5 Reasons You Should Eliminate Tile Bathrooms and Showers in Your New Home or Remodel

“I’ve eliminated tile in my homes (even in the bathrooms). My building process has been revolutionized with laminated wall panels and flooring.
If you’re still using tile; you need to stop right now!”

This quote from David Profenno, President of Home Town Builders (a production builder in Central Florida) may shock you. Eliminating tile in your bathrooms, may seem as sacrilegious as skipping a roof to new home builders and remodelers.

This quote begs the question, why would a successful builder (David’s been building first-time home owner production homes and large-scale custom homes since 1999) have the guts to eliminate tile from his bathrooms and showers?

David Profenno My Home Town Builders Orlando Florida | Innovate Building Solutions | #HomeTownBuilders #RemodelingProjects #HomeBuilders

Why would David do such a crazy thing even though his target market is largely the Florida Hispanic community who loves ceramic tile?

Does this sound crazy to you?

If you said yes, I’m betting you’re like most builders, remodelers or homeowners who see tile as the gold standard. The tried and true. You’ve gotta have tile, now don’t you?

The answer is …maybe yes and maybe no.

In this article I’m going to dig into why a sane builder (and trust me, David is not only sane, he’s doggone smart given the sales success, improved margins and faster building turnaround times he’s achieved using laminated walls and flooring instead of tile) give up on tile in their bathrooms.

I’m going to give you 5 reasons David would challenge you to have the guts to blow up tile in your bathrooms and choose laminate floors and a disruptive new technology (at least in the United States), laminated bathroom panels as well. But before we do that I’m going to step back and explain what laminated wall panels are (I’ll assume everyone knows what laminate floors are).

What is a laminated shower, bathtub and bathroom wall panel? Where are they made?

Laminated wall panels are 2’ x 8’ x 3/8” thick units which click, lock and seal together in a 100% waterproof system. A high-pressure laminate surface is applied onto a marine grade plywood with a moisture backing. They’ve been used in European bathrooms (and manufactured from Norwegian wood – yes, the same Norwegian wood talked about in the Beatles song back in the day) and wet rooms for 25 years. They’re used in place of tile, but give the real look of tile, while eliminating the grout joint.

What is laminated shower panels guy holding panel | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateWallPanels #BathroomWallPanels #EasytoInstallpanels

While they’re not a new technology internationally (in Norway, these panels make up over 1/3 of wall coverings in bathrooms), they’ve only been in the U.S. for one year. U.S. contractors, builders and developers are asking, “Why should we use a laminate covered wall system when tile is ‘tried and true’ way of doing things? It’s the ways things have always been done.”

What is laminated shower panel Cross section view | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateWallPanels #BathroomWallPanels #DIYShowerPanels

In this article, I’ll dig further into this question and see why David has found it makes sense to chuck the ‘old-school’ tile method and embrace a new solution (laminate bathroom panels).

5 Powerful Reasons David eliminated tile and uses laminate flooring and laminate wall panels in his homes

The case for laminate flooring is not hard to understand. After all, you’ve seen click and lock flooring systems before. You know it’s hard to tell a laminate floor from the ‘real thing.’ You know how quick they install. You know they’re cost-effective.

However, the idea of a laminated shower or bathroom wall system (which is a laminated covered wall covering over a marine grade plywood with a moisture backing) may seem kind of (or more than kind of) crazy. Using a wood based product in a wet space goes against everything you learned in shop class. It goes against what the Job Superintendent who mentored you back-in-the day when you started this crazy career (and had more hair and NONE of it was gray!). He said, “Don’t use any wood backed products in a bathroom.”  

You may be asking, has David lost his marbles??? Why is he using a laminate over a marine-grade plywood product for shower walls vs. ceramic tile?

Below you’ll learn 5 reasons David shared with me why it’s not only a smart idea to chuck the tile but is critical if you have a hope and prayer of keeping your jobs on schedule and delivering a nicer quality, lower maintenance finished product.

Reason #1 to eliminate tile in your bathrooms – Evil, evil, evil cracking grout joints

When I was talking to David, he said to me, “Mike, Florida isn’t like Maine. Our homes (whether they cost $200,000 or $5,000,000) have the same problem. They’re built on sand (not rock). Sand shifts. This causes homes to move. This causes joints to crack. Anything I can do to eliminate call-backs for our business, or grout problems after the warranty ends for my customers, is a win.”

Even as a bathroom remodeling contractor in Cleveland Ohio (who doesn’t live in a warm, sunny, sandy area like Florida – although in the Winter I wish I did!) I know 3 things about tile.

#1) People LOVE tile.

#2) People HATE (detest, despise) grout joints.

#3) Tile, because of grout maintenance, can be a pain in the rear.

If you can get the look of tile, without the joint this is a winning formula, not only for new home building or remodeling businesses, but also (most importantly) for the customer who’ll live in the home for years to come.

Laminated wall panels (which look just like tile) are the answer. David’s customers are loving the look and enjoy throwing out their tile scrub brushes!

Laminate shower wall kit with a tile look recessed niche | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateShowers #WallPanelsKit #BathroomWallPanels

Reason #2 to eliminate tile in your bathrooms – You’re asking, “Where did all the good tile subcontractors go?”

David said to me the same thing I’m hearing from builders and contractors from coast to coast. They’re asking, ‘Where the heck did all the good tile guys go (sorry ladies to be sexist, but most still say guys)?”

The answer is – away from our industry. Like my oldest son who recently finished college (only 2 more kids in college to go – Thank God!), they’re not entering ‘the trades.’ They’re in ‘sexier’ industries like IT (my son Grant is in I.T.).

Finding good subs is a needle in a haystack.

Using a bathroom wall panel system which can be installed by a carpentry crew because it simply clicks, locks and seals together is easier than finding an experienced, high-quality and available tile sub.  

A laminated wall panel being installed click and lock system | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateWallPanels #ShowerWallPanels #BathroomWallPanels #ClickTogetherPanels

Reason #3 to eliminate tile in your bathrooms – You’ve got to add value without increasing prices

As David said to me, “Mike, I’m in the affordable home business. Sure, I also need to be a marketing and finance company who knows how to help people buy homes they can afford, but it’s about more than that. I’ve got to add value. My homes have to be sharper than the competitor’s down the street. If they aren’t, I might not get the sale even with a good financing program!”

If you’re a production builder, a developer of apartments, a remodeler or a real estate investor you know you’ve got to add value to get customers or tenants and win the business.

With these wall panels David’s offering his customers a sharp look, at an affordable price. And after all, isn’t that what innovative builders and remodelers should be about?

Low cost laminated bathroom wall panels with accent trim | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateBathroomWallPanels #BathTubSurround #BathroomRemodeliing

Reason #4 to eliminate tile in your bathrooms – Reduce time to build a bathroom

I enjoyed talking to David because he’s a straight-shooter (note – this is one of the things I personally love about construction. More people tell it like it is vs. having B.S. jargon-filled conversations about nothing).

When explaining his affordable housing product David said, “Mike, I’m the old Ford Motor Company of the construction industry. I build one floor plan with 3 elevations. I build affordable homes. I need it to be built timely and efficiently. That’s why I love these panels. I’ve been able to cut the time of a bathroom tile job from a 2 to 3-day process to hanging these wall panels in an alcove in 4 hours!”

Elevation view My Home Town Builders home Orlando Florida | Innovate Building Solutions | #ElevationHomes #FloridaHome #BeautifulHomes

Whether you’re a production builder (like David) a custom remodeler, or a rehabber of investment properties nobody (homeowners included) want a job which takes a long time. Your customers (no matter how much you THINK they like you) want you the heck out of their hair ASAP.

Laminated shower wall panels (and the laminated flooring) are two products David is using to cut the cycle time and get out quicker.  

Tile pattern laminate shower panel installed direct to stud | Innovate Building Solutions | #TilePattern #BathroomWallPanels #LaminateWallPanels

Reason #5 to eliminate tile in your bathrooms – Because mold and mildew are nobody’s best ‘fre

For those of you who read articles on my older blog, News from the Block, you know I’m a fan of the movie Scarface and love it when gangster Tony Montana blurts out, “Say hello to my little ‘fre.” Of course, Tony’s ‘fre (‘er that would be friend to you and me) is the shotgun he’s using to ‘take a few people out.’

When you think of bathrooms one thing which is NO ONE’s little ‘fre (from the original home builder, the home owner or a custom remodeler) is mold and mildew which grows in tile grout joints.

Sure, you can try to use better (chemistry-set-oriented) epoxy grout, or waterproof wall backer board systems to keep mold and mildew away. However, with tile ALL these products add time and expense.

If you want to blow up the worries about mold and mildew, waterproof wall panels stop the problem before it has a chance to get through the grout joint and to the back door (‘er that would be backer board) of your ceramic tile system. There is no grout joint to mess you (or your customer down the road) up.  

As David said to me, “Mike, our company has been grown by building a ‘better mousetrap.’ Laminated wall panels stop mold and mildew before my owners, or my company has to worry about them.”


Now that you’ve heard the reasons David Profenno of My Home Town Builders is  excited about blowing up grout joints (and ceramic tile) in his production home bathrooms with laminate wall panels do you think he’s crazy anymore?

If this is a product you’d like to learn more about for your production home building, custom remodeling, or multi-tenant apartment building, call me or my team at the number below.

Better yet, if you want to become a shower wall panel dealer call and ask for Mike. Yes, I’m the wacky construction guy whose spinning out a lot of articles and still passionately learning and growing in fast-paced construction world you and I live in! Check out the links and phone numbers below.


Call 877-668-5888 and ask for Mike. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and helping our businesses grow.  

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn, you’ll find me https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikefoti/

If you’re into Twitter follow me @Mike_Foti or my companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.