Can You Put Bathroom Wall Panels Over Tiles?

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Tiled bathroom with wood furniture Design

A popular alternative to bathroom tiles that is making the rounds in the industry is bathroom wall panels. Bathroom wall panels are pretty practical, functional, and affordable, which is why a lot are switching to this fixture for their bathrooms. However, what if you want to use wall panels in your already tiled bathroom? Can you install the panels over the tiles, or will you need to remove the tiles first painstakingly?

Yes, installing bathroom wall panels over wall tiles is possible, and it is the best route to take for this task. Additionally, installing wall panels over pre-existing tiles is relatively easy and does not require expert or professional hands. 

Wall panel installation does require careful and specific measurement before you can commence with the task. However, bathroom wall panels can reinvigorate your tired bathroom aesthetic and add a splash of freshness without being too expensive. This article will further discuss the aspects attributed to wall panels, such as their advantages and the installation process. 

Wall Panels Over Wall Tiles

Here’s the thing, wall panels are specifically designed to be installed over pre-existing wall tiles! Now, there are several possible reasons why you would want to replace, or to be more precise, cover your bathroom tiles with a wall panel. For example, maybe your bathroom tiles are already worn down over the decades, perhaps they got damaged, or maybe you just want to renovate your bathroom. The thing is, wall panels will provide what you are looking for, no matter the reason. 

While tiles are just as reliable and stylish for bathrooms, it comes with one caveat – grouting. To be perfectly blunt, grouting can be quite a time-consuming and hassling chore. Wall panels do not require grouting as it is 100% waterproof. 

Another gripe about grout is that you will need to re-grout it over time, which is not the case with the longer-lasting bathroom wall panels. Bathroom panels are also tongue and grooved, which means each panel perfectly fits together into one seamless finish when appropriately installed. 

Types of Bathroom Wall Panels

There are also several types of bathroom wall panels available in the market. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses. Here are the different kinds of bathroom wall panels you will find and what to expect from each. 

  • Fiberglass

Fiberglass wall panels are the most affordable option in the market. The downside of being the cheapest is that the quality tends to take a hit. Fiberglass panels are susceptible to wear and tear, fading, and scratches. 

  • Acrylic 

Thanks to its decent scratch resistance and durability, the most common wall panel type is the acrylic ones. Acrylic wall panels are also low maintenance and come in a wide range of colors and designs. 

  • Glass

If you are looking for the most aesthetically pleasing option and are willing to drop the extra bucks, glass wall panels are the way to go. However, installing glass panels will require extra care due to being more fragile and heavier than the previous two types of wall panels. Because of this aspect, we recommend you hire a professional to install this type of wall panel. 

Factors to Consider Before Installing Bathroom Wall Panels

Bathroom with blue mosaic

Before you head on to your local home improvement store, there are several factors that you must consider before you can begin your bathroom renovation using wall panels. 

  • The Pre-Existing Wall Tile’s Current State

The most crucial factor is the current state of the tiles. If it is still in pretty good condition and is still flat and stable to the wall, then you can move forward. However, if the tiles are loose, you will need to remove them – preferably, the entire wall. 

  • The Pre-Existing Bathroom Fixtures

Careful and precise measurement is crucial for those who have electric showers, cabinets, and shelves. While you can cut around these bathroom fixtures, this method is incredibly tricky and requires a highly skilled approach. During these instances, it might be a good idea to hire a professional instead. 

Additionally, basins, showers, taps, and baths will factor in how thick your wall panel should be. The wall panel and said fixtures must fit with each other comfortably, so consider the available allowance for the wall panel. Wall panels typically come in 8mm to 10mm thickness. 

Wall Panel Installation Prep Time

Preparation for wall panel installation won’t take up too much of your time. The only preparation needed is to get the exact measurement of the wall and thoroughly clean the area where the panels will go. As long as the tiles remain flat and secure, wall panel installation is as straightforward as they come. 

Should You Remove Tiles Before Installing Wall Panels?

No, not. Unless your tiles are damaged beyond repair, there is no benefit to removing the tiles before wall panel installation. Not only will this be extremely difficult and will require tools such as a pneumatic chisel, but it is also time-consuming with slight advantages besides the addition of a few extra millimeters of space. 

All in all, you can skip the wall tile removal altogether if you are to install bathroom wall panels. 

Advantages of Installing Wall Panels Over Tiles

Here are a handful of reasons why you should install wall panels in your bathroom:

  • Wall panels are 100% waterproof. 
  • Wall panels are straightforward to install.
  • Wall panels are low-maintenance.
  • Wall panels are extremely resistant to stain, mold, and mildew buildup.

As you can see, bathroom wall panels provide both function and convenience in spades. So it is not surprising why more and more households are jumping into the bathroom wall panel bandwagon these days. 

Bathroom Wall Panel Installation Guide

As we have stated previously, wall panel installation is simple and easy. Here are the steps on how to properly install bathroom wall panels over wall tiles:

Step 1: Prepare the Tools

First, take note that you will be using a couple of tools for this task. Here are the items you will need for installing wall panels:

  • Adhesive
  • Cleaning cloth
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Trowel
  • Dry erase marker
  • Level tool
  • Wall Panels

Once you have all of the items above on hand, we can begin the installation process. 

Step 2: Clean the Wall Surface

hand with yellow rag cleaning the bathroom tiles

The next important step is to prepare the wall. You can wipe the wall tiles with a clean microfiber cloth or sponge with an all-purpose cleaner. Make sure to remove all dirt and debris from the wall, or the adhesive won’t bond properly. 

Step 3: Measuring the Wall

Take precise measurements of the wall to determine if the panel will be able to fit correctly. For example, you can use the level tool to check whether the upper part of the wall panel will go over the tiles smoothly. 

Step 4: Mark the Wall

Now that you have determined the placement of the wall panel using the level tool, you should mark the area using your dry erase marker. Again, we recommend that someone hold the board up as you draw a marking on the wall.

Step 5: Apply the Adhesive

With the area where the panel will be fitted marked and ready, it is time to prepare the wall panel by applying the recommended adhesive to the wall to the marker’s border. First, make sure that you cover the entire wall tile surface with adhesive. You can use the trowel for this part. As an added tip, we suggest you apply the bond in a zig-zag pattern for better and stronger bonding to the surface. 

Step 6: Attach the Panel

With the wall coated correctly in adhesive, it is time to attach the wall panel. First, carefully place the panel over the tile and within the marked border. Next, apply even and firm pressure across the panel’s surface, starting from the top and steadily sliding to the bottom. Let the adhesive set in, and you are done.