Alternative to tiles in the bathroom – ideas for practical and easy-care wall cladding

Use white marble as wall cladding and as an alternative to tiles in the bathroom

Are you looking for an alternative to tiles in the bathroom? This suggests that you have already noticed the shortcomings of traditional tile in a bathroom. If so, you are probably wondering how tile-free bathroom design is possible. While tile is the obvious choice for most showers, many people find them outdated or simply too expensive. Fortunately, you can use bathroom panels instead of tiles. The latter are by no means the only means of sealing shower walls available on the market. So if you’re looking for an alternative to tile in the shower, this post can help you find some of the best options.

Waterproof alternative to tiles in the bathroom

separate shower area with glass door pebbles on the floor and wooden stairs as decoration

There is nothing like durability when you renovate the bathroom or other wet rooms with wall cladding. When it comes to bathrooms, durability is key. Your shower is used frequently. So no matter what type of seal you choose, durability is what you are looking for. For this reason, shower panels and shower wall coverings are becoming increasingly popular in bathrooms, as they offer several advantages over tiles.

Advantages of the alternative for tiles in the bathroom

designer bathroom with shower area and patterned bathroom design without tiles

The cost of bathroom coverings and tiles will vary depending on the type and brand of wallcovering you choose. The decor, color, and size of the tiles also affect the cost. If you choose a comparable finish and compare your budget in square feet, shower screens and wall panels can more than keep up before you even consider the cost of tile adhesive and grout. However, in order to bring an alternative for tiles to a good level, an experienced craftsman with many years of experience is required.

green wall cladding with floral patterns in retro style as an alternative to tiles in the bathroom with shower area

So this means that you must also have special prior knowledge to install shower panels. It’s also easier to maintain this type of wall cladding. You may be able to apply more general post-installation maintenance. Given the size of the panels, installation is also much faster. This means that the tiler also needs less time, which further reduces costs. Bathroom wall panels can often have a shower installed on the same day because you don’t have to wait for the tile adhesive and grout to dry.

renovate the bathroom and lay small tiles

In addition, installing bathroom siding without tiles is also a relatively dry process. In contrast, tiling a wall after preparing the surface requires 2 wet layers of tile adhesive and grouting after it has dried. This can be a messy process. Most simple shower panels only require glue. They come in a silicone tube to attach the panel to the wall.

Diversity in design

Photo wallpaper as a wall covering and an alternative to tiles in the bathroom with shower area

Removing and replacing tiles can be a difficult task. Even a decent tiler will take half of the plastered wall with him when removing the old tiles. This process takes time. However, wallcovering can be installed on top of the existing tiles as long as the tiles are not uneven or already falling off the wall. So if you are interested in changing the cladding, it can be removed from the wall relatively easily.

concrete walls in the bathroom with partition for toilet and bathroom window floor tiles

We’ll be honest, it won’t be an entirely straightforward process, but this can look like a no-brainer compared to tiling. You can also use the old control panel as a template for the new one. This is helpful if you have customized shower in front of a window or other bathroom features. Tiles look great the first time you install them, but they get messier over time. This applies in particular to the joints, which with their white color do not only turn yellow in the shower cubicle. Yes, you can clean the surface and replace or even paint over it. It still costs time and money, however, while shower panels only require a simple wipe and the finish won’t stain.

Waterproof panels for bathrooms

Photo wallpaper over the bathtub in a rustic bathroom with a modern design

Tile in the bathroom is so popular that it is often seen as the only option. Almost every bathroom has been tiled in one way or another. However, there is not just one alternative to tile in the bathroom that we can call wallcovering. In essence, these panels are waterproof and replace tiles in a modern and minimalist way. But are these a really good idea and a cheaper alternative to tile in the shower area, or more of a passing trend?

Inexpensive blackboard for the bathroom

tiled bathroom and bathtub with shower cover made from inexpensive materials such as plastic

The cheapest sheets on the market are made of plastic, as well as twin-wall sheets. They’re not as well built or durable as the more expensive options, which is to be expected. The surface of the cheaper blackboard is either printed or glued to the plastic, which in our opinion is not as sturdy. The clear advantages of choosing a cheaper wall board for your bathroom are logically the cost. The disadvantages, however, are the potentially shortened lifespan and the general appearance of the surface. With a finish like this, you really get what you pay for. This option is also not as robust, as such panels rely on the thickness of the wall and plaster, which, however, are not always ideal.

Qualitative variants

Combine patterned wall panels with marble plaster for bathroom design

If you want to use wall panels as a high quality alternative to tiles in the bathroom, there is plenty of choice on the market. The more expensive wall panels can be made of a water- and boil-proof plywood sheet. The plate is approximately 10 or 11 mm thick and has a laminate suitable for walls. This is similar to a kitchen worktop. Another design is a blackboard made from a recycled product that can be immersed in water and yet will not absorb anything. This plate also has a laminate on the front.

alternative to tiles in the bathroom wall made of brown marble and shower cubicle made of glass opposite white bathtub

This type of shower screen is the same thickness as the other panel we propose. In both versions, the wall boards are thicker, heavier and more robust than the inexpensive plastic walls. You will also be sure to create a more stable wall as the plastic sheets flex and move. Most manufacturers also give a long-term guarantee on both blackboards, so that you get an indication of the quality. So it’s a variant that is definitely worth considering.

Wall cladding without tiles

Wall panels marble plaster for bathrooms with glass partition

The main reason we find that many people like blackboard is because it doesn’t require grout. This is a plus for any bathroom, as grout can discolour over time and accordingly require more maintenance. It’s also a cleaner look for your bathroom without those annoying grout lines. For this reason, many choose the waterproof wall boards when renovating their bathrooms.

small shower area with designer bathroom tiles instead of tiles

Cleaning a bathroom wall without tiles is also much easier. When cleaning your bathroom wall tiles, you need to devote a lot of time to grouting, in particular. A wall panel, on the other hand, has no or only very few joints. There is only a line of silicone around the edges of the panel that seals the gap to the wall. Such a shower screen can even be used in a sauna and is perfect for a very humid environment.

Acrylic panels in the bathroom

acrylic panels in the bathroom in dark gray shades contrasting with the bathtub

Acrylic shower panels give your shower a smooth and seamless look. These acrylic sheets are also hard-wearing and mostly reinforced with glass fibers. Because of their seamless nature, there is less chance of water damage and leakage along the seam lines and in the foundations of your bathroom.

light blue wall design in shower cubicle made of acrylic panels and white shower tray in the designer bathroom

Acrylic is therefore an excellent option for shower stalls. It is dent, scratch, and shatterproof, and there is also a low likelihood of mold growth on or behind the panels. Acrylic is also a non-porous material and therefore completely water and dirt repellent, so your shower will stay clean and modern for a lifetime. An acrylic wall therefore offers the ideal option for permanent wall cladding compared to bathroom tiles and is also quick to assemble.

Marble plaster for bathrooms

modern bathroom alternative for tile marble wall

If you’re looking for another, bespoke option to waterproof your shower, marble is the way to go. This building material is a little more expensive than others, but it can be wonderfully shaped and chiseled to your liking. With proper care, marble is a material that can successfully withstand a lifetime of abrasion, chipping, fading, or scratching. It’s also 100% mold resistant. Despite the cost, marble is a standout variety that can instantly add value to your home.

Wooden wall in the bathroom

wood paneling bathroom with bathtub elegant design

While wood is not the standard material for wall cladding in showers, it offers an extremely modern look for any bathroom. Ideally, wooden panels should be used as a shower cover for the bathtub, for example, which can be mounted over concrete slabs or tiles. A wooden wall is also suitable as a versatile material because you can cut and shape it for any shower size. It’s also hard-wearing and offers a really durable alternative to tiles in the bathroom with shower area. However, when installing, make sure you seal all joints with silicone to prevent leakage and mold build-up between and behind the panels.

Stone resin as an alternative to tiles in the bathroom

stone resin as an alternative to tiles in the bathroom with a small size

Stone resin is a great alternative to shower floor tiles because it is incredibly strong, durable, and smooth. It will last a lifetime and is sure to be well worth the initial investment when you know you will never have to tile again. It is 100% resistant to cracks, splinters, abrasion and mold and offers a warmer feeling on the feet compared to other materials. For this reason, if you live in a colder climate, stone resin is a very good option. However, be sure to choose a textured stone for the shower tray to avoid accidents from sliding.