One of the great advantages installing our bathroom wall panel system in your bathroom is that it can be used to panel around the bath giving it a “built-in” look, tying the whole bathroom design together.
When you buy a bathroom suite it is usually supplied with a bath panel as part of the package. Typically these are either made from a very thin moulded acrylic sheet or MDF with a vinyl foil wrapped around to give a wood-grain effect.
Acrylic panels are very flimsy and can flex quite easily if leaned against as very few have any reinforcing. Constant flexing can lead to the panels cracking.
MDF bath panels are much more solid than acrylic and the vinyl covering should keep water from getting to the core but in practice water has a knack of finding little gaps and working its way in- especially if the panel has to be cut to fit. Capillary action then takes over and the panel starts to swell up and blister from the damage caused by the water ingress and will need to be replaced before it starts to rot.
The ideal solution to these problems is to install wall cladding and make the bath panel out of the cladding. The resulting panel is much more robust than a standard acrylic bath panel and completely impervious to water – unlike MDF panels – but its main advantage is that finished job looks great!
Giving Your Bath That “Built In” Look
The photo above shows a bath given such treatment. There are some drawbacks with this approach – especially if you use tiles like in this instance. Small amounts of movement can cause cracking in the grout – larger movement can even cause the tiles themselves to crack. Using the panels in this area will help the issue but ideally you should avoid horizontal areas in wet areas – even though it looks great.