Perspex instead of tiles for shower surround?

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Tinderstick, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Hi Folks

    I don't like tiles. I don't like laying them, I don't like the look of them when they're up and I definitely don't like maintaining/cleaning/regrouting them.

    Looking at ways round this in my bathroom I thought why not put up sheets of perspex. Nice clean sheets of white 5mm thick perspex - sorted? I've seen it - or sthg similar - used for enclosed cubicles but not often for showers over baths.

    I'd really like to hear anybody's experiences with this material in this environment, how it behaves and any advantages/disadvantages

    a) How suited is this product to this environment;

    b) how do you recommend fixing it - I thought glue and screw straight onto rendered wall with acrylic sealant finish?

    c) where can I source it from and any ideas on costs

    Any advice would, as always, be very much appreciated.
  2. devil's advocate

    devil's advocate New Member

    Hi Tinderstick.

    A couple of things come to mind: (1) perspex scratches quite easily, (although scratches can also be polished out unless deep). (2) it expands quite dramatically with heat which could cause sealing problems due to the movement. I remember showering in a perspex-sided cubicle, and the sides bowing ('popping') when I ran the hot water over it - a surprising amount of movement.

    It is usual to fix perspex using screws through over-sized holes for this reason - this allows the sheet to slide. I think you could have problems where the edges are sealed, as sealant could restrict movement.

    There are waterproof sheets available (mostly tile-effect!) to make this kind of job easier. You might not like the task of tiling, but I'd be astonished if there wasn't a tile out there you didn't like!

    Maintenance shouldn't really be a problem; use a good quality cement-based grout for long life.

    Oh yeah, a third thing comes to mind - it'll look crap...
  3. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Many thanks devil's, that's pretty much the kind of advice I needed - unless anybody has any other thoughts, I'll assume perspex at least is not the best solution.

    Anybody any ideas on other similar sheeting materials that could work

    I've seen the tile-effect sheets you mention but they are... well, what's worse than tiles...TILE-EFFECT!

    I've seen some great mosaics in Italy and whatnot but tiles in general... sorry, not convinced ;)
  4. Jonny Round Boy

    Jonny Round Boy New Member

    Best I know of would be glass. I've used these people before - - I think it was Kathy I dealt with (it was a while ago). There cheaper than many other suppliers of the same stuff, too, but it will cost more than perspex.

    It has an opaque coating on the back, so the wall doesn't show through.

    They're based in Bath, (imms) and do have a templating & fitting service if you're fairly close to them. Otherwise you can template & fit yourself (but if you get it wrong there's no way you can can just 'trim a bit off'!).

    Looks fantastic, in my humble opinion (i don't think the pictures do it justice, but it is difficult to photograph).
  5. jasonb

    jasonb New Member

    Another option is Corian, you could even have the shower tray done in the same material with it all bonded together so no nasty silicon joints in the corners, just hope you have deep pockets. I have used it around baths as well as for vanity tops, even had a loo seat made out of it.
    And as JRB says glass with a painted back looks good as well.

  6. britishblue

    britishblue New Member

  7. ­

    ­ New Member

    My supplier sells 8' x 4' sheets of white upvc. These are 8mm thick from memory and are sold for shower enclosures. They're about £30 each.

    Only available in white but are easy to fit (stick them up with silicone) and you cut them with a Stanley knife (a couple of passes then snap along the line).

    They are not full gloss like normal upvc so don't show marks or scratches at all.

    Clients love the clean smooth look!
  8. jasonb

    jasonb New Member

  9. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    I knew you guys out there would have some answers to this one. Thanks all!

    Verycleverman - is your supplier Bristol-based? Please lemme know more if you can.

    Or anybody Bristol-based know where I can source these UPVC sheets from? I'm not trade. Thanks.

    I agree with your 'humble opinion' Jonny - I'm nr Bath so will definitely look into that one.

    Respatex looks good too! Thanks British Blue.

    I'm looking for panels to fix round a bath with a shower above so some of these are not suitable. But thanks for the tips all the same.
  10. ­

    ­ New Member

    No, my supplier is in High Wycombe, Bucks. Give them a call to get the proper trade name for this sheet. It must be available from other outlets. Phone 'Roofline High Wycombe' 01494-533445 Make sure you speak to one of the experienced guys, some of the new staff may not be aware of all their products.

    Just ask about the white 8' x 4' plastic sheet (like upvc) They also sell perspex and other plastics but this white stuff is the dog's do-dahs imho.
  11. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Thanks again verycleverman!
  12. nigel

    nigel Guest

    I used ready made shower panel on my shower, [formica on 9mm ply], choice of colours and very easy to clean [so the wife says].
  13. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Nigel, where did you get that from???
  14. nigel

    nigel Guest

  15. ultimatehandyman

    ultimatehandyman New Member

    Perspex is no longer manufactured for sanitary ware applications, it used to be about 13 years ago. You could then buy Perspex SW grade (sanitary ware) this was mainly for making baths and shower trays. It is now called Lucite but is still made by the same firm- Lucite international (formerly ICI Acrylics) Lucite is harder to cut than Perspex as it has a slightly different chemical make up to enable it to be moulded more easily for Baths etc. Lucite chips when cutting it but perspex does not, Lucite can be heated and moulded into almost any shape, Perspex cannot as it really needs annealing after bending.

    I agree that it is not the best material for a shower, but if the shower manufacturers put some thought into it then it could be!

    Lucite is available in non reflective "silk" finishes, some of these are metallic, like this
    Acrylic Splashback.

    Some of the Lucite range is made espacially for moulding into hot tubs and spa's and contains microban to stop mould and fungicidal growth, this would be perfect for a shower enviroment.

    Sealing it and fastening it to the walls would be difficult, but it is not impossible.

    I have plenty of experience with Perspex and Lucite and I love it, some of the new flourescent colours and metallic colours are great!
  16. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Cheers Nigel - looking into that

    Ultimatehandyman - what about the scratching and bowing issues devil's advocate was concerned about - lucite perform any better than the old perspex? (must perform fairly well with heat, I guess, because it is used for illuminated signage!)

    In your photos you seem to be using just thin strips - say no more than 3' -4' long x 1'-2' high at a time. How do you think it would perform in 5'-6' high panels (assuming I could buy it that big). Do you think it really could be a solution in this environment???

    I really like your work in the kitchen area all the same - very smart and a refreshing alternative to tiles
  17. ultimatehandyman

    ultimatehandyman New Member

    Hi Tinderstick,

    Devils Advocate is spot on with his concerns!

    The lengths that I used varied, the one on the right of the picture was cut in one piece and spans two 1 metre kitchen units and so is 2 metres long. The advantage here is that as well as gluing it to the wall it is also held by the sockets.

    Lucite does scratch quite easily, but can be easily Polished out. It is exactly the same as an acrylic bath. The only problem is that you cannot polish out scratches from the silk finishes as they are dull.

    Perspex is used for signs rather than Lucite, perspex is opaque and Lucite is not, it is a solid colour and light does not pass through it easily.

    It would be possible to use Lucite but there are many issues to overcome, ideally if a dead square cubicle could be made and the Lucite could be bonded to that, then it would probably be ok.

    Ideally it would be better if the manufacturers could design a shower tray and Lucite cubicle to go around it, all made from Lucite. It is possible but would be expensive and guess there is not much demand for them!

    Lucite will easily stand the heat of a shower, I am not sure about the expansion at such low temperatures. When it is manufactured a sample of it is heated in a special oven to 200 degrees C

    If a completely square cubicle could be made and then the lucite could be fitted and there was room for it to expand then it would work. The adhesive would have to be good stuff though, perhaps it would be best to screw some scrap Lucite or perspex to the walls of the shower cubicle and then fix the new Lucite by gluing it in place with Tensol cement

    But I would imagine that it would be quite expensive!
  18. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Looks like a no-no for showers until they custom make then!
  19. ultimatehandyman

    ultimatehandyman New Member

  20. Also try Mermaid Panels, specifically desinged for shower construction in a variety of colours, I once built a steam room from this stuff, it's Norweigan and very high spec, about £120 a sheet from memory,

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