Wednesday, 09 September 2020 11:36

Time to Move on from Tiling? Fast Forward to a New Kitchen and Bathroom Wall Option

    Always on the lookout for a new interior finish in their design arsenal, commercial interior designers can have a challenging time creating a scheme that works for the client and ticks the budget box. Here, Scott Beattie, Managing Director at Fibo, explores how waterproof panels can deliver that high-end alternative to traditional tiling designers have been waiting for.

    Whether you’re designing a kitchen or bathroom scheme for a residential build-to-sell developer, a build-to-rent operator or a smaller scale commission, these are the rooms that can make or break a scheme with people expecting more than just white walls.

    What’s more, designing post-COVID-19 will mean wall finish materials will be more carefully considered, particularly when it comes to hygiene. Arguably, this is exactly the time to make the move away from tiling, with its associated grout germ trap, and look for alternatives such as waterproof wall panels. Providing a much more hygienic option, wall panels contain no grout and less joins for bacteria to become trapped in – this is especially beneficial if you’re designing for independent living for older people, or in an office environment where a lot of people are using facilities.

    Regardless, the absence of grouting means wall panels are significantly easier to clean and maintain, retaining that ‘as-new’ appearance for many years to come. This can be a priority on certain types of projects where durability and longevity are key.

    As you’ll know, a tough balance has to be struck between aesthetics, practicality, performance, and of course, cost. There are; however, high-quality waterproof wall panels now available that can add colour, visual texture and real scale to a room whilst providing a waterproof backdrop for wetrooms, shower and bathtub areas as well as kitchens, which can also be carried through in amenity spaces alike to create a continuity of finish.

    Add a bold statement panel

    Designers don’t have to be limited when it comes to colour and finish, as there’s plenty of choice. Dependent on your clientele, you can introduce colour in the form of a striking waterproof statement panel.

    This may involve bright blocks of colour to create bold, confident spaces that, with a gloss finish, can really reflect light and make a smaller space feel bigger.

    Coloured panels can also be used to tie in with the increasing use of vibrant and colourful bathroom furniture, baths and basins for eye-popping impact.

    Create for calm and wellness

    Designing for wellness is more than just a passing trend. Relaxing spa-like spaces can be achieved with wall panels that offer clean lines and smart tile effects in subtle wood and natural-effect finishes or softer watery colours. Whilst designing with wellbeing in mind, there’s also a very commercial benefit to this approach that flicks that buyer switch the minute they walk in.

    Luxurious and opulent looks

    Some schemes may require a more luxurious style. In these situations, visual texture and colour can play an important role. For example, chic marble styles can create a plush feel, especially in black and when combined with different textural elements such as flooring and sanitaryware.

    Alternatively, a monochrome scheme could equally provide a more high-end finish, adding interest to a simple white kitchen or bathroom scheme.

    Nudes, neutrals and naturals

    Without doubt, a neutral palette works wonders in a bathroom setting, and there are plenty of subtle shades to select. There’s also scope to introduce wood-look panels to allow a natural softness and warm contrast to the often colder, harder surfaces that can be found in the bathroom environment.

    Concrete for an industrial style

    In contrast, for an interior take on the Brutalist approach, there are wall panels available in lookalike, soft cement and even cracked cement styles. This type of finish provides a strong, utilitarian feel to bathrooms and kitchens and can be teamed with contemporary metals or raw wood effects to create design balance to your scheme.

    Additional waterproof wall panel benefits

    Quality manufacturers are able to guarantee these innovative wall panel systems as 100% waterproof, when fitted in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. For example, Fibo manufactures panels that feature a seven-layer birch core and an enhanced moisture barrier backing. The patented Aqualock system technology ensures a secure seal between the panels, creating a seamless, waterproof joint.

    For ultimate confidence in the longevity of the system, select high-quality products that include a warranty. Fibo provides a 15-year guarantee – a warranty that demonstrates complete trust in the robustness and waterproof features of its panels.

    Savings – on cost and time

    Whilst aesthetics and material performance are higher up an interior designer’s priority list, understanding the benefits of wall panels from an installation perspective can also add to the success of a project in terms of scheduling and project management. Thanks to ease of installation, bathroom installs can be completed up to five times faster when using wall panels instead of tiles.

    The installation process, for one, does not require specialist tiling skills or equipment. In fact, wall panel systems can be fitted by anybody capable with standard woodworking tools. This provides the opportunity to save on delays waiting for availability of a skilled tiler.

    In addition, the panels can be fitted to virtually any wall surface. There’s no need for backer boards, glue or grouting; the panels can be fixed directly onto existing tiles, timber studs or plasterboard without the need to prep the walls, saving time and reducing mess.

    Interior designers understand the pressure of providing clients with schemes that are stylish and simple to maintain. By opting for laminate wall panel solutions instead of tiles, schemes will not only look amazing but will save significant time and inconvenience.

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    Inex magazine and its complementary website is the ultimate specification resource for design professionals working in both the domestic and commercial marketplaces.

    Exclusive, cutting-edge content is delivered to inform and inspire esteemed professionals on a whole host of topics and discussions impacting the industry.

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