7 Waterproof Bathroom Wall Options

White bathroom with house plant, toilet, sink and bathtub.

Having waterproof walls in your bathroom is important. If the walls are not waterproof, you could end up having a huge problem on your hands, such as mold, leaks, water damage, and more.

There are a few options when shopping around for new bathroom walls that are waterproof. Things to consider will not only be the price, but also which material, color, shape, pattern, and installation process you prefer.

1. Single-Sheet Plastic

You can buy single-sheet plastic for your bathroom walls in a variety of colors and styles. This is often the cheapest option and one a lot of people use. There are a number of different plastic sheet and plastic tile wall materials available on the market today in a range of prices.

2. Tile

Traditionally, tiles can come in a number of different materials including marble, slate, ceramic, porcelain, and more. A lot of people prefer tile over single-sheet plastic because it looks more elegant and expensive, but doesn't necessarily have to break your budget.

A fully-tiled wall will help ensure your bathroom is waterproof while also making a statement. You can even continue the tile onto the floor for a continuous look. You can purchase tiles not only in a number of different materials, but also in different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. A lot of people prefer marble, stone or granite when selecting a tile for their bathroom.

Not to mention, a lot of stores make it easy for you to install tiles yourself now because they can come in pattern-ready sheets that you simply apply, rather than working one piece at a time.

Selecting the right tile can turn your bathroom into the center of attention, rather than leaving it plain and drab.

3. Acrylic

These are the most common waterproof bathroom walls. You can buy bathroom walls to go around your tub or shower that are made with acrylic. These walls come in a wide range of prices, shapes, and styles, but are usually white or off-white. A lot of single-sheet plastic walls are also made from acrylic, but you can get full pieces as well that are easy to install yourself.

Most tub surrounds are made from acrylic and are bought in 3-piece direct-to-stud packages. The nice thing about these waterproof walls is that they not only are super easy to install yourself, but also feature built-in shelves.

4. Laminate

Again, laminate is another type of bathroom wall that can be purchased as a single-sheet or as tiles, and it is very popular. Laminate walls can either come in a high-gloss, glass-like finish or in a more traditional look, which is a great option to match your waterproof bathroom walls to your entire house, depending on whether your home is more modern or old-fashioned.

The great thing about laminate walls is that they are lightweight, easy to install, and can last for years. They also come in a bunch of different colors and patterns, which is great for people who want something more unique and interesting compared with plain white.

5. Stone

To achieve a high-end look, some people prefer to install stone walls in their bathrooms. Stone walls add a natural, yet exotic, look and feel to your bathroom, giving off a relaxing vibe.

Stone walls are waterproof and look really cool. However, real stone can be very expensive and difficult to install yourself, depending on the style of stone. Luckily, if you prefer stone walls, you can purchase natural stone tiles, which still look very sleek and modern.

6. Glass

Another option for waterproof bathroom walls would be to install glass walls.

Glass is definitely waterproof, but not always realistic. Still, it is very futuristic looking, which is kind of cool. People often install glass shower walls, but you can install glass walls for your bathtub or even your entire bathroom if you like.

Although glass bathroom walls certainly eliminate privacy, they do make a space feel open, which can be fantastic if you live out in nature and want to enjoy the view, but kind of odd if you live around a lot of people.

7. Paint

When painting your bathroom, it's important that you use the right kind of paint. You should use waterproof coating paint to make sure no water damage happens.

Waterproof paint should be oil-based. Painting your bathroom with waterproof paint is no different than any other paint, just make sure to keep the room well-ventilated and dry until the paint is completely dry.

Bonus Tip: Always Use Sealant

No matter what wall you choose, it's important that you use the proper sealant for it. Sealant helps keep moisture and water from going in between cracks in the wall. Make sure to follow the instructions for the best results, and always use silicone caulk with it as well for the best protection.

Waterproof Bathroom Wall Options FAQ

What is the best material to use for bathroom walls?

Bathroom walls need to be resistant to water and humidity, because moisture can encourage mold to grow and create an unhealthy environment. But there are many types of walls that are ideal for bathrooms because they are made of materials that are resistant to the moisture and heat that's associated with this space of the home.

Acrylic is one cost-effective choice. Glass, laminate, and natural stone all work well for bathroom walls and you will often find these materials used in bathroom counters because they resist moisture so well.

Tile is the most popular choice for bathrooms. Ceramic and glass tile are considered classic choices because these materials perform very well in moist, humid conditions.

How can I waterproof a bathroom wall?

Typically, bathrooms are constructed with waterproof materials or with a waterproofing treatment when they are built. However, bathroom walls can be waterproofed at any time.

There are a number of ways to waterproof a bathroom wall, starting with building the wall in a waterproof material (such as gypsum wall panels).

You can also cover the walls with a waterproof membrane before finishing them with tile, laminate, or some other finishing option.

What is the cheapest way to waterproof a shower wall?

If you want to waterproof a shower wall affordably and easily, liquid waterproof membrane is the best option. This is an easy DIY and the membrane can be applied anywhere.

A gallon of waterproofing membrane costs around $50, so this is a highly affordable choice.

Can you waterproof drywall in the bathroom?

Drywall is not a waterproof material by nature. There are other wall options, such as cement board, that are truly waterproof but drywall is not.

You can cover drywall with waterproof paint or veneer or even a waterproof membrane to protect the drywall from moisture. You can also find drywall that is more moisture-resistant than standard drywall.

However, there is no way to make drywall itself waterproof. You can only cover it with waterproof materials to keep the drywall beneath dry.

Is there special drywall for bathrooms?

Standard drywall is not recommended for bathroom environments, as it absorbs moisture and will disintegrate over time. Moisture in the walls can also lead to mold, which you don't want.

However, MMR drywall, known as green board, is moisture-resistant thanks to a wax coating that repels water. But green board is not waterproof and is not recommended for shower areas that are exposed to a lot of moisture.