How to Prepare Your Walls for Shower Panels | The Panel Company

How to Prepare Your Walls for Shower Panels | The Panel Company

Oct 26, '23

How to Prepare Your Walls for Shower Panels

Shower panels provide an attractive and practical solution to uplifting your bathroom interior. Available in a variety of colours, styles and finishes, there are so many options to choose from to help you create the ideal bathroom style for you. Such a versatile solution, panels can really open up the possibilities for transforming your bathroom, and installing them is easy once you know how. 

From preparing the room ahead of installation, applying the panels appropriately for the surface that they will lay on top of, and caring for them properly post-installation, there are many elements to consider to get the best results. In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of installing shower panels step-by-step and leave you feeling equipped to get the job done. 

How do you prepare a shower wall for panels?

Shower panels can be applied to a variety of surfaces to create a smooth and high-quality finish. The key here is to ensure your surface is appropriately prepared before beginning the installation.

How you prepare a shower wall for panels is dependent on the condition of the existing wall and whether this is covered with plasterboard, or comprises of tiles or other cladding. It is possible to apply shower panels to any of these surfaces, so long as the walls are prepared well enough. Below, we’ll guide you through how to prepare your shower panels for installation.

Before installing over plasterboard:

This is the most common surface to install shower panels over and handily, is also the simplest surface to work with. Below are the steps to take to ensure a smooth installation:

    1. Ensure the plaster is dry - If your walls have just been plastered, make sure the plaster is completely dry before installing the panels over it. This takes, on average, around 2-3 days to dry, preventing a build-up of damp behind the panels that could result in mold. 
    2. Check walls are flat - Before installation, you’ll need to check how flat your walls are using a spirit level. This is because, due to the high quality and premium design of the panels, they won’t bend to accommodate any large uneven bumps. Therefore, measuring the walls beforehand will help to ensure a neat as possible finish.
  • Eliminate bumps/uneven patches - This can be easily resolved by using a solvent-free adhesive, which is suitable for using over a number of porous surfaces including plaster. We recommend applying additional amounts to more problematic areas, including cracks or holes, which should be appropriately sanded down once filled. Meanwhile, if you encounter rough spots on the plaster whilst filling in other areas, these should also be sanded down. This is because, despite our panels being strong and robust, they rely on the strength of the wall they are applied to. Doing this allows you to ensure you have the best insulation while helping prevent the panels from bending out of shape or cracking. 
  • Before installing over existing tiles:

    A common choice of cladding for bathrooms, you may want to consider this option if you’re planning on refurbishing your own bathroom interior. To help save time, mess, as well as the cost of hiring someone out, shower panels can be installed directly over the top of ceramic tiling using a silicone adhesive.  Non-porous surfaces, such as tiles, can be prepared for this in the following way:

    1. Ensure tiles are free from cracks - Before installing the panels, we recommend ensuring your current bathroom tiling is smooth and no tiles are missing. If some are missing, or are badly damaged, this means the shower wall will need to be plastered to create a suitable surface to work with. This also applies to other non-porous cladding. 
    2. Make sure these are cleaned - If your tiles have been checked and are good to go, we recommend making sure these are properly cleaned using sugar soap. This ensures they are clear of any residue that could result in uneven installation and mold growth, as well as providing a smooth service with a good grip for the panels. This should be allowed to dry for a minimum of 48 hours. 

    Before installing over rough surfaces:

    This final method can be used if the surface of your wall isn’t suitable for direct application of the panels. For instance, this could be the case if there are cracks that cannot be easily sanded down or filled using a silicone or solvent-free adhesive. 

    You can prepare your walls for this by installing a wooden batten structure, which is more commonly used outside the shower cubicle area on the surrounding walls in the bathroom and looks something like this:

    Shower Panel Installation

    Before you slot each panel in place, we would recommend adding a small bead of silicone inside the join. This ensures it remains watertight to prevent moisture from getting through. Once complete, we recommend pinning, screwing or stapling the panels at either side of the shower boarding where the tongue and groove interlocking system is located (the pins will be hidden once another panel is slotted in place). 

    How to install shower wall panels 

    Once you’ve prepared your walls for the installation, you’re ready to begin applying your panels. We’ve provided a list of tools, steps and a video to help you with this on our guide to installing our wall and ceiling panels. However, if you’re looking to complete a full bathroom renovation, we would recommend installing the shower cubicle before doing anything else, which will make it easier to install the panels. Read our wall panel FAQ page to find out more information on installation.

    If you’re looking for some inspiration on the types of panels you can install in your bathroom, we’ve picked a couple of our favourites below. However, you can browse our extensive range to find the perfect option for you, whether you’re looking for some contemporary shower panels to help modernise an old room, or you’re searching for a bright and airy option to help you refresh and uplift your space.

    Large Brushed Grey String 1.0m x 2.4m Shower Panel

    If you’re looking for an attractive and contemporary addition to your bathroom, you may like these brushed grey shower panels. Helping to create a tranquil feel to your bathroom interior through a calming and attractive blue-grey colourway, these panels provide a clean and viable solution to completing your bathroom interior while also presenting a functional, waterproof and hygienic alternative to tiling.

    Large White Wood Gloss Shower Panel

    These white gloss shower panels present a simple solution to uplifting any modern bathroom interior, making it perfect for those looking to add a fresh and illuminating feel to the space with no compromise on functionality.

    Shower panels at the Panel Company

    Whether you’re looking to perform a quick upgrade on your existing bathroom walls by fitting shower panels over old tiles, or you’re looking to install these over plaster, we have a wide range of durable and waterproof panels suited to the job. If you’re still deciding on the best colour, size and style of panel for your bathroom, browse the range of shower panels and find your favourite design.

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