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Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?

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Deciding the best material for your shower walls is can be tricky, whether you’re remodeling a bathroom or building a new one. While tile is an element that never goes out of style, homeowners are looking for other options.

In homes, laminate wall panels are gaining popularity. While they are modern, low-maintenance, and aesthetically appealing wall surfacing solutions, homeowners like you may be asking: can laminate be used for shower walls?

Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?
Courtesy: FIBO System USA

What are Laminate Wall Panels?

Laminate wall panels are synthetic finishing materials used as a visible and exposed covering for the walls of a building.  The panels usually comprise multiple layers of materials like melamine resin and fibre board.

The sheets/panels come in pieces that are installed on the wall and since they are separate pieces, they can’t be bent to fit corners or edges, so individual pieces are cut to fit each wall.

Modern laminate wall panels offer both beauty and functionality. They are available in a myriad of styles and offer design flexibility as you can arrange the wall panels in any pattern or order you wish. 

Laminate panels can also be cleaned easily and wiped down with regular non-abrasive household cleaners, saving you time and frustration.

What Are Laminate Panels Made Of?

Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?
Courtesy: Stylam

Basically, laminate panels are made from a combination of papers that are impregnated with chemical resins, making their surfaces harder, stiffer, and resistant to scratches, wear, and tear.

They are then dried and hard-pressed papers together under high pressure and temperature using hydraulic presses.  A stiff laminate sheet is thus created.

The sheets are stacked upon each other in layers with a clear layer on top, brown paper on the bottom, and a decorative sheet in the middle.

This dry sheet is cut into the desired size and shape, and may also be bonded to a building material such as plywood, flakeboard, fiberboard, or metal.

These panels can be fitted straight onto the existing wall or stud wall, but you can’t install them directly on drywall. You’ll have to install a moisture-resistant backing, such as a cement board before you place the laminate.

Can You Use Laminate Walls In The Bathroom?

Yes, you use laminate wall panels in the bathroom although you do have to be careful about getting them wet.

While there are waterproof and water-resistant varieties that are typically covered in melamine laminate to help protect the sheets from rotting or warping due to moisture, not all varieties are, so you’ll want to shop carefully, especially if you plan to use them in the bathroom.

To be safe, we recommend only using laminate wall panels in dry areas of the bathroom. Walls that are away from the shower can be designed with laminate as they are generally further away from splashes.

Here are easy ways to use laminate in the bathroom:

1. Around the Shower Stall

Who wants a boring shower surround? If you’re renovating, you want to upgrade with laminate wall panels.

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2. The Bathtub Wall

3. The Bathtub Surround to Cover Large Areas

Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?
Courtesy: FIBO System USA

4. The Storage Wall

With laminate bathroom wall panels, you can design a clean modern wall for your storage shelves.

Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?

Yes, and no.

Why not? It is not advisable to use laminate for shower walls because in this moist and humid environment, most laminate panels tend to absorb water over time and you will quickly have a tacky, swollen, and sodden mess needing to be removed.

More so, normal laminate panels tend to harbor germs and foster the growth of mold, mildew, and moss over time.

Plus, cleaning the panels after a shower may also result in deterioration of the waterproof membrane over time hence exposing it. Therefore, the cleaning material must be considered in this case.

A good idea would be to raise the panels from the floor level. This will be an advantage to your project since if it gets into contact with puddles of water from bathing constantly for a long time, it will fail as it seeps over time into the panels.

Take note, however, that some laminate panels can be used for shower walls. These are 100% waterproof varieties (using the AquaLock system) and use a high-pressure laminate top surface over a thicker layer of marine-grade wood layers.

Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?
Courtesy: FIBO System USA

An example is the exceptionally hard-wearing Fibo wall system that is 100% watertight. It comprises full-length panels with a core made from seven-layer plywood which is squeezed together and clad with high-pressure laminate.

The panels are then clicked together to the walls with Fibo’s own patented Aqualock method to ensure watertight joints.

FIBO is thus confident they can help you achieve a wet room with walls that are able to withstand water and rough use.

Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?
Courtesy: FIBO System USA

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As mentioned above, when considering using laminate wood panels in your bathroom, go for waterproof varieties though they are more expensive, depending on the size and thickness.

Since you are adding them as a layer to the wall, check the weight, thickness and perimeter to ensure they can fit well, without exerting much weight to the wall behind.

Benefits Of Using Laminate Wall Panels In The Bathroom

1. They are easy to maintain.

If you love tile but hate grout, you’re not alone. With laminate wall panels, you’ll get the benefit of the look of a tile wall without worrying about dirty grout joints.

Because these bathtub and shower wall panels have a visible ‘faux tile joint’ which is made of high-pressure laminate, you won’t be scrubbing joints anymore.

More so, laminate bathroom wall panels are easy to clean, simply with warm water and a clean cloth – or using a non-abrasive detergent so throw away your tile scrub brush!

2. They are Beautifully Durable

100% waterproof laminate bathroom and shower wall panels last long. Some products even have a lifetime warranty.

Apart from their durability, these laminate panels come in high-fashion styles like transitional, contemporary, modern farmhouse, and shabby chic designs to ensure you can make a statement in your bathroom.

3. Large tile-like designs offer a contemporary look

Using laminate wall panels, you can go for modern large-format faux tile designs in 24” x 12”, 24” x 16”, 24” x 24”, and 12” x 16” sizes. These offer such a contemporary look, unlike the old 4” x 4” tiles.

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Can Laminate Be Used For Shower Walls?

Have you ever used laminate wall panels for shower walls? What material did you go for? How was your experience?