Are Plywood Panels the Ideal Alternative to Bathroom Tiles?

Posted on: 30 May 2018

Tiling may be the traditional way to finish off bathroom walls, but this doesn't mean that all bathrooms must have tiles. Some people simply don't like the way tiles look and would prefer a more individual design; others find that looking after tiles and the grout that holds them together is just too much of a hassle. If you're looking for an alternative to bathroom tiles, then how about plywood panels? Is having wood in the wettest room in your home a good idea?

What Are Off-the-Shelf Plywood Panels?

Some businesses that manufacture bathroom wall coverings have realised that not every homeowner loves a good bit of tiling in the bathroom. You can now buy panels that cover your bathroom's walls in one go that are made from a core of plywood. Typically, the plywood in these ready-made panels is covered with a laminate so you can choose from a variety of different colours, designs and finishes such as marbling or stone effects. In some cases, you may even be able to install these bathroom panels directly on to existing tile work, saving you a lot of time and effort.

If you prefer to create your own bathroom design, then you can also use regular plywood panels as a wall template. There's no reason why you can't go for a wood effect in your bathroom nowadays if that's the style you like; you can also add your own style, colour choices and designs to plywood panels by decorating them after you've put them up.

What About Waterproofing?

People have traditionally worried about using wood in bathrooms because of the problems that some woods have with moisture. This doesn't have to be a problem with plywood as long as you choose a product that is waterproofed.

Typically, if you're buying off-the-shelf plywood bathroom panels then the manufacturer should use waterproofed plywood. These panels also usually come with a laminate coating that adds an extra layer of protection. If you're worried about using plywood on a DIY project in your bathroom, then you can simply choose a waterproof-grade product. For example, at the highest level, marine plywood is often used to build boats, and you just don't get much more waterproofed than that.

Ready-made plywood bathroom panels may come with a 100% waterproof guarantee, so you don't have to worry about how these panels will cope with bathroom moisture. If you are putting up your own panels, it's worth talking to your plywood products supplier before you choose which grade of plywood to buy to get advice on the best waterproofing options for a bathroom.