Paul Findley explains why laminate wall panels are transforming bathroom design as a fast-fit, easy maintenance alternative to tiles.
Meeting the changing housing needs of their communities is a constant challenge for local authorities. Using products that reduce installation time, and therefore costs, can help to make budgets go further. The go-to product for bathroom surfaces has traditionally been tiles, but times are evolving and laminate panels are changing the way bathrooms are being designed and fit-out. Laminate can create great design and it also excels over tiles in terms of speed and ease of installation.
Design-wise, laminate has the flexibility to cater for a wide range of styles and layout. For shower-over-bath combinations, it suits families who need a hardworking, waterproof surface. Similarly, it suits a shower because it provides a large expanse of decorative surface that’s really easy to clean. Lam
inate can also be installed from floor to ceiling for wetrooms and level access showering, which is perfect for all ages, but especially relevant for an ageing population and those with reduced mobility.
So, where tiles were once the dominant product for bathroom surfaces, laminate wall panels are now transforming bathroom design and installation. Here are some of the reasons why:
Quick and easy to install
Whether a new-build or refurbishment, speed of fitting is a key factor and laminate wall panels are fast to fit, quickly achieving large expanses of decorative surfaces. Thi
s is a big benefit over tiles, as it’s possible for a whole bathroom to be completed in a matter of hours by a competent joiner. Whatever the size or shape of the room, the lightweight panels are simply cut to size, bonded in place, sealed and the job’s done. This eliminates the need for wet trades and reduces the time needed to complete the project, as there’s no waiting for tiles to set and grout.
Buhboard’s Nuance surfacing range is fitted without extrusions, which means that you can create a streamlined flow of surfaces and seamless joints on corners and outside edges, thanks to a postformed edge on the panel. It not only looks stylish with no trims breaking up the surface, but is also much easier to keep clean.
Inclusive bathrooms and wetrooms
Whilst people still use baths, showering predominates and laminate wall panels are ideal for use with any shower tray or enclosure, even level access showers and wetrooms. Panels can be fixed floor to ceiling, flush with a shower tray or a tiled floor. This gives specifiers the flexibility to use laminate panels as an integral part of an inclusive bathroom design.
Nuance laminate panels for example are inherently 100% water-impervious due to the nature of the materials and manufacturing processes used to make them. They also do not need to be trapped and sealed with trims and silicone. Nuance panels will not swell or degrade over time and they are also guaranteed for 15 years for added assurance. This is an important benefit when you consider lifetime cost advantages.
Hygienic and easy to maintain
The large expanses of seamless decorative surfaces achieved with laminate wall panels are very easy to clean with a simple wipe of a cloth. Unlike tiles there are no grout lines to scrub at and they will not support bacterial or mould growth, which makes them both practical and hygienic.
Laminate wall panels offer a great deal of design scope to create a range of stylish looks. The quality of print reproduction and advances in surface textures give laminate panels realism, with designs reflecting the latest interior trends.
Neutral colours are a popular choice at the moment as they are easy on the eye and blend well with other colours, textures and materials. The trend for weathered timbers and concrete is growing for those who want a more urban look, while the enduring popularity of granite and marbles cater for more classic tastes. This is all achievable with laminate, which has created a freedom of design never before thought possible.
Laminate really is being looked at in a new light now because of its high design capability, as well as its flexibility for a multitude of projects and the installation benefits over tiling.
Paul Findley is product sales manager at Bushboard