Bathroom Remodeling: Bathroom Wall Materials & Options

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The words practical and basic do not mean that you need a boring or bland bathroom. By following your creative instincts, thinking out of the box, and using your imagination, you can create a bathroom that is as functional as it is aesthetically appealing.

Find a material that can withstand moisture and endure over a long period of time. Note that this décor can be just as beautiful as it is functional.  Just be sure to balance your practical objectives with your design aspirations.

Wallpaper is a less than ideal option for bathrooms. Because bathrooms are humid environments, wallpaper may contribute to problems of mildew, mold, and odor. Wallpaper can be extremely difficult to clean and is prone to water damage. If you do choose wallpaper for your humid space, you should be prepared to replace the surface often-sometimes annually or every other year. Be sure to select a material with a thick vinyl coat, as this can help your wallpaper last a little bit longer. Even with a vinyl coat; however, your wallpaper probably won't endure your bathroom's tough climate. If you need to remove wallpaper in your bathroom, see Easy Methods To Remove Wallpaper.

Ceramic tile is common because it is inexpensive and practical. You can experiment with different shapes, colors, sizes, patterns, and artwork, and you can use ceramic tiles on different types of walls in and outside of your shower. Ceramic tiles are practical because they are easy to clean, so with regular maintenance, you won't encounter problems with keeping wall surfaces clean, disinfected, and mold-free.

Tileboard is alternative to ceramic tile. It comes in large panels, and it is easier to install than smaller tiles. You can purchase tileboard in 4-foot x 8-foot sheets, so you can cover your bathroom space efficiently. Try to only use tileboard to cover a portion of your bathroom wall - you can paint the other parts. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a bland environment without any option to experiment with wall décor.

Paint is an inexpensive and ideal option for a large portion of your bathroom. You can experiment with all kinds of colors to keep your space looking fresh. Before you start, it is a good idea to use a mildew-resistant primer to prepare your wall for painting. A semi-gloss or eggshell paint is better than paint that is flat or matte. Any paint with gloss will seal color in while protecting surfaces against water or steam. Create a tile or beadboard partway to add some style to your painted bathroom wall.

Glass Tile is ideal for people who want a wall with an artistic dimension. You can use glass tile anywhere in your bathroom: on floors, on shower walls, on all of your walls, on one wall, on part of a wall. Use small or medium-sized tiles to create an artistic mosaic. If you use glass tile, make sure that you use small pieces. This technique allows you to design your tiles in such a way that the weight is more evenly distributed. As a result, your glass tile surface will be less prone to breakage. 

Bathroom Wall Materials: Why Your Choice Is So Important

Your bathroom is probably the most humid space in your home. When you take a shower, the resulting steam becomes trapped within the bathroom's four walls, and usually, your windows aren't big enough to facilitate the amount of circulation that is necessary to keep the space dry and clean. Believe it or not, the problems that arise from a moist and humid space go far beyond foggy mirrors and windows. A swampy bathroom is the ideal breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria, especially if your bathroom is not well ventilated. Even if you do your best to clean, your walls can still become covered with mold and mildew that can eventually cause long-term damage. Worst of all, you and your family may start to feel sick from allergies. Second to your plumbing system, one of the most important decisions that you can make when designing your bathroom is the material that you choose for your walls. By choosing the right material in the right places, you will be able to keep your walls clean and mold-free. A strategic plan for your walls can also help make cleanup easier. When you design your bathroom walls, think beyond the moment, and choose materials that will be durable in the long run.

When you think of your bathroom walls, what comes to mind first? Mirrors, wallpaper, or other décor? Sconcesvanity lightingtiles, or paint? All of the above, none of the above, or too many things at once? The answers to these questions depend on a combination of your personal style, available space, and design goals. No matter what you eventually choose, make sure that staying practical is your main priority.

Last Updated: April 16, 2013

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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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