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sukhenkoi 02-17-2011 12:50 PM

Acrylic shower wall panels.

I want to remodel my shower and use acrylic wall panels instead of tiles as it much faster and easy to install. However, an installation manual says that I need to attach wall panels directly to studs. I don't like that. I would like to install durock cement or hardibacker board walls first. But it may change the size of my shower opening and create some problem with connecting wall panels to shower base.
In general, is it a good idea to use acrylic wall panels instead of tiles in shower?

Could you please give me your opinion or suggestion?

Thank you very much.

mfc133 02-17-2011 03:53 PM

I've never installed an acrylic surround, but I think you would not want to put up cement or hardiboard behind it for two reasons:

-The panels are probably designed to fit correctly when they are attached to framing directly. If you add 1/2" or more of backing behind them, they may not fit right.

-If they are installed/caulked correctly water should not get behind the acrylic panels. You use cement or hardiboard for tile because you need something to replace drywall that is not easily damaged by water.

If it's too flimsy being supported by 16" OC studs you could always throw a few extra studs in to give it more support without dealing with the fitment headaches cement board wll likely cause.

Jim F 02-17-2011 08:41 PM

There are two different types. There is the direct to stud type which is most common in shower applications and is ridgid enough to stand alone. There is the thin panels that are designed to glue onto a wallboard or cement board. I have never used either one but I think my preference would be the direct to stud especially for a shower.

Steeler99 02-17-2011 09:15 PM

if you have already bought them, then disregard this...installing those prefab panels isn't always easy. I watched a plumber in my old house struggle horribly because the walls weren't square. The floor was 5ft wide or so and the ceiling was 5''-1" wide....making it very difficult to get the seams right.

sukhenkoi 02-18-2011 06:57 AM

Thanks a lot for your opinion.
First, I will remove my existing walls in a shower and measure the opening on the floor (shower base) and on the ceiling and also check if all studs are plumb. Then, I'll decide to use panels or walls with tiles. I can install panels in one day, but for walls with tiles it may take a week with grouting and sealing. Plus, panels easy to replace and it is easy to replace shower base when your walls are panels. With tiled walls it won't be easy to replace a shower base in case of some problems.

Jim F 02-18-2011 06:01 PM

A good quality shower base properly installed should last as long as your tiled walls. I've seen solid surface sheets like corian used for tub and shower surrounds. Don't know about the cost but they looked like they would be easy to install. They are screwed onto the walls the corners and screw holes are siliconed. Just one more thing to consider.

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