The dos and don'ts of working with plywood shower panels

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While the bathroom wall panels category has seen the emergence of more contemporary materials over recent years, there’s one material that installers keep coming back to time and time again: plywood. Keeley Greenhalgh, National Sales Manager at Mermaid, explains how plywood shower panels have been a firm favourite for the trade for the last decade, thanks to their durability, cost-effectiveness and aesthetic appeal.

So, if you’re an installer taken by the benefits plywood can offer, take a closer look at these dos and don’ts to make sure you deliver outstanding results for your customer.

Consider sustainable sourcing
As with all materials derived from the natural environment, sustainable sourcing is key. Ensure the plywood bathroom panel has been manufactured using Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified plywood, to give you and your customer peace of mind that the raw material has been sourced sustainably. Mermaid Timeless panels for example have been ethically sourced from PEFC sources in France and Spain.

Don’t assume plywood limits décor choice
Plywood shower panels may not be the most innovative panelling concept, but that’s not to say it lacks design flexibility. Mermaid’s Timeless plywood collection boasts 30 different designs ranging from Cream Stone to Dark Wood, Graphite Sparkle and even a Welsh Slate, meaning whatever look or trend you’re going for, there’s a panel to suit. Its high-pressure laminate (HPL) also comes in an array of textures, from stone, woodgrain and high gloss finishes, all handpicked to suit the design.

Prepare the surface
Before installing the plywood shower panels, it is essential to prepare the wall surface properly. Ensure the walls are clean, dry, and free from any debris. Smooth out any irregularities or imperfections on the surface, as these can affect the panel's adherence and overall finish.

Don’t overlook structural support
Plywood panels should be installed on a solid and structurally sound framework. Avoid attaching the panels directly to drywall or flimsy substrates, as this may compromise the stability of the installation. Instead, use a sturdy backing material, such as studs or solid wood, to provide adequate support and prevent sagging or warping.

Use waterproof sealant
Apply a high-quality waterproof sealant to all edges, corners, and joints of the plywood shower panels. This step is crucial in preventing moisture penetration and increasing the longevity of the installation, not least by making the panels much easier to clean. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding application and drying time to ensure optimal results.

Don’t neglect moisture protection
Plywood panels are vulnerable to moisture damage if not adequately protected. Avoid installing plywood panels directly in contact with water sources or near open showers without proper waterproofing measures such as manufacturer recommended trims and sealants. Failing to implement adequate moisture protection can lead to the growth of mould and compromise the integrity of the panel.

Prioritise proper ventilation
Good ventilation is essential in any bathroom installation, particularly when working with plywood shower panels. Insufficient airflow can result in excessive moisture build-up, increasing the risk of damage to the panels over time. Ensure the bathroom has proper ventilation, such as exhaust fans or windows, to maintain a dry and healthy environment.

Don’t ignore manufacturer guidelines
Each plywood shower panel may have specific installation instructions and recommendations provided by the manufacturer. It is essential to read and follow these guidelines carefully. Manufacturers are likely to have specific requirements regarding adhesives, fasteners, and other installation methods to ensure optimal performance and durability, so it is important that these are adhered to for a seamless installation.

Choosing a plywood shower panel such as one from Mermaid’s Timeless range doesn’t just mean supporting a product with a raft of unbeatable credentials – it means joining a network of installers who have impressed customers and grown businesses thanks to the power of plywood for over a decade.

If you’re keen to stay up to date with the latest developments in bathroom wall panels from new product launches to the latest design inspiration, sign up to the Mermaid newsletter.

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