While tiling is often the go-to method for bathrooms and kitchens, it is perhaps waterproof wall panels that are the perfect match for offsite construction. Rachel Oddy, Marketing Manager at Fibo discusses how waterproof wall panels could be the missing piece of the modular jigsaw for developers.
A growing number of large, national organisations, regional developers and local housebuilders are investing in modern methods of construction, such as modular and offsite building processes. When you look at the benefits it’s easy to see why, from greater consistency and easier quality control to speed of construction and improved safety on site. However, when it comes to modular building and interior fit-outs, a unique set of products, materials and finishes are required, ones that will complement modular construction and its specific methods and processes.
For bathrooms and kitchens, tiles have long been the traditional, go-to solution for wall finishes, making it easy to assume that they are the only viable solution. However, this is not the case. Thanks to developments and innovations in the market, waterproof wall panel systems can now offer an alternative that supports the offsite methodology and helps to reduce post-delivery issues, while simultaneously helping to deliver a contemporary interior bathroom or kitchen space.
Engineered for speed
One of the biggest, and most talked about, benefits of offsite and volumetric construction is the time savings, with buildings able to be erected at a far faster rate than traditional methods. As a result of this speed, you need interior fit-out products that can be installed just as quickly and easily – otherwise you risk losing these time efficiencies along the way.
In this case, high-quality laminate wall panels are perhaps the perfect choice. For example, did you know that they can be installed up to five times faster than tiles? It’s a pretty impressive statistic, and one that could deliver very real time and cost savings for the modular market.
This speed comes from the ability to fit the wall panels directly onto wooden or steel studs, or glued directly onto the wall itself, with no prior wall preparation, expert tools or specialist trades required.
All of this means that the bathroom and kitchen “pods” can be fitted and finished quicker, saving time and money in the manufacturing process.
Commonly manufactured from a timber core and high-pressure laminates, wall panels offer a strong and durable alternative to tiles, providing both housebuilders and homeowners with long-lasting confidence. Look for wall panels that are manufactured with a high-quality ‘tongue and groove’ joining system, for a seamless and waterproof joint.
Of course, when it comes to modular construction, it’s not just about the performance of the products during the property’s lifespan that needs to be considered. As the name ‘offsite’ suggests, a common factor in these modern methods is that the primary structure or volumetric pods will be manufactured away from the main site, in a controlled factory environment, before being delivered to site and lifted into its final position. As a result, you need building products that will survive this journey from factory to site.
This penultimate stage of the modular construction process can lead to some common post-delivery issues, such as broken tiles in the bathroom or cracks in the kitchen wall finish. With wall panels, you can rest easy knowing that they are robust enough to withstand the move from factory to site with no remedial work required.
With any housing project, looks are important – and offsite builds are no different. If modular is truly to take off as an alternative construction method, then the housebuilding sector needs to show that the quality and standard of the interior finish is not any less. Just because the houses are quick and efficient to construct, does not mean it can look cheap or rushed on the inside. Here, again, wall panels can help, with a huge array of colours, styles and effects available, providing the housebuilding and modular market with unrivalled choice.
Fibo has 80 designs spread across six collections to suit all styles and budgets, with everything from luxurious White Marble and contemporary Cracked Cement to the urban-inspired Metro Brick. We also offer a selection of tile effect patterns, with the iconic grout-line routered in, providing the look and feel of tiles, with all the benefits of wall panels.