There are some very good looking tile finishes available these days and a freshly tiled bathroom does make an instant impact. There is a huge choice of bathrooms tiles available and, if installed (and grouted) properly, the resulting surface will be waterproof making them suitable for use above baths and in shower cubicles. They are also very resilient making them a popular choice in demanding applications. But tiles do have several disadvantages, especially when compared with modern wall panelling systems.
One problem with tiles is that they can prove to require maintenance in the longer term – usually because of problems associated with the grout. Tiles are cold to the touch and as a result condensation can form on the surface and keep the grout constantly moist, allowing mould to grow. Once mould establishes itself in grout it can be very difficult to eradicate – there are several grout “whiteners” available but if the problem is deep rooted then these will only treat the surface. The grout might need to be removed with a grout rake and fresh grout re-applied between the bathroom tiles.
There is a trend in current bathroom designs for tiles to be either very large or very small but both will require the walls to be very flat or installation can be difficult. This means that extensive preparation of the bathroom walls is required before tiling can begin which can prove expensive and quite messy.
The waterproof wall panels sold by The Bathroom Marquee are an ideal alternative to tiles. They fit together without the need for grout, are warm to the touch and are easy to install with little or no preparation required. The downsides to panels are pretty limited – choice of colour and design is much more restricted than tiles, which have thousands of different patterns, and also they are not as position as tiles but are usually suitable for all but the most demanding of applications and are regularly installed in commercial situations such as hotels, nursing homes, sports clubs and guest houses.