News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block

9 Truly Remarkable Things about Laminate Shower & Tub Wall Panels (and 3 things which could be better)

9 remarkable things laminate shower and tub wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewalls #TubSurround #WallPanels #DIYInstallation

Updated December 26, 2021

Do your ugly, cheap, and yellowed ‘builders-grade’ fiberglass shower wall surrounds make you want to SCREAM!

OR does your moldy, bacteria-filled tub or shower tile walls look DISGUSTING? And it doesn’t take a genius to know you hate using your tile scrub brush to try to clean those nasty tile grout joints. Can you say…


Yes, it’s true fiberglass and tile shower wall systems are ‘remarkable,’ but for all the wrong reasons.

If you’ve ‘had it up to here’ (I can still hear my Mom saying those words back in the day) with your existing wall surrounds, I get it.

You want a better shower or tub surround alternative (and as Colonel Nathan Jessup from my favorite movie A Few Good Men would say), you NEED a better alternative. You want a shower or tub surround system which is ‘remarkable’ for all the right reasons. Here’s a few benefits I’d bet you’d like to see.

  • 1) You want stylish walls and a lot of selection (Who exactly wants to spend their hard-earned dollars on a bathroom or shower remodel only for a slightly better result than you have today? You want a cool-looking finished product).


  • 2) You want LOW, LOW, LOW maintenance (Who wants to spend even 1 minute of their time cleaning shower and tub walls??? ‘er NO ONE!).


  • 3) You want no mold or bacteria (The Coronavirus will make ALL OF US into germaphobes…eventually.)


  • 4) You want simple to install (If you’re DIY’ing the job you want to get done quickly. If you’re hiring a contractor, you want it done even quicker – because you’re not made of money).


  • 5) You don’t want to pay an arm and a leg (Unless you’re made of money, like your Dad used to tell you he was…NOT!).

Bottom line is…. you want remarkable…. but ‘remarkable’ in a good way. But how?

As a guy who has lead a bathroom remodeling and nationwide bathroom products wholesale business for Y-E-A-R-S (OK – I’m old…I’ll admit it) and seen the good, the bad and the mostly ugly in shower and tub wall surround systems, I not only feel your pain, I’ve heard it for years.

Fortunately for you a remarkably better alternative has come along. And while it’s not the ‘perfect’ shower and tub wall surround system (and quite honestly, there’s still no perfect system I know of), its head and shoulders above the mundane alternatives offered by most new home builders or remodeling contractors (tile, fiberglass, acrylic and cultured marble put your hands up now).

What is this remarkably better alternative, you ask? They’re laminate shower and tub wall panels.

In this article I’ll share 9 things which are remarkable about this system. And to keep it ‘real dog’ as Randy Jackson used to say, I’ll also point out 3 things which can be improved about these panels. At the end, I’d love your feedback about what you love (or don’t) about them.

Let’s dig in and learn more.

9 remarkable things about laminate shower and tub wall panels

Remarkable thing #1 about laminate shower and tub wall panels They’re ‘new,’ yet they’ve been around for 41 years

I’ll admit I love innovation. I love adopting new technologies and trying new products. And I love a clean, contemporary look in bathrooms. So, when I saw laminate panels for the first time 3 years ago at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando, I took one look at this product and said, “Now, that’s cool.”

These panels were new and fresh. Look yourself in the video below:

However, what I didn’t know is they were developed 41 years ago. They are the dominant grout free wall panel system used in Europe and Asia. As a matter of fact, in Norway laminate shower panels are 1/3 of the market! Take that tile!

Remarkable thing #2 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – They can be installed by one man or one woman

OK ladies – I can hear you saying right now, “If you want it done right, give the job to a woman.” And while that may be true, these walls panels can also be installed by a guy – and only 1 guy at that.

Most shower and tub wall panel installations take two people. You need 2 because some systems weigh a lot (cultured granite or cultured marble are prime examples) or because they’re flimsy (acrylic, fiberglass or PVC composite products come to mind).

These 2’ x 8’ x 3/8” thick high-pressure laminate panels only weigh 26 lbs. and click, lock and seal together (like laminate flooring). You won’t need to beg a buddy (or buy them a steak dinner) to help you install. You won’t need to pay big bucks to your contractor who can be in your home for what seems like forever building a tile shower.

Remarkable installing laminate shower wall panels onto plywood | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewallpanels #Showerwallpanels #Plywood #Installation

Remarkable thing #3 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – Bacteria and mold HATES these panels

Even before you and I had to get ‘mask to mask’ to stomp out the Coronavirus we’ve HATED moldy and bacteria-infested grout joints. Now, more than ever, we know we need bathroom wall panels which stomp out mold and bacteria to keep our family healthy.

Since these panels stop water penetration right on the surface, you’ll win the battle vs. MOLD…. forever!

Remarkable thing mold on a tile tub surround | Innovate Building Solutions | #bathtub #ShowerInstall #Bathroomremodel

Remarkable thing #4 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – FINALLY there’s a realistic wall panel system!

IMHO – most wall panel systems look fake. And if I’m being perfectly honest (as opposed to being imperfectly honest), even though my company used to sell acrylic wall panels (back in the day), I never considered installing them in my own home. You may wonder why? It’s because they look plasticky and cheap. My wife wasn’t having it (and yes – I don’t even pretend I’m calling the bathroom décor shots in my home!).

With these CNC manufactured panels there are actual (‘er faux) grout joints which are a different color than the ‘tile and stone’ patterns on the surface. They come in fun large format tile grout patterns or even fun designs like white subway tile or white herringbone.

Remarkable thing laminate abby shale close up image of a shower | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerSystem #BathroomWallPanels #ShowerWallPanels

White subway laminate wall panels with a gray grout joint
White subway laminate wall panels with a gray grout joint

You’ll swear they’re real (and yes – if you swear, I won’t tell your Mom).

Remarkable thing #5 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – It doesn’t take FOREVER to get them

So, you just ‘sprung a leak’ through your shower pan or tile walls. Drops of water are sitting on your new mahogany dining room table. Oh, crap (or fill in your favorite swear word here)!

You need to get your tile or fiberglass shower fixed fast with a system which won’t leak. But how? It usually takes 1 to 2 months to get waterproof cultured stone or a professionally installed acrylic wall panel system completed. You need materials – N-O-W!

This is one reason people love laminate panels. They’re in stock (and yes – I’ll come clean and tell you our company has pallets of them on the floor in our warehouse– insert a shameless plug here). They’ll be crated up and sent out as soon as your order is placed. And if you need a shower pan right away – ask about modern low profile shower pans like you’ll see below as well.

Fibo laminate wall panels and accessories crated ready for shipment | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewallpanels #Showerwallpanels #Shipment

Modern low profile shower pan
Modern low profile shower pan

Remarkable thing #6 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – Boring designs can say ‘bye-bye Felicia!’

Who wants boring? If you want boring put in another fiberglass surround like your builder slapped in years ago.

While you may want a grout-free shower or tub wall panel system to eliminate leaky or molded grout joints, you don’t want a ‘generic-looking’ bathroom. You want to say ‘bye-bye Felicia’ to a boring bathroom.


Now, here’s the good news.

Laminate panels come in a crazy number of designs. Styles range from Modern Farmhouse to Transitionalist to Minimalist to Contemporary. There are 23 styles stocked in the United States. There are another 700 possibilities in the full catalogue (WARNING – DO NOT REQUEST the full catalogue and show it to your spouse who can’t make up their minds about anything!).

Remarkable thing #7 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – You can ‘hang’ any accessories, at any time

I don’t want to get gory with you but it’s important to be able to ‘hang’ (now don’t think about your teenage son or daughter here who got yet another missing assignment from school) things on your shower or tub walls. Perhaps Mom comes to live with you and needs a fold down seat or a grab bar? Or your spouse keeps buying ‘lotions and potions’ and you’re tired of tripping over the shampoo bottles on the shower floor. You need more shower accessories.

Since laminate wall panels are installed over plywood (note – they are screwed to ‘Oriented Strand Board’ behind the waterproof surface) you can add shelves, seats, and grab bars at any time you like.

Download our Contemporary Bathroom Design Guide

Remarkable thing #8 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – You can use any shower pan or wet room system  

If you have an existing shower pan which is in good shape, but your walls look like ‘doo-doo’ (sorry to get technical here) and needs replaced NOW, you’ll like knowing you don’t have to rip the pan out also.

In addition, if you want to install a barrier free one level wet room for a small bathroom or for a family member whose mobility isn’t the greatest, the laminate wall panels work with this shower floor as well.

Shower Base Guide Download

Remarkable thing #9 about laminate shower and tub wall panels – They free up your time to do other things

If you love a tile or stone shower but dread DIY’ing the job or paying out the wazoo for a tile setter, these click, lock and seal wall panels install in 1/3 to 1/6 the time of tile. This saves you money and frees up (what should be) time to do more important things – like spend time with your kids or grandkids.

grandfather spending time with grandaughter vs. doing DIY job | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Building Solutions | #DIYJob #SpendingTimewithfamily #FamilyTime

So, what can be better about laminate wall panels?

While I could tell you laminate wall panels are the best thing since sliced bread and are flawless, that would be like my wife saying I’m the perfect man (OK, once I thought I heard her say it, but then I woke up!).

Everything and everybody get an ‘N.I.’ (Needs Improvement) on their report cards every now and again (even my precious lovely – now grown ‘children’ Grant, Parker and Jade can relate to that!).

Laminate shower and tub wall panels – while very cool (IMHO) are (like us all) a work in progress. Here’s 3 things – in my opinion – which could be better.

#1 thing which could be better about laminate wall panels – They should be made in wider sizes

While the click and lock system works very well – it would be nice to have less panels. There has been discussion about making the wall panels in 36″ widths (vs. the 24″ widths they come in today) – but this design concept is still on the drawing board.

#2 thing which could be better about laminate wall panels – A premade window trim kit to match the wall panels doesn’t exist yet

With some wall panel systems there are pre-manufactured window trim kits. For example, if you’re installing cultured marble, acrylic and PVC composite you can get a pre-built window trim kit which saves you time. Trimming around a double hung or transom window to waterproof your tub or shower can be a PAIN.

Today, with the laminate wall panel system you need to create your own ‘window trim kit’ using cut-offs and trim pieces or use cultured stone molding to trim your window out. These options do look nice, but they take extra time.

could be better laminate window trim kit | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewallpanels #ShowerWallPanels #WIndowTrimKit

#3 thing which could be better about laminate wall panels – It would be nice to have shower pans specifically matched to the wall panels

In some shower and tub wall surround product categories (like cultured marble, cultured granite, and PVC composite) you can get a shower base which matches the wall panels. In the case of laminate panels, you’ll need to pair them up with a base made from another material. And while you can use any base (see remarkable thing #8), you still need to coordinate colors.

How can we help you next?

There you have it. 9 remarkable things about laminate wall panels and 3 things which need improvement.

After reading this article what’s your opinion about laminate shower wall panels? Do you give them a Siskel and Ebert ‘two-thumbs’ up or does another system seem better to you?

If you have questions or want feedback on your project, put them in the comments below – or better yet – call 877-668-5888. Me or my team (and yes – I PROMISE YOU – my team IS NOT as wacky as I am!) are here to help.

Our company sells nationwide (both direct and through a network of installing dealers) and installs tub and shower wall panels regionally (including 3 other types of wall panels beyond our laminate offering). We’d love to help you.


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

Comments (54)

  • Greg – thanks for your business – I’m glad you like the panels. You should be able to put a corner shelf in your system. With the ones we sell you usually drill holes into the panels (and fill with them with the hybrid polymer sealant) before screwing them in. You may want to reach out to your sales person for more insights and costs on those as well. Thanks – Mike

  • We had your shower panels installed through a contractor we hired. We love the panels. The only thing that concerned us was the gap in two corners where it was put together with white caulking. We did have a beige caulking put over it after discussing it with your installers. Also, we tried to put a wire suction shower caddy up but t didn’t stay. Do they not work on these panels? We didn’t want to add a niche or attach anything with screws because it looks so nice.

  • Janie – thanks for your question. These wall panels are only for vertical walls, not floors. So, it’s not recommended for floors of any types. If you’re looking for a durable floor, solid surface could be an option, but they’ll be pricey for this type of application – Mike

  • I didn’t read all comments so forgive me if this has been asked:

    Can this be used on a chicken coop floor? The floors of coops are a constant battle to keep clean. This material seems perfect. The only thing I’m concerned about is walking on it. The floor will be covered with straw but will need to be swept out and washed. The sub floor is properly installed so there is a solid base. I’m just worried that it might crack if walked on. Other than that, it seems perfect.

  • Hello,

    I was wondering if you have any installers in the Charlotte, NC area? If so, could I possibly be emailed a list of them? Thank you!

  • Tom – this product can certainly be used around an old cast iron tub. Feel free to call us – or email – if you want the ‘product guide’ which provides step by step installation instructions – Mike (877-668-5888)

  • Can this product be used with an old cast iron tub? I am looking to refinish the tub instead of replacing but I need to also get the shower going due to health reasins with my wife. I would appreciate any info and possibly a catalog.


  • Jean – we do have some installing dealers I think will be able to help you – and the wall panels will be an excellent product to use to combat vs. your hard water. I’ll send you an email with my specific details – Mike

  • Are there any installers/dealers in the Charlotte NC area? We have very hard water, is that an issue for these panels? Also I would love a catalog.


  • Rhonda – we would be glad to assist you. If you’re looking for materials only we can sell you product on a wholesale basis. If you’re looking for professional installation I can see if we have one of our dealers who can assist you. Feel free to call us at 877-668-5888 – Mike

  • Do you have any dealers in or near Fort Meyers, FL? If not, can you ship there? I live in Ohio but have a modular home in North Fort Meyers that had a water leak and I decided to put a shower where a large tub used to be. Thanks!!

  • Deb – we’d love to help you further. I’ll send you an email next to get your address and see what questions I can help with – Mike

  • Mike,
    This is just the product I’ve been searching for and would need a tub wall surround. I now must make a decision on what style. Could you send me more information/ catalog possibly? We plan to install it ourselves.

  • TJ – thanks for your question. I have heard people (mostly on the East Coast) mention Tere-Stone. And while I haven’t met anyone personally from this company as of yet – they appear to be a regional cultured marble company. In general I like cultured marble for it’s durability – but from a style standpoint, I think the look of this product is not fitting with the styles many are looking for today. Both wall panels (the laminate shower wall panels and the Tere-Stone) are 3/8″ thick. I’m a big fan for the laminate because it not only has a lifetime guarantee – but it’s more stylish (IMHO) than cultured stone and it’s easier to work with (the 2′ x 8′ x 3/8″ thick laminate panels weigh 26 pounds vs. cultured stone panels which can weigh over 100 lbs. for a 60″ x 96″ ‘back wall’ of a standard shower. TJ – if you want to compare these materials I’d recommend reading this article titled – How to Compare Cultured Stone and Laminate Bathroom Wall Panels – here’s the link (and if we can help further call 877-668-5888) – Mike –

  • Hi Mike:
    Have you ever heard of Tere-Stone shower panels for bathroom remodel?
    How would you rate them against the laminate wall panels? If I were to have
    Laminate wall panels installed what would be the best shower base I could use? Also are there any contractors you could recommend in my area? (King of Prussia, PA. 19406).


  • Jerry – these are some excellent ideas! It can be hard to match colors – between the pan options and the wall options. Fibo does have a design app but had some challenges with it. They have developed some new patterns – one with a larger ‘running bond’ pattern we’ll have in stock when our next container comes in. The horizontal panels may be a challenge – since this system is based on vertical interlocking patterns. Thanks for your input – most appreciated – we’re always looking to innovate in conjunction with our manufacturing partner – Mike

  • I agree a window kit would be a great addition, unfortunately it will not be ready for the current project.
    I would like to see more pictures and design ideas matching the laminate wall colors with the pans. This is really beneficial when making material, color selections and what they would look like. Perhaps a design app that the customer can use to do the design and really see what there selections would look like.
    As I understand we currently can not use horizontal accent panels with the laminate walls. This would be an additional design benefit.

  • Sherrie – the laminate panels can be used in RV’s, tiny homes or horse trailers. They ‘travel’ quite well. If one of team could help call 877-668-5888 – Mike

  • My son had this stuff installed recently by a dealer in Pa. It is beautiful! We decided we wanted to upgrade our tiny twin home bathroom but his dealer refused to drive 40mins to do the job?! We talked to another dealer and he assured us that any good contractor can do the job! Now we are getting ready to order! I just hope you are right about the time it takes to get these panels, since our contractor told us he has had a difficult time getting any supplies since the Covid problem! One question I have is, are these panels custom cut to fit? I saw through Lowes that you can order kits but the dimensions do not fit our old bathroom?

  • Heidi – I’m not sure how close these towns are to you but we have installing dealers in the following towns in California:

    – Mountain House, CA
    – Auburn, CA
    – Woodland, CA
    – Santa Rosa, CA

    Even if these dealers aren’t close enough to you, our products are simple enough for a handy contractor to install. Feel free to call me or my team at 877-668-5888 for any additional help – Mike

  • Vicki – thanks for reading the blog. I’m glad you’re finding value in it. And – I’ve got good news for you. Yes – we do have the subway tile wall panels in white with a gray grout joint with the traditional 6″ x 3″ ’tile’ design. They install like the other laminate panels. Regarding the window trim – you can either use the ‘cut offs’ from the other walls with our ‘long L trim’ piece or use a white solid surface trim to cover around the window. If you want to call us we can lead you through it. The number to reach me or my staff is 877-668-5888. I will also reach out to you via email also. Mike

  • Hi Mike! Love the idea of no grout. We are moving into an old stone house and would like to redo the downstairs bath into an age in place shower bathroom. It’s tiny though, just room for a bathtub toilet and sink in a cabinet. Has a window in the bath. My question: have they made the subway tile wall panels yet and the precut window surround? I want the bathroom to fit in with the 1862 house and be white due to small size. Thanks for your blog! Vicki

  • Catherine – I’m glad you like the product. I’ll send you an email off-line so you can give us your address. We’d be glad to send out a brochure and even what we call a ‘click together’ sample so you’ll get a feel of the actual material and how they join together. If we can help further feel free to call 877-668-5888. Mike

  • This is a great product, the look of tile and grout without the hassle. I would love a catalogue. Bathroom remodel is scheduled for January.

  • Joe – we don’t have any dealers in Tennessee yet – but we can either sell it to you and/or work with your contractor (and if they like the product they can possibly become our next dealer). Feel free to call us at 877-668-5888 so we can help you further. Mike

  • Carl – you can budget between $1,400 and $1,700 for a bath/shower kit for this area. The panels are 94.4″ tall so you’ll not only have enough material for around the bathtub, but can also have material to do behind a vanity or possibly kitchen backsplash. If you want to get more input give our team a call at 877-668-588.

  • Mike,
    I live in Tulsa, Ok. I haven’t decided if I want to DIY or not but I’d like to get a quote for the panels. I have a standard bathtub and the tile wall area measures 32″ X 60″ roughly. Can you give me a ballpark idea?

  • Lauren – the price depends on the number of panels in a shower kit. For a ‘standard’ 60″ x 32″ shower you can use a budget pricing of between $1,500 to $1,800 delivered to Canada – but the best way to get exact pricing would be to give us a call. You can reach our team at 877-668-5888. Mike

  • John – thanks reading for the last 2 years – that’s wonderful! I hope you’ve learned a few things and maybe laughed a little along the way. I heard that Fleurco was going to take the line on in Canada. If they don’t have it though we could ship to a Northern location in the United States if you can arrange shipping to Canada. Let me know if we can help further – Mike – 877-668-5888

  • Hi. I’ve been a reader for 2 years now and now want to do the ‘Best’ shower ever. My problem is I live a little north from you in the backwoods in a place called Ottawa Canada. I have enjoyed reading and better yet agreeing with your blog. Here’s the big question….. Do you ship to Canada? And if you know/deal with people/ contractors up here do you know any in the Ottawa area? I know you have recommended Fleurco in Montreal.
    All said I would appreciate a note that could suggest the art of the possible ,

    Thank you.

  • Jo – we do have a dealer in Oklahoma who could help you. I’m going to email you the information and also ask to get your address so we can send the catalogue out to you. Thanks for your interest – Mike

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