What Kinds of Shower Walls Are Available?

When covering or recovering the shower walls, arm yourself with as much information as possible to keep up with the latest developments in the building industry. Solid surface panels are available and may make the best shower walls because there are no seams except where the corners meet. However, you should examine several options when choosing the right shower wall for your bathroom shower.

Shower walls are covered with many different products.

Marble and Granite

Marble and granite surrounds are available for the homeowner in search of a long-lasting unit. They are a bit pricey, but marble and granite are very durable. If you are brave enough to tackle this job yourself, you can order the pieces needed cut to the dimensions of your shower walls. They do come in precut sizes, such as 30 x 60, 72 x 30 and 84 x 84 inches.


Ceramic tile is one of the more common and traditional materials to use on shower walls. The key to making this product last is the substrate material to which the tile is applied. Concrete panels and similar products work best for ceramic tile but should be secured directly on the studs in the shower walls. Do not apply concrete panels on any type of drywall as moisture forms between the two and breaks down the drywall, which could lead to black mold.

Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is a man-made product consisting of high strength polyester resin and natural marble stone dust. Wall panels for the shower are limited to 59 3/4 x 119 1/2 inches. One of the advantages of cultured marble is less seams, and since they are installed using mold resistant silicone, leaks are less likely to occur.

Plastic Laminate

Plastic laminate for shower walls works well if the installation is sound. Since it is not waterproof, the seams and other areas that are potential wet areas must be sealed with silicone or water-resistant caulk. The shower wall glues directly to a substrate, which can cause problems later if the bond between the laminate and the substrate has any gaps in it. The result is warping and inevitable pulling away from the substrate.

Non-plasticized PVC

Non-plasticized PVC is a panel version of PVC pipe only stronger and more durable. The panels are 100 percent waterproof and durable. The panels fit together by inserting one panel into a slot on the next panel. Manufacturers of the panel suggest adding a bead of silicone sealer between the panels where they fit together and where they meet the shower pan.