Compared to the walls throughout the rest of your house, bathroom walls are very different. Because of this, your choice of bathroom wall materials is extremely important.

bathroom wall materials

Pretty much any kind of wallcovering will work in hallways, bedrooms, living rooms, and other areas that are completely dry. You can even have a wide choice of wall coverings in a kitchen where things are dry most of the time. This is made possible, in part, by back splashes protecting certain areas.

But in a bathroom, moisture from shower overspray and splashing – as well as air that is simply moisture laden – provides a devastating atmosphere. Moisture issues can even rear their ugly heads in well ventilated bathrooms.

Let’s take a look at some material choices where bathroom walls are concerned and how they perform. We’ll note the good news and the bad news for each surface.

Tile Board

The good news: For failing drywall in a bathroom or kitchen, tile board can be a quick fix. In just a few minutes, you can have a wall that looks like it’s been ceramic tiled.

The bad news: With a hard melamine layer on top, MDF (medium density fiberboard) is a poor substitute for real tile. Care must be practiced at all times because, once moisture reaches the back of the tile board, it swells up rapidly and will deteriorate.


The good news: Against direct moisture from the bathtub, shower, sink, etc., beadboard offers a level of protection. Beadboard can be painted with glossy or semi-gloss paint (make sure it’s paint designed specifically for bathrooms).

The bad news: The traditional look of beadboard doesn’t work for all styles or all bathrooms. Beadboard fits right in for traditionally styled bathrooms. It’s out of place, however, in most modern bathrooms. What’s more, only the lower half of your wall will be covered with beadboard. Fortunately, where moisture problems are concerned, that’s the most important part of the bathroom wall.

Tile (Glass or Ceramic)

Good news: As long as it is expertly and correctly installed, tile is 100% waterproof. What’s more, this is an absolute classic choice.

The bad news: When tile is used, a bathroom can end up feeling and looking overly sterile because too much tile can overwhelm the room.

Interior Paint

The good news: Mildew inhibiting and mold inhibiting additives are present in designated bathroom paint.

The bad news: Compared to other interior paint, it can cost up to twice as much. On the other hand, you’ll probably only need one gallon.

Vinyl Wallpaper

The good news: Because it can be peeled off and reapplied more than once, vinyl wallpaper is pretty easy to install.

The bad news: Where heavy moisture is concerned – which is a distinct possibility in a bathroom – some vinyl wallpapers may not be well suited and may peel.

Materials Inc. for A Wide Choice of Bathroom Wall Materials

Not only do we carry materials for floors and ceilings, at Materials Inc. we stock numerous bathroom wall materials to choose from. To decide if it matches the décor or mood of your bathroom, click here to review our selection of veneers. Not into veneers? No worries. We have a vast array of options to choose from. If you need suggestions or advice, we’ve got you covered there, too.

Contact one of our helpful staff members today if you need advice or have questions.

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