Shower panels vs tiles is one of the most common bathroom conundrums. Both offer an effective waterproofing solution, but there several important differences including price, installation, and maintenance.

When finishing the walls of a shower or bathroom, both shower panels and tiles have their own characteristics and features. Which option is better for you largely depends on your individual bathroom or wetroom design, your personal preferences, and your budget.

When weighing up shower panels vs tiles you should always consider the pros and cons before making a purchase. This blog will highlight the benefits of shower panels and shower tiles, and also explore the key differences between the two products.

Shower Panels vs Tiles: The Key Differences

Shower tiles have long been the go-to option for interior bathroom design. However, shower panels have burst onto the scene and are challenging their traditional rivals in the popularity stakes.

Whether you’re hiring an expert bathroom or wetroom specialist to install your shower panel or tiles, or planning to do the work yourself, it’s important to have all the information you need about each waterproofing option so that you make the right choice.

What are Shower Panels?

Shower panels are large waterproof wall coverings designed to fit inside a shower cubicle or wetroom space. They’re an effective alternative to showerheads and often come with body sprayers and faucets attached to the top, providing a complete all-in-one bathroom system.

There are many reasons why customers prefer shower panels to tiles as a modern, durable bathroom solution. They have a similar appearance to tiles without any need for grout, making them easier to clean. Not only that, but shower panels are generally cheaper than tiles and offer a great cost-effective option for those looking to minimise grouting and maintenance.

Shower panels protect the wall beneath from water ingress and they are often sold as a kit that includes sealants, trims, and other accessories so you can fit and install them yourself. Shower panels are generally made from the following three materials:

Solid Core Boards: These shower panels are commonly constructed from plywood or MDF covered with a robust waterproof laminate or acrylic coating. They are easy to install and can be directly attached to a wall or over existing tiles. This is a long-lasting, cost-effective option for waterproofing a bathroom or wetroom, and is especially popular with keen DIY enthusiasts looking to do the work themselves.

PVC Boards: PVC boards and panels are another affordable, waterproofing option. Again, these are simple to install as a DIY project, though it’s recommended to buy the more expensive options such as reinforced PVC boards, as cheaper versions are often made of thin material and are prone to water damage.

Acrylic Panels: These can be more expensive than solid core or PVC panels, but they are often a preferred choice because of their aesthetic appeal. Acrylic panels can be used to mimic glass and are available in a variety of finishes and colours. They can also be cut to size on-site for ease of installation.

What are the Benefits of Shower Panels?

If you’re investing in waterproof shower panels, they provide many benefits in terms of design and installation. The obvious advantages are that they’re more cost-effective than tiles, easier to install and maintain, and provide a flawless, minimalist finish.

Another major benefit of non-porous shower panels is they are often considered more hygienic than tiles. This is due to the absence of grout which can be affected by mildew and mould in most tiling projects. There are ways to prevent mould growth in wetrooms and bathrooms, buthower panels may save you time and money in the long run as they require less maintenance than shower tiles.

Finally, shower panels often come in large, pre-cut panels that can be attached directly to the wall with adhesive. They can also be fitted directly over existing shower tiles, providing a quick and simple waterproof solution for your bathroom or wetroom.

What are Shower Tiles?

Shower tiles have been around for centuries as an effective waterproofing solution. They’re a popular option for both bathroom walls and floors and are available in a wide range of designs and colours to match any style preference.

Shower tiles can be applied to bathroom wall boards using waterproof tile adhesive. While you can fit the tiles yourself, the installation process can be difficult and requires grouting, which is why many customers use a design team instead for added peace of mind.

Nevertheless, those requiring an upscale look often opt for tiling around their shower cubicle because of the quality of the finish and the vast array of styles and designs available. However, achieving a desirable look with shower tiles can come at a cost as they are often more expensive than shower panels, trickier to install, and harder to maintain because of the presence of grout which can turn mouldy in moist conditions that are common in bathrooms.

What are the Benefits of Shower Tiles?

Shower tiles are guaranteed to add a touch of luxury and opulence to any bathroom or wetroom. Because they’re available in such a massive array of shapes, designs, and colours they provide greater creative freedom than shower panels for many people.

Whether you’re looking to introduce a marble effect, mosaic shades, or more natural elements, shower tiles offer almost limitless design options. From traditional designs to modern décor, you’ll find shower tiles in any style to match your personal taste in a range of materials such as porcelain, slate, marble, or pebbledash.

When it comes to installation, shower tiles are also a popular choice as all you need is waterproof tile adhesive and some basic grouting skills. It means you’ll be able to transform your shower or bathroom walls and achieve your desired look. Not only that, but shower tiles offer greater coverage than shower panels, so you can tile your bathroom or wetroom from top to bottom if desired.

Shower Panels vs Tiles: A Quick Comparison

If you still can’t decide between shower panels and tiles, the table below provides an at-a-glance summary of the key benefits of both products. Ultimately, whether you’d prefer a tiled surface or shower panels comes down to personal preference, as both options provide a sleek, waterproof surface in your bathroom or wetroom.

Pros of Shower Panels Pros of Shower Tiles
No grouting and de-grouting required Greater wall coverage than shower panels
Lower maintenance than shower tiles More design options than shower panels
Hygienic and easy to clean Subtle finish to match the room design
Cheaper than pricey shower tiles Mix and match options for creative freedom
Quick and simple to install Easy to fit
Can be fitted over existing tiles Available in a huge range of colours
Durable and long-lasting Durable and long-lasting


Cons of Shower Panels Cons of Shower Tiles
Quality of materials can vary Requires time-consuming grouting
Limited design and colour options Longer installation time than shower panels
Hard to customise to suit style preferences Heavy materials to handle
MDF solid core panels can let in moisture over time Materials like marble and natural stone are expensive
Hard to achieve a waterproof seal with cheaper versions Mould growth on grout
Limited coverage Discolouration of grout lines


Whether you decide to go for shower panels or tiles in your bathroom or wetroom boils down to what you value most in your design project.

If you require a waterproof, low-maintenance, hygienic, and low-cost product with a sleek finish, shower panels could be the better option for you. However, if you’re seeking a classic, unique finish with added versatility, shower tiles might be a preferable choice.

Whatever you choose, both shower panels and tiles provide an effective waterproof solution for the design and installation of your bathroom or wetroom. Both options provide a smooth, sleek, and stylish finish so it all comes down to your preferences and how much you have to spend.

Can’t Decide Over Shower Panels or Tiles as Part of Your Bathroom or Wetroom Refit?

At CCL Wetrooms, we have extensive experience in manufacturing and supplying wetroom and bathroom solutions. Through our sister company, Wetrooms UK, we also offer a 10-year installation guarantee. So, if you’re looking for advice about shower panels, shower tiles, or anything else connected with bathrooms and wetrooms, contact us today.