How to Install FRP Panels in the Bathroom

Lead Image
  • 48 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 160-350
What You'll Need
Circular saw with a diamond carbide blade
Nylon drive rivets or non-corroding fasteners
FRP recommended adhesive
FRP moldings and matching colored caulk
Silicone sealant
Laminate roller
Tape measure and pencil
Caulk gun
Rotary tool
Swivel head shears
Notched trowel
Safety eyewear and mask

FRP panels, or fiberglass reinforced plastic, are a popular way to surface bathrooms, kitchens and other high wear areas. FRP panels are extremely durable, resist mildew, moisture and staining and are easy to clean. No wonder so many people add FRP panels to the bathroom.

Step 1 - Measuring the Room

Measure your bathroom walls length by width and calculate the area using inches. The best way is to draw a blueprint of your room, and note its wall lengths and widths. Don't worry about obstructions on the wall; having more panels than is needed will save you an extra trip to the hardware store in mid-construction later on. Most FRP panels come in a 48 x 96 inch panel. Different manufacturers vary in thickness. Calculate into your drawing the number of panels you need to purchase to cover each wall. You'll also need to draw in dividers and caps, as well as the inside and outside corner moldings. There is a divider between each panel, running vertically and horizontally. Dividers come in a 96 or 120 inch lengths. Purchase caps, if panels will not be installed on the ceiling and the floor. Caps would then go on the ends of the panel, top and bottom. Make a list of the materials and its quantity in summary. Remember to bring all of the building materials and panels into the home for at least 24 hours before installing, and leave at room temperature of at least 55 degrees.

Step 2 -Installing Your FRP Panels

Always use proper eyewear when working. Begin at the bottom of the wall next to the door, leaving 1/4 inch gap for expansion. Use 16 penny nails as spacers between panels. When working around obstructions on walls, use large pieces of cardboard to cut templates around difficult areas. When whole panels no longer fit into remaining spaces, cut panels with a circular saw and a diamond carbide blade, or swivel shears, to correct size and install same as before. Use a jigsaw or rotary tool to cut around electrical outlets and pipes. This joint will be covered by the divider rail molding. Always dry fit your pieces before applying adhesive. Apply adhesive 1/4 inch thick, and spread with a trowel to the back of the panels. Attach panels to wall by hand. Use a laminate roller, and apply even pressure over the entire surface. Remove any adhesive that squeezes out from around the joints.

Step 3 - Installing Moldings

Cut your moldings, if needed, and apply them with adhesive, screws or finish nails. Always pre-drill for any nails or screws. For a complete waterproof application, use silicone caulk between all joints, before installing molding or divider rails. You can also add a bead of silicone to the hole before screwing or using rivets. Let the silicone dry completely, and cut away any excess for a clean look.