The Difference Between Shower Wall Panels, Tile Walls, and Fiberglass Units

The Difference Between Shower Wall Panels, Tile Walls, and Fiberglass Units

The first step in any shower remodel is to make a decision about the materials you want to use. For most people, that decision comes down to one big question: Do you want tile shower walls, shower wall panels, or a fiberglass unit? There are pros and cons to all of them. To help you out, we’re going to do a quick and easy breakdown of the majors factors at play when it comes to shower wall panels, tiles, and fiberglass.

Cost and Budget

Shower Wall Panels

  • Because shower wall panels come in solid pieces, they don’t require grout. (This is a major money-saver!)
  • Shower wall panels come in a variety of materials, which can vary in price. Onyx (one of the companies we work with here at Crystal Bath and Shower) is more expensive, but it is customizable and proven to last longer.

Tile Walls

  • Tile itself is cheaper than buying shower wall panels, but when you add in the grout and the cost of labor to fill in that grout, the cost of tile walls skyrockets.
  • Tile walls can also range from reasonably inexpensive (cost per tile) to luxury prices.

Fiberglass

  • Fiberglass is cheapest because it comes as a solid unit—walls, base, and accessories—and requires little effort to install.

Care and Cleaning

Shower Wall Panels

  • No grout means shower wall panels are easy to clean and maintain.
  • Can be cleaned with everyday household cleaners.
  • You cannot use abrasive cleaners on shower wall panels, because they will dull the surface.

Tile Walls

  • Tile walls require heavy cleaning, scrubbing, and bleaching, especially of the grout.
  • Grout will crack and cause leaks, over time. This can make your home susceptible to mildew and even black mold.

Fiberglass

  • Very easy to maintain and can be cleaned with household cleaners.
  • The entire shower is one single smooth surface—no heavy scrubbing required.

Installation

Shower Wall Panels

  • Because there’s no individual tiling, shower wall panels can be installed in 1-5 days. This cuts down on labor costs.
  • Shower wall panels are installed as solid pieces: base, panels, and accessories.

Tile Walls

  • Tile walls are installed piece by piece to create the wall.
  • After the tile is adhered, the grout is applied to the joints of each tile.
  • Tile wall installation can take several weeks, depending on the intricacy of the pattern.

Fiberglass

  • Easiest and fastest to install; can be done in 1-2 days.
  • Requires a standard-sized shower.

Durability

Shower Wall Panels

  • Guaranteed to last a lifetime.
  • Designed to be mold-, mildew-, and crack-proof.

Tile Walls

  • Made to last 15 years.
  • Grout should be resealed every 2 years and may need to be completely redone every 4-5 years.
  • If grout cracks, your shower may experience leaks, mold, and mildew.

Fiberglass

  • Fiberglass shower units do not hold up well. After roughly six months, customers report their fiberglass showers start to show wear and tear.
  • Thin and prone to cracks. If your shower cracks, the entire unit must be replaced.

Here at Crystal Bath & Shower Company, we’re proud to use Onyx products. They make high-quality shower wall panels, and their shower remodels allow for customization, are proven to last, and even give the appearance of tile without the hassle of cleaning and maintaining it.

Want to compare these three options yourself? Stop by Crystal Bath & Shower Company’s showroom to see what we offer and speak to an expert about your shower needs.

Visit Crystal Bath & Shower Company

Crystal Bath & Shower Company proudly serves Bald Head Island, Bolivia, Burgaw, Carolina Beach, Castle Hayne, Hampstead, Holden Beach, Jacksonville, Kure Beach, Leland, Long Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Porters Neck, Topsail Island, St. James Plantation, Shallotte, Southport, Sunset Beach, Surf City, Wallace, Whiteville, Wilmington, and Wrightsville Beach.

Meet Our Sister Company

Our showroom is housed within our sister company, Crystal Carpet & Flooring Company. Both companies are locally owned by the same on-site owner, Chad Garner.

When you visit our showroom, you have access to everything you’ll need for a full bathroom remodel — the best tile selections and state-of-the-art bath and shower systems — all in one convenient, easy-to-find location!