8 Steps to Bathroom Wall Paneling

The primary concern when it comes to the installation of bathroom wall paneling is doing it right so that no moisture can seep through. Wall paneling is a good and practical option for homeowners looking to upgrade the look of their bathroom, but don’t want to lose any of its functionality – and even better, it can be easily installed on your own over a weekend.

Paneling Preparation

    1) Before you can start paneling, you’ll need to remove any existing hardware in the area of bathroom where you plan to add paneling. This includes showerheads, faucet handles, and nozzle hooks – anything that could get in the way while maneuvering the panels. Things like soap trays and hangers may also need to be removed and replaced afterward, as they will have to be taken off with a hammer and chisel if already permanently bonded to the wall.

    2) Prepare your surface area, and make it smooth. If you’re removing old tile or laminate, you may have your work cut out for you at first, since you’ll need to create a smooth surface to lay the panels on. Otherwise, clean the bathroom walls thoroughly, and make any necessary repairs that will ensure a smooth, clean surface. The paneling should only be installed on a wall surface that is completely free of dust, dirt, soap residue or grime – and is thoroughly dried.

Wall Paneling Measurements

    3) Measure the area around the bathroom spouts, faucet and handles, as these areas will need to be cut out from the paneling. The panels will fit over the hardware and then be sealed to prevent moisture from seeping into the cracks, so you want to have correct measurements – anything too small won’t fit, and anything too large will be very difficult to seal.

    4) Using a drill, make your pipe holes about a half inch larger than what you measured, so as not to force the pipe through. After the cuts are done, place your panel on the wall to check your measurements and cuts. The pieces should fit, and if they don’t, mark out what needs to be changed.

    5) Make sure your paneling fits together nicely – don’t just look at where the hardware is and forget about how the panels need to lock in place. You’ll probably need to do some trimming around the edges – possibly where the paneling meets the tub, or around the corners if the walls aren’t completely plumb. Also, mark on the walls exactly where each panel will sit.

Paneling Installation

    6) Using the kind of adhesive indicated on the back of your paneling package, apply it to the panel as directed in the instructions. Different brands of paneling will require different kinds of adhesive, and different adhesives require different amounts or techniques in order for the application to be fully effective. Read the instructions and then follow them! The success of your project literally depends on it.

    7) Place the panel in its final position, and apply even pressure along the panel – you can use your hands for better accuracy. The panel should be in contact with the wall in its entirety, and if you can feel a spot where the panel isn’t sticking, apply pressure for a minute on that one spot until the adhesive bonds with the wall. The panels will then need to set for 24 hours before use, so you might want to make shower arrangements with your neighbor for the weekend!

    8) Finally, before you can use your shower again, you’ll need to apply a bead of caulking around the perimeter of the paneling and the cutout spots for the hardware. There may be additional directions on the paneling package as to how to do this, so take that into account as well. Let the caulking dry as directed on the tube – and you’re done!