Testing Shower Wall Panels

An option of wall finish for bathrooms, in particular the wet areas, are tiles but another is a waterproof shower wall panel.

This post is also available as a video on our youtube channel

We have been selling these for over 10 years and chose the Nuance panels by a company called Bush Board.

The interesting thing about these panels is they are completely waterproof through the core. The centre is made of plastic and resin.

When we first looked at doing these sort of panels I insisted on getting a few samples and testing them by leaving them in a bucket of water for a few weeks to see what happened.

Most of the panels on the market that we tried at the time had MDF or plywood cores and started bubbling and expanding as they absorbed the water.

The surface of these panels is probably waterproof or you could expect it to be they’re a seamless plastic surface, but the issue we think of for the future is when we fit them and seal them. Over time customers are likely to rub that seal off and water can get into the core which is why its important to us to have a fully waterproof product.

We have been approached by another company who claim that their panels are also waterproof. Being me, that means I’m going to go and test it to make sure it really is. The core of this particular panel seems to be plywood so despite what the rep has said we like to test things. So I thought I’d make a video of it > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvPn0OOJaz0

I was looking for an obvious physical change but I also took some measurements to compare.

The new panel is 10.6mm thick. The nuance panel is 11.3mm.

So I submerged both the panels in a bucket of water.

40 days later I returned to the experiment to see what had happened.

Firstly, the water was of course a little brown and murky.

The nuance panel was 11.3/11.4mm at the top so pretty much unchanged and the wet section was 11.6mm so has a small growth of about 0.2mm.

There was no surface change and water hasn’t travelled up the core of the panel.

This is the panel we have been using for 10 years so happy days!

The multipanel on the top dry section was 10.6mm. The wet section was 11.5mm so almost a 1mm increase. I can’t see any difference in the surface or edges, no bubbling or expanding at all. Some water has been absorbed through the core.

I’m impressed, I didn’t think this would survive for the 40 days.