The Wider Picture of Wall Panels

Scott Beattie, MD of leading wall panel manufacturer Fibo, explains the benefits of high quality wall panels in July's edition of Heating and Plumbing Monthly. 

While ceramic tiles have often been the go-to option for bathroom walls, high performance wall panels are an alternative that combine performance, functionality, versatility and style. Wall panels have come a long way in recent years, with demand increasing as homeowners and larger private and public sector clients recognise the benefits of fitting and maintaining waterproof surfaces in bathrooms, showers and wet rooms.


Precision engineering for smooth installation

Whatever style you’re going for, bathroom surfaces have to be able to withstand steam, temperature and moisture. Modern high quality panels are made from laminated plywood with an additional laminated layer on the back, so there’s no need to worry about water ingress. A tongue-and-groove installation system, such as Fibo’s Aqualock, means wall panels click together easily and are completely waterproof once sealed. This installation system also means they can be fitted by anyone with competent DIY skills. And unlike tiles, wall panels can be fitted to almost any surface, whether directly to walls or stud partitioning, over existing tiles or to an imperfect substrate, and there’s no need to make good the walls before getting on with the job. With no need to factor in tilers, plasterers or subcontractors, installers or plumbers can realistically transform bathrooms within a day. As modern wall panels are robust and easy to handle, installing them can easily be a one-man job, offering homeowners considerable savings and minimising disruption.


Convenience and long term performance

While trends may come and go, making the most of your time and energy is a theme that will always appeal. For homeowners, wall panels continue to offer convenience long after installers have finished the job. Panels are easy to keep clean – a simple wipe down is all it takes. If the homeowner wants the look of classic ceramic tiles, panels are available with a 3D routed ‘grouting’ line to look exactly the same as tiles, without the maintenance issues. No grout means any problems with discolouring or crumbling are avoided. And there’s no breeding ground for mildew and mould, a perennial and hard to remedy problem with tiles. It’s also easy to attach accessories. Drilling a hole in a panel is straightforward - there’s no risk of cracking or shattering, so heavier items such as washbasins, towel rails or support handles for people with mobility issues can be secured to the wall through the panel.


A variety of styles and finishes

Whatever the size of the space you’re working with, customers want their bathrooms, showers, or wet rooms to look good as well as being functional and easy to maintain. Innovations in design and technology mean wall panels include high-quality finishes, textures and colours which fit with any style of property. Decorators can mix and match panel designs to create the perfect look for their customer. High-gloss or matt, statement colours and patterns, concrete or marble effects – wall panels mean that all of these looks can be achieved without the hassle of tiling. Marble-effect panels are a strong trend at the moment, reflecting current interior design fashion. New wall panel designs replicate the look – and feel – of this traditional but very heavy and expensive material, but make it much more accessible for both bathroom installers and homeowners.


Wall panels have come a long way since they were first introduced. Modern panels are the ideal solution for bathroom projects in today’s market. The convenience, style and performance mean they have been popular in Scandinavia for a long time and the UK is fast catching up. The market is growing rapidly and it’s easy to see why. Panels are quick, economical and simple to fit and offer customers a range of styles and finishes to suit any style of property.

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Fibo is an approved supplier of the Plumbing & Heating Group (PHG). It’s wide choice of stylish, high-performance panels are stocked nationally through plumbers’ and builders’ merchants. This includes a new range of marble and natural stone effects, and soft greens and neutrals. Fibo’s new branded accessories ensure quicker and trouble-free installation, developed to make the job as easy as possible for bathroom fitters.