While tiles have been a popular choice for bathroom walls for many years, Google searches for ‘bathroom tile alternatives’ have increased by 48 per cent over the last three months. So why exactly are a growing number of homeowners exploring tiles alternatives for their bathroom, and what does this mean for retailers and installers?

The manufacturing process of tiles is particularly energy intensive. Considering that the cost of energy traditionally represents around 50 per cent of a tile’s overall cost, the recent surge in energy prices has forced manufacturers to increase product price points. Likewise, the same energy price surge has caused homeowners to abandon tiles for cost-effective methods of bathroom refurbishment.

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Homeowners are also looking to save money on the installation process, as well as product. It’s said to take three to four days to tile the average bathroom, at a cost of £700-£800. In comparison, fitting out an entire bathroom with wall panels can take as little as four to six hours, offering homeowners a significant saving on their total project cost.

Sources of bathroom styling inspiration are everywhere and as a result, there is a stronger desire for a more personalised interior. Rather than opting for a cold tile, homeowners can turn to bathroom wall panels to replicate natural materials such as wood or stone to create a unique bathroom space with added texture and depth. Time-poor homeowners can also eliminate the arduous cleaning process that comes with tiles and grout, as bathroom wall panels can be cleaned with the simple wipe of a cloth.

Quick to fit, easy on the eye and simple to maintain, bathroom wall panels have never been more appealing, creating a competitive tile alternative that may not have always been viable. Retailers and installers who are familiar with panelling and able to offer a broad variety of finishes stand to benefit hugely from what looks to be a market set for significant growth.

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