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Daily, the bathroom regularly encounters micro water spray from the toilet and moisture from steamy showers. It is essential to choose a wallcovering that fits your sense of aesthetics and the room’s size without suffering quickly degrading performance and longevity. Before you decide on a wall covering for the bathroom, it helps you learn more about how moisture will impact its performance and longevity.
The air circulation quality via windows and ventilation fans can reduce how much water interacts with bathroom walls. Additionally, the amount of space in a bathroom should be calculated. A cozier restroom may be prone to trapping more moisture than a bathroom with dramatically high ceilings and a wider layout.
Outfit Your Bathroom Walls
The wall covering is an essential part of the bathroom’s interior, adds aesthetic value, and has to fend off water damage. Let’s explore different types of wall coverings that create visual appeal and how well they function in a bathroom.
The best paint to cover bathroom walls is high-gloss and semi-gloss. However, paint with a satin finish is pretty durable and can also withstand a moist bathroom. Painting your walls with a neutral color can make it easier to spot mold, mildew, and stains. Do be prepared to routinely wipe down painted walls as needed to keep them looking fresh. Also, vent your bathroom after a shower to reduce moisture buildup and encourage air circulation. Most interior paint lasts 5 to 10 years, but a bathroom could use repainting every 3 to 4 years.
- Easy to install on the walls
- Mildew and mold-resistant paint types available
- It lasts 5 to 10 years on average.
- Walls may need repainting after a few years to protect against moisture damage.
- Not all types of paint are optimal for the bathroom.
2. Wood Paneling (shiplap, beadboard, etc.)
Wood paneling is a tasteful and long-lasting bathroom wall covering that can be used from the floor to the ceiling. Typically, people choose to use beadboard or wainscotting to cover half of the bathroom wall. However, you can extend the height of how much of your walls are covered with wood paneling if your bathroom has low ceilings. Wood paneling is a good choice for modern or country-style bathrooms and lasts up to a decade or longer.
- Has longevity of 10 years or longer
- Versatile installation on the walls
- An attractive option for modern, classic, and farmhouse style homes
- Lifespan may be shortened by high moisture
Ceramic and porcelain tile are two popular types of coverings for bathroom walls and tile made from glass or vinyl. Tile is a desirable choice for bathrooms because they are usually made from easy-to-clean material and are modestly priced.
- Wide range of shapes, styles, and materials
- Cost-effective and attractive
- Easy to clean and replace as needed
- It lasts decades if properly installed and maintained.
- Tile may need to be resealed periodically.
The art of covering interior walls with beautiful wallpaper has been in practice for centuries. However, when installed in a bathroom, wallpaper is better on accent walls than fully covering the bathroom. Because of the high amount of moisture in a bathroom, wallpaper can peel away from the walls. In a low-moisture environment, wallpaper can last for years, and it can be scrubbed clean. Have your wallpaper professionally installed and opt for mold-proof paper or apply a varnish to add moisture resistance.
- It comes in a wide variety of colors and styles.
- A durable wall covering that can tolerate scrubbing.
- It can last up to 15 years.
- An inexpensive alternative to traditional wall tile
- Prone to peeling off if in a very high moisture environment
- Mold and mildew can develop behind wallpaper over time.
Vinyl tile is less expensive than high-end ceramic, stone, and marble, and it is easy to install when in a peel-and-stick version. You can use vinyl tile with designs that mimic marble, wood and display trending motifs for your home. However, one drawback is that you may want to change up your walls before your vinyl tile is ready for a replacement.
- It comes in a variety of styles that look similar to wood, stone, brick, and marble
- Easy to install via peel-and-stick
- Inexpensive and easy to wipe down to clean
- It lasts an average of 8 to 10 years
- The quality is not the same level as authentic stone, marble, or ceramic tile
- Suitable for all walls except around the shower or bathtub
6. Glass Blocks
Glass blocks are a bit outdated but are useful for an exterior wall in a bathroom. People like using glass blocks, often thick, durable, and hard to see because they let natural light in but maintain some privacy. Professional installation is a must with glass blocks to prevent problems.
- Allows natural light to pass through
- Provides privacy
- Best as an exterior wall
- It can be used in showers
- Not the most modern wall covering
- Requires expert installation, which may be costly
People have used stone for their home’s interior and exterior walls for centuries, as it adds a touch of timeless beauty. However, depending on the type of stone used, the material can be expensive, heavy, and high maintenance. In a bathroom, care should be taken to seal stone tiles, porous and slippery when wet.
- Timeless look and feel
- Adds high aesthetic value to a home
- Wide arrange of stone options.
- It is a natural material and not synthetic.
- Expensive, heavy, and requires frequent maintenance
- Often cold, porous, brittle, and there is a finite supply.
Exposed brick walls in a bathroom are suitable for a home with an industrial, modern, and eclectic bohemian aesthetic. However, classic brick can seem a bit harsh and may soften with a coat of paint. Plus, brick is porous, and the exterior walls are usually a lower quality inside a home than outside. It may be essential to add a layer of primer to seal a brick wall.
- Long-lasting and durable
- Adds a unique charm and style
- Best as an accent wall far from the shower or tub
- Over time moisture can create mildew, mold and cause deterioration of the brick and mortar
Laminate is a synthetic composite tile that has been treated to resist moisture. Many people like using laminate for flooring or walls because it comes in various styles that mimic more expensive materials. Laminate should be wiped down to prevent moisture buildup and buckling, but it is inexpensive and easy to install.
- Lasts long in a low-moisture environment
- Inexpensive and can mimic more expensive materials
- Treated with a coating to resist moisture
- May buckle or develop problems in the event of a leak or hidden water behind the laminate
10. Corrugated Metal
Installing corrugated metal to your bathroom walls immediately gives it a rustic or industrial vibe. Using corrugated metal creates a lot of interest visually in a bathroom but may potentially incur moisture buildup behind the panels if improperly installed. On the plus side, galvanized corrugated metal is inexpensive, lightweight, and treated to resist rust and corrosion.
- Resists rust and corrosion
- Lightweight, recyclable, and easy to clean
- Adds a nice touch for rustic or industrial interiors
- Metal needs to be coated to prevent rusting and damage
Marble is one of the most expensive and luxurious wall coverings available, but it is well worth the investment. Marble has stood the test of time in homes for both floors and walls. However, in the bathroom, marble may prove to be a soft, absorbent material that is high maintenance.
- Looks elegant and luxurious
- Adds value to your home
- A classic, timeless choice for interior walls
- Marble may need resealing every six months to protect it.
- Expensive and has a porous surface.
There are plenty of wall options to give your bathroom a look and feel that matches your aesthetic tastes. The layout of your bathroom will help you select the best choice, depending on if it is for an accent wall or the entire interior. Do consider how the level of ventilation and moisture produced in a bathroom will impact the materials on your walls. Certain wall coverings are more porous than others and may require frequent sealing and cleaning. No matter your budget or style, you can discover a wallcovering that will make your bathroom interior beautiful.
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