Installation of PVC panels: installation guide

If, while tidying up the apartment, there was a desire to move away from the usual wallpaper and not mess with ceramic tiles, then you can turn your attention to decorating the walls with plastic PVC panels. Installation of such a coating is very simple, you can do it yourself, without contacting professionals. Moreover, this material will perfectly fit into the interior of the living room, corridor, bathroom, and even a balcony..


PVC is polyvinyl chloride, in a simple way, a kind of plastic. Panels made of this material are especially popular, since they are not afraid of moisture and do not rot, they are quickly mounted, they do not change under the influence of ultraviolet rays, they retain a decent appearance for a long time and, when using a frame, create additional sound insulation. Finally, they are relatively cheap..

Installation of PVC plastic panels always begins with the preparatory stage.. First, the material is selected and bought in compliance with several important points. While in the store, you need to inspect the panel cut. If there are thick layers, both external and internal, and a thick lintel, then the finish will be reliable. Panel thickness can also be determined by weight – the heavier the panel, the thicker it is. The uniformity of the plastic is then examined. The entire sheet must have a uniform thickness without being too thick or too narrow – this is a guarantee of good quality.

When a brand and manufacturer is chosen (it is better to pay attention to European firms), then you also need to calculate how much material is needed. Otherwise, unused fragments will remain (and will be overpaid), or, on the contrary, there will not be enough material and you will have to urgently buy it in the store (unnecessary time will be spent). PVC panels are placed either vertically or horizontally. In the first case, you need to measure the length of the room around the perimeter, then subtract the width of doors and windows from this figure and divide the remainder by the width of one panel. You will get the number of elements needed to repair the premises. It is better to add a couple of units to this figure in case of unforeseen situations..

If the panels are placed horizontally, then the first step is to calculate the area of ​​the room.. Next, the area of ​​doors and window openings is subtracted from this figure. Finally, the resulting number is divided by the area of ​​one panel (usually this figure is indicated on the packaging by the manufacturer). 10% is also added in case of unforeseen situations. If the sheets are mounted horizontally, then you should be prepared that the material will have to be cut, which means that there will be scraps.

Once you get rid of the packaging, you can get a good look at the edges and individual cells.. The panels should not show any dents or damage. The more complex the image, the more important it is to study the quality of its application – blurred fragments and uneven coverage should cause vigilance. Also, if you have to purchase several packs of sheets that must match in color, it is reasonable to unpack and check if the shades converge. Finally, the material should be tested right in the store. One sheet is folded about 30% and then unbend. If there is no damage, then everything is in order with the purchase..

Having acquired the material, it is necessary to prepare the walls. The first step is to remove old paint, tiles, wallpaper and layers of old finishes. Then the surface is leveled with plaster. In addition, it would be a good idea to try to repair the existing grooves or eliminate protruding elements. Having finished with the leveling of the wall, you can proceed to the primer. It is recommended to choose a composition with additives against mold and mildew. While the primer dries, you can start assembling the sheathing, and also bring the panels into the room – they need to stay inside for about 12 hours to adapt to existing conditions.

The elements of the lathing should be located perpendicular to the plastic sheets. This means that if the sheathing runs horizontally, the panels will run vertically and vice versa. The distance between the battens of the crate should be from 30 to 50 centimeters, the first figure is still optimal. The planks are to be fixed near window openings, near doorways, as well as at the beginning and end of the wall.

The lathing is most often attached to the dowels. The length for a concrete wall is 40 millimeters, and a brick wall is 60 millimeters. The distance between the dowels varies from 50 to 60 centimeters. In order for the PVC panels to be evenly laid as a result, the crate must also be in the same plane. To do this, you can use pieces of plywood or wooden spacers, pre-treated with an anti-fungal compound..

In the event that a plastic crate is selected, it is necessary to observe the perpendicularity with respect to the plastic sheets themselves even more carefully, otherwise the fastening mechanism will not work.

Material selection

Plastic panels are made from a polymer called polyvinyl chloride. Being in a semi-liquid state, this material is laid out in a prepared form, and then a picture is placed on it. Most often, the image is printed on a film that is glued to the panel and laminated. Sometimes an illustration has a certain texture, but unusual designs and decorative elements come at a premium. Another possibility to fix the image on the panel is to draw it directly on the plastic and fix it with a double layer of varnish. This technology, like the resulting product, is much cheaper, but the quality of the picture and its lifespan suffer..

Plastic panels are most often chosen either on the wall or on the ceiling. The thickness of the ceiling reaches 5 millimeters, and the wall thickness varies from 8 to 10 millimeters. The partitions connecting the two layers of plastic are also approximately different – they are slightly thicker in the wall panels. To determine which surface a particular sample is suitable for repairing, just look at the cut. Plastic panels have smooth surfaces, so if you dock correctly, the seams will practically not be noticeable.

In addition, plastic panels are good because they can be used in so-called cramped conditions. They are suitable for decorating niches, door frames, slopes and other places in the apartment, in which it is not very convenient to work with standard materials. For example, using a PVC panel, you can sheathe a window.

The material is easily combined with ventilation holes, sockets, switches and other “prominent” wall elements. The latter are not striking and are harmoniously combined with the panels. PVC is also suitable for decorating “complex” rooms, for example, a concrete wall on an insulated balcony. It is worth mentioning that the sheets can be attached to concrete, drywall, wood, and other bases..

There are several standard sizes of plastic wall panels. The width of the trim is either 25 or 37 centimeters, and the length is 2700 and 3000 centimeters, respectively. These numbers are the most common, but you can always order sheets with non-standard parameters. The range of prices is determined by the country and the manufacturing company, the presence and difficulties with the pattern, wall thickness, printing specifics and other parameters.

There is a type of plastic panel called plastic clapboard.. It allows you to create a relief on the walls that resembles a wooden lining. For such a material, the thickness of the panel is 10 millimeters, the width is 10 centimeters, and shaped edges are available..

Relatively recently, such a variety of PVC panels as thin wall panels has appeared on the market. Its thickness is only 3 millimeters, and the distinguishing feature is the absence of cells. The main advantage of this finishing material is that it cannot be pushed through, unlike standard models. Such panels are mounted only with glue. The material is easily cut with scissors and after installation saves space in the room.

PVC plastic panels are good for almost everyone, but giving preference to them, you should be prepared for some unpleasant moments. First, the material is quite flammable. Although it is unlikely to catch fire by itself, when exposed to fire, it will nevertheless begin to release toxic substances and support the process itself. The panels do not breathe at all – ventilation through the walls will be completely blocked. Therefore, PVC is not recommended to be installed in bedrooms and nurseries. Insects can settle in the voids formed by two layers of plastic. This problem is especially acute for residents of areas with a warm climate. Finally, the panels require high-quality preparation of the wall for further installation..

What can be attached?

As for the question of how to fix the panels to the crate, it is better to avoid nails that can damage the material. The best way of fastening is with clips, but staples driven in with a stapler and self-tapping screws are also good. If it is decided to glue the panels (which is possible only with perfect alignment and priming of the walls), then preference is given to liquid nails, Moment-Montage glue and other varieties. If the panels are installed in the bathroom, then only waterproof, non-toxic products should be used..

Required tools

Since the installation of PVC panels is easy to do with your own hands, you will not need any specific tools for this..

There are several common items to prepare:

  • A drill with drills and a crown for wood (the first will be needed to install the dowels, and the second – to drill holes for switches, lamps, sockets and other parts).
  • What will be the fastening of the sheets themselves. It can be glue (liquid nails or the universal “Moment-montage” are considered optimal), a screwdriver or a screwdriver;
  • Panel saw.
  • Building level.
  • Knife to adjust the parameters of the panels.

Of course, it is also worth purchasing a starting strip (to close the ends of the sheets or to arrange the joints with door and window openings), corners for hiding joints in the inner corners of the room and other moldings, a sealant for finishing the seams, a molding connector for combining the short sides of the panels in case of a shortage of the length of one panel to cover the ceiling space, a universal edging for decorating the perimeter and other details.

The lathing can be made of wood, metal or plastic. The wooden structure is assembled from pieces measuring 40 by 20 millimeters. The material should be treated with an antiseptic solution and, if necessary, against mold. Fastening of panels and wooden lathing is carried out by using special screws, nails with large heads or staples.

Metal lathing is not always convenient to use, as it takes up a sufficient amount of space. Each wall will lose approximately 5 centimeters, which in the case of a small room may even be critical. However, if it is nevertheless decided to use this type, then the fastening will be carried out using self-tapping screws for metal. It is also worth keeping in mind that if the crate is placed in a room with excessive humidity, the metal must be galvanized..

Plastic crate designed exclusively for plastic panels. Its components are mounting strips and mounting clips that snap together. If necessary, this structure can be quickly dismantled. In addition, it takes up little space – the walls will lose only 1 centimeter.

Of the three types of battens, the most convenient is plastic, which can be used almost everywhere, followed by galvanized metal. The most careful thing to do is to be with a wooden crate and not to risk installing it in rooms with high humidity, such as a bathroom. In any case, it must be treated with a protective solution..

Installation instructions

When the lathing is complete, you can move on to the next task. Wall decoration with PVC panels begins with processing one of the corners. Above and below it is necessary to install auxiliary moldings and attach them to the crate with the help of fasteners combined with it. With the help of this, it will be possible to create a kind of frame, which will have to be filled with the plastic sheets themselves. The first panel will need to be joined along the length of the wall, so it is cut with a special saw. In the process, you cannot rely heavily on the material, but you need to cut it exclusively from the front side. In order for the element to fit into the frame, you will need to measure its length, subtract 4 or 5 millimeters, and then cut.

The finished panel is stripped of the protruding “edge”, and then placed in the corner molding, tucking the edges. The bar is driven all the way, then the vertical is checked using a level, after which the panel is fixed on the crate. The mechanism is repeated several times up to the final panel on the wall. It will have to be shortened in width, and then docked simultaneously with the previous plate and with the corner molding. If this cannot be done accurately, you will have to postpone securing the corner profile. First, you will need to put it on the last panel, dock with the previous one, and then fix it on the crate. If you don’t want to work with the corner molding, you can use a knife to cut a strip of plastic and bend the panel as needed.

It is also important not to forget that the material can change with changes in temperature, therefore, during the “fitting” of the panels, you should always leave a small gap. In addition, if the lathing was made of wood and wide bars were used for it, then something can be placed in the resulting space between the wall and the panels. For example, it can be heat-insulating or sound-insulating material..

When the wall after preparation turns out to be absolutely leveled, then the crate can be abandoned – it will not bring any benefit, but it will “steal” the required square meters. In this situation, plastic panels are glued to silicone or polyurethane foam. Even in the store, you should carefully study the composition of the glue you buy – whether it contains substances that destroy plastic elements. The starting profiles are mounted on dowels, the sheets are covered with foam or silicone, the bar is inserted into the profiles, pressed and fixed with fasteners. Everything needs to be installed correctly quickly, because it will only take a couple of minutes to fix the flaws, and then the glue will harden.

Separately, it is worth mentioning the lining with plastic ceiling panels. Before installation, you need to find out what is the required distance between the ceiling and the panels – this value depends on the type of selected luminaires. If they are built-in pointwise, then the distance should be from 10 to 15 centimeters – this way it will be possible to disguise the wiring and get to it without problems if something needs to be fixed. The places where the luminaires will be placed are marked while the panels are still “on the ground”. The holes are drawn with a pencil, then cut out, and the plinths of the lighting devices are installed. Further, all actions correspond to those for wall cladding. It can be added that when working in rooms with high humidity, the distance between the panels and the ceiling itself can be filled with silicone sealant. It will contribute to complete waterproofness.

Installation always ends with the installation of decorative elements that give the structure a complete look. These include skirting boards and corners. At the last stage, all joints and seams are treated with a sealant..

It can be concluded that laying wall panels with your own hands is quite possible without unnecessary costs and physical effort.. You just need to follow the instructions and use the helpful advice of professionals. For example, when cutting and drilling panels, you should always wear protective equipment to avoid damaging your eyes. When working with nails, you need to be extremely careful, otherwise dents will remain on the surface that cannot be fixed in any way. It is recommended to clean PVC panels with a “mild” soap-based solution. Do not use harsh sponges and strong products like solvent based.

PVC panels are advised to be installed in living rooms, corridors, bathrooms and balconies, but for bedrooms, both adults and children, it is better to find more “breathable” materials. Alternatively, install the panels only on a small section of the wall. It is definitely not recommended to purchase this material for the kitchen. Grease, dirt and other substances will begin to permanently settle on surfaces, which will become a favorable environment for the appearance of bacteria. It is best to purchase plastic that does not create seams for rooms with air conditioning or forced ventilation..

Beautiful design ideas

Plastic panels fit perfectly into the design of any room in the house, allowing you to create a harmonious and attractive interior.

Decorating the walls and ceiling of the bathroom with a wood-like finish will add coziness and natural atmosphere to the room. Items made of stone and natural wood will complement the interior as a decor, as well as a wooden cabinet in which the sink will be placed..

Marbled panels give the room a light and airy feeling. They blend perfectly with glass surfaces and require natural light.

The design of the hallway in the classic style requires panels “dark wood”. This choice is simple and calm and does not require a lot of interior accessories. You can limit yourself to spotlights, a couple of table lamps and an elegant chest of drawers.

In the case when the room has high ceilings, it is proposed to design the corridor by combining wallpaper and wall panels. Above will be placed wallpaper of a light shade, and below – panels in harmony with them. The junction will need to be decorated with molding.

Fans of pretentiousness, pomp and original designs will love the combination of panels with frescoes. Alternatively, two or three walls are sheathed with panels, and the fourth one contains a fresco that fits into the overall design of the room. In this case, you need to be extremely careful with an excess of other accessories and pieces of furniture..

The use of white or neutral panels on the loggia will refine the space and make it a “clean sheet” for an abundance of various colors and bright accessories.

The use of light-colored wall panels and a matching light floor in the dining room requires contrasting, distinctive pieces of furniture and good lighting..

Plastic panels can be used not only in residential premises, but also, for example, in a bath. Decorating the rest room with sheets of light shades will create a relaxing atmosphere necessary after taking water procedures.

For installation instructions for PVC panels, see the following video.

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