Wall Cladding Vs Traditional Tiles - How to Choose

April 29, 2016


 What is PVC cladding?

PVC cladding was developed in the 1970’s as a sustainable and decorative interior surface finish with unique properties compared to other wall coverings available in the market. PVC cladding is generally a hollow cored, lightweight panel with a smooth surface for decoration and a tongue-and-groove edge for easy assembly. Although traditional PVC cladding generally had a smooth surface, today there are a myriad of variations to the look, feel and finish.

• How would I choose: interior wall & ceiling cladding vs tiles?

  • Water resistant: Wall and ceiling cladding is very popular in the bathroom and kitchen areas as they are water-repellent and mould resistant, but they can be used pretty much anywhere. Tiles have a more restrictive use and although most tiles are water resistant they are certainly a breeding ground for mould.
  • Wallet impact: PVC cladding when compared to tiling, saves a lot of money on time and installing the panels. Most of the time, cladding is also more cost effective if you compare the price per square meter to tiles.
  • Simple and quick to install: Whilst tiles can look wonderful when complete, the fitting is labour intensive and generally requires a skilled tiler which comes at a price. PVC wall cladding is a very user-friendly product, to begin with. The panels are easily cut to size and simple to install, making it the ideal DIY solution. Compared to tiles, they take about half the time to fit (and with no messy grout to discolour and harbour mould!).
  • Low maintenance: Wall and ceiling cladding is such they are quick to clean and due to the great surface dirt doesn’t gather in cracks, bumps or pores. They will look as good in years to come as they do when they are first installed. Tiles once installed can attract discolouration and show wear and tear much more easily. Tiles also can be cracked or broken unlike cladding panels.
  • All-round anywhere product: Our panels are the ideal covering for walls and ceilings of offices, hotels, residential homes, laboratories, hospitals and of course your home. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. Tiles tend to be applied in the bathroom and kitchen, they can be seen as cold and unsightly in other areas of the home.
  • Hygienic: Unlike tiles, once cladding is installed, there is no grout to worry about as PVC is mould-repellent and not a suitable material for bacterial growth. There is also no discolouration which can happen with tiles.
  • Safe: PVC panels have a good reaction to fire and are classified as non-flammable products. PVC is self-extinguishable and does not burn by itself, once the “external flame” is withdrawn. A tile grout sealer is a chemical it may have some undesirable effects on health and can be flammable, so although tiles are flame resistant the grout and grout sealant can be undesirable.
  • Recyclable: PVC is 100% recyclable, wall and ceiling cladding panels can be taken to any plastic recycling centre.
  • No care required after installation: no paint, no grout, no sealant, no varnish,…unlike tiles.

• What sizes are cladding sold in? and what designs?

PVC cladding is available mainly in the popular widths of 100mm and 250mm and the most common length is 2.6m. Due to popularity of PVC cladded panels the styles vary dramatically today from seamless monopanels to V-groove panels. Many design patterns are possible and now available and they include (but certainly aren’t limited to) smooth tile like effects, genuine wood grain patterns, stone effects, marble alternative and bespoke designs.

• Can I put PVC cladding in a hot environment?

Most of our panels can withstand a maximum continuous temperature of 60°C, so can be used as a to wall cladding a shower, but they cannot be used in saunas. Ceiling lights can also be built in as long as the contact temperature does not exceed 60°C. We recommend that a space is always left of at least 10 mm between the ceiling light and it is pointed away from the panels to prevent any distortion of the panel.

• Is PVC cladding price comparable to tiles?

The purchase of the tiles vs cladding is difficult to gage as tiles also come in all sizes and prices from budget ranges to high end stone. On a like for like finish generally wall and ceiling cladding is cheaper to purchase but where the real cost saving is made is in the installation. Wall and ceiling cladding take only about half the time to fit as tiles so whether you are employing a fitter, or doing it yourself, you will save money!

And let’s not forget that one of the main advantages of PVC wall cladding is that once installed, there is no grout to go mouldy or get dirty and thank goodness maintenance is a thing of the past.

• Do PVC panels have any insulating value?

Yes, interestingly not only are the panels fire retardant and sustainable they offer an insulating value of R 2.25 (0,16 watt/m°K), which is pretty impressive. Their insulation value is comparable to that of a normal house brick.

• Can wall and ceiling cladding be installed anywhere?

Whether you have rough, uneven or patchy wall surfaces you would simply install the panels to a prebuilt frame with nails, staples, screws or glue. Should you have smooth and even walls, then you simply glue the panels to the plaster or plaster board, or one great advantage is you can even to apply wall and ceiling cladding to existing tiles!

• Do wall and ceiling cladding panels need special cleaning products?

NO, simply use any ordinary household product for maintenance which is nonabrasive and not based on chloride. You can even bring them back to their original condition by polishing the panels using a soft, non-abrasive cleaning agent. Usually you only need a damp cloth to clean the panels thoroughly and should your little darlings leave pen marks or should you have any adhesive residue simply remove using isopropyl-alcohol.

• PVC wall cladding in a chemical environment such as a swimming pool?

Most of our PVC panels have enough chemical resistance for an indoor swimming pool. The maximum allowed concentration level of chlorine around swimming pools lies around a couple of milligram per cubic meter of air, and this would not have an effect on the PVC panels.


If you are looking for a more cost effective and easier overall product to work with in your home but still gain a truly stylish look and feel then wall and ceiling cladding is a serious contender…