knoxville bathroom remodeling

Shower walls for tub to shower conversions explained.....

I started in bathroom remodeling  when shag carpet was popular and bathroom shower wall panels were standard 1/8” thick acrylic panels. Times have changed- and for the better. You are no longer limited to outdated thin acrylic shower systems- (no ,matter what that pushy one day bathroom salesman tries to convince you of) 

With all this being said, If you’re like most people, you’re confused researching the choices in wall panels. You are frustrated and just want to figure out which bathroom or shower wall system line will work best for you (and your budget). Many homeowners are confused in this process. That’s why I felt compelled to write this article.

As a card carrying certified bathroom remodeling nerd, I’ll try to shed some light on the the topic.

  • Standard 1/8” thick acrylic wall panels – They’re thin, have a plast-icky look and are  popular for one-day bathroom remodeling companies because of the extremely low dealer cost.  Once popular, it has been virtually replaced with better quality waterproof systems and modern realistic looking finishes.
    Here’s the rundown– these walls can be used for a tub surround or shower wall kit that is easy to maintain.  The most popular uses include tub surrounds, corner and alcove style showers and color coordinated plast-icky shelfs and cubbies. These panels are heavily marketed by “one day bathroom remodeling companies” using aggressive sales tactics at bloated prices that far surpass the worth and longevity of these showers. All “one day tub to shower conversion” companies sell the same panels made by a company in Illinois that no-one outside the bathroom remodeling business has ever heard of.

  • Molded fiberglass panels – You can get them at any home center or plumbing supply house. They’re a step up from the standard 1/8″ thick acrylic panels because at least they have watertight molded corners. The negative is their limited colors  and are only made in standard sizes.
    Here’s some facts- Molded fiberglass panels are made by American iconic companies like American Standard and Delta, as well as many others. Chances are you already have one of these units in your home that has lasted decades. These guys know a thing or two about manufacturing leak proof shower and tub systems. They’re also affordable, so if you are looking for a basic upgrade that won’t break the bank, this is a good choice to consider. We typically install a couple of these units a month. You can get a lot of bang for your buck with these reliable low-cost showers and tubs.

  • Decorative faux stone panels – These panels are twice as thick as acrylic and also readily available at home centers and plumbing supply houses. They’re digitally printed to be  replicas of natural stone patterns. The bad news is they are only printed on the surface. If they’re scratched through, you’ll see the white backing behind them and it can’t be repaired without replacing the panels.
     Popular among people that want to install their own shower, these kits are readily available at home centers in a variety of colors. Decorative faux panels are easy to cut and install which makes them a great choice for DIY installations where a high quality finish isn’t desired. In short, functional, easy to install and looks ok, but not a long term solution especially for heavily used showers.

  • Good old fashioned tile- Tile is a great product that has been around f-o-r-e-v-e-r. It looks great and the styles are endless. A tile shower is truly a “custom shower” and we have built many. The drawback is the high maintenance. Unless you have empty time in your schedule that you would like to occupy with scrubbing you may want to rethink tile. Another point worth mentioning is entire industries and companies have been built around “grout maintenance and cleaning”

    Aqua-lock wall systems – A high pressure laminate system that is complete with interlocking pieces and corners to insure a 100% waterproof system. It’s rigid, durable and has a real appearance of tile or natural stone without the maintenance.  Aqua-lock is (in my opinion) the best product on the market right now for building long lasting grout free showers.

     Here are important facts you need to know:

    Aqua-lock has a durable high pressure laminate top surface. For the ‘decorative tile’ walls the ‘faux grout joint’ is milled out for a 1/16” or 1/8” spacing. They have the look of tile without the maintenance hassle. On the back of the laminated panels is a vapor barrier backing which inhibits mold growth. Aqua-lock panels are the only manufacturer to offer this feature. The bathtub and shower panels are 100% waterproof and joined  with a patented Aqualock click system and proprietary sealant. There is no need for waterproofing behind the panels. With the nearly-invisible seams between panels aqua-lock creates a sophisticated high-end look to a shower remodel without the price tag.

    Aqua-lock shower systems is hands-down the most popular showers  that we install. 
  • The best news is, YOU will like these new generation wall panels – Bathroom wall panels have evolved from the cheap, plast-icky, thin fiberglass and acrylic stuff back in the old days. The market has evolved into inspired laminated wall panels, decorative PVC offerings and even optical grade high-gloss mirror acrylics.

    Now that you know the basic differences between shower wall panels, dont overlook A crucial component to your tub to shower conversion– The shower pan………

    Modern showers are waterproof systems and not just wall panels  Make people say “WOW” when they see your awesome new tub to shower conversion, shower remodel or bathroom renovation (your friends and family won’t be thinking to themselves, what were they thinking when they bought this crap?).

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Knoxville Tub to Shower Conversions

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