people (unless you take too many breaks for eating and drinking the beer – ha! ha!). Let me know if you need anything else Gary – here’s our number – 877-668-5888 – Mike
You mentioned the Fibo system has been around for 26 years but didn’t mention the life expectancy of these panels in a shower. What is the life expectancy? Are there any 26 year old Fibo showers that still look good and have not failed/leaked? And are individual Fibo panels sold separately and do they come with extra installation materials? (adhesive, cleaner, screws, etc.)
PS: I saw where Robert Allen asked about price comparison of Choreograph vs Fibo and you replied they cost about the same, but isn’t the labor a lot less to install Fibo? Even a DIY’er, if they dare attempt installation, will need to at least provide food and beer to get a buddy to help install the Choreograph.
Bill for the laminate system you’re going to use OSB (Oriented Strand Board) at 1/2″ thickness behind the panels so you’ll be able to mount safety bars and seats. With the Choreograph product it’s glued up onto moisture resistant greenboard so you’d need to add wood backing behind the wall. Let me know if you need anything else Bill – Mike
Mike, can you provide details of support structures behind the finished panels for attaching items such as safety bars and seats?
I am wondering if all those cool shelves, niches, grab-bars, seats, etc. by Kohler would work with the Fibo system? And what does Fibo offer as accessory items for their shower/tub surrounds? And does Fibo have edge trim that is color matched or is it only available in metal? And is Fibo available in granite, marble, travertine or other stone veining patterns? And can you point out where the Fibo backsplash can be viewed and installation instructions on your website? As a remodeling contractor I am always looking for unique ways to combine various products and materials to meet or exceed any customers expectations.
Robert – the price of these systems will be very comparable in general. What I like better about the laminate is they are lighter, simpler to work with and not as prone to cracking. If one of our ream can help you feel free to call – Mike – 877-668-5888
Is there a cost comparison of the twi
Melodie – it’s not a problem to do 7′ tall walls with Fibo. You simply cut off the 10″ at the top to make them fit. Would you like us to call you to finalize any of the details with your project? Mike – 877-668-5888.
Hi Mike. I’m finally ready to start thinking about remodeling my bathrooms so thanks for a very helpful article comparing Kohler with Fibo. Like many homes, one of my bathrooms has a tub and one has a shower. The walls above the tub are 7′ so Fibo wouldn’t work unless I can install the panels horizontally and cut them to length for proper width. Is this possible? I really don’t want to have to do Kohler around the tub and Fibo on the shower; I’d rather do both with Fibo.
Nancy – it’s always smart to compare to make sure you find the best product for you. I know there was a large job this year we were able to supply the fibo panels into because the Kohler lead times had extended to 4 months. I believe their deliveries are better now, but I still hear this to be a problem. Thanks for your input! Mike
I couldn’t even find a dealer or store in my city that had a sample of the Koehler product. One high-end store ($5,000 + up vanities) had a picture of it in a bathtub display. Employees at the big box stores had never even heard of it. I knew I was going to get Fibo panels but my years in management made me need to compare options.