Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Plastic Wall Tile

While I was working on replacing the tub surround in my bathroom back in September, I discovered the imprint from the back of the wall tile was still on the wall on the old adhesive that was never removed.  I learned that my house originally had plastic wall tile in the bathroom, with the name "Monarch" on them.  I know from previous residents of my house that these tiles were pink to match the fixtures.  Since making this discovery, I have been searching, but have yet to find a company which is still manufacturing this tile in the US.  I have, however, found a company that makes plastic wall tile panels, unfortunately they are located in the UK, and I have no idea if they ship internationally.

Even though the tiles come in panels, they look like individual tiles.  Much like installing sheets of mosaic ceramic tile.  The price on them seems reasonable enough, once you convert from pounds to dollars, the price is in the $14.75 to $19.66 range, at today's exchange rate.  They come in either 4 or 6 sheets of tile per pack.

The company name is Neken and you can view their website here.  The following is an excerpt from their website:

"Fabriform Neken was founded in 1959 and the family business has been making their Unique Insulating Plastic Wall Tile Panel since 1964!

The tiles were first developed to answer the problems of walls running with condensation and they are still wholly manufactured in the UK.

With new metallic shades for the tiles and contemporary designs for the transfers and Tex Tiles the range has developed with each passing year to reflect fashions and consumers ideas.

Neken Tiles offer distinct advantages over traditional ceramic tiling for the DIY enthusiast. They are lightweight yet very durable, flexible and easy to cut with a pair of scissors or a sharp knife. The insulating back dramatically reduces condensation on the tiled surface and is always warm to the touch."

Here are some of their products, looks like they offer some colors that would be great for a mid-century bathroom.  I am especially fond of the marble patterned tile, and the pink shade looks perfect for that pink bathroom you might want to recreate.


Does anybody know of an American source for plastic wall tile?


  1. I have (painted over) pink & black plastic tile in my bathroom, as well. I'm trying to restore it, but removing the paint hasn't been very successful,thus far.

    We have a salvage/re-use shop where I live that has TONS of plastic tiles, for about 10cents/pc; as well as many other vintage treasures. If you have one of those where you live, I'm sure it will be full of tiles.
    Good Luck!

  2. I seem to remember Pam having some info on plastic tile makers on her RetroReno blog... I'll see if I can find it and report back.


  3. Well, no luck finding a current maker of plastic tiles on Pam's blog. But she did have a post about buying 100s.f. of them on eBay, and on that post was a comment from Ronn Ives of FutureAntiques that he had several boxes of them in stock, in original vintage colors. This was in April of last year, but it might be worth contacting Ronn (futuresantiques.com) to see if he still has them. He keeps a pretty massive inventory.

    Pam's original post here:

  4. My aunt had these in Her house she recently bought! they were pink with a black tile edge. I was going to take the out to use in my 1943 lake house, but before i could get over there she nocked them off, sent them to the dump and re painted! What a loss! her bathroom was 10x 14 :(

  5. Michael -- great sleuthing, again. I have not found a source for plastic tile in the U.S. There IS someone who makes metal tiles.

    I agree with others here, who mention that this stuff can be found at Re-Stores and the like.

    Personally, I am not too fond of the stuff for bathrooms because it will rot through if you use it in the shower/tub surround. However - I did buy 100 s.f. to install as my kitchen backsplash. A project that is still not done.

    One other thing I will mention is that occasionally we see "rolls" of vinyl that have a tile-like imprint. Kind of like what you found in the U.K. This was made by companies like Armstrong going way way back, and was often used for both kitchen and bathroom half-walls.

  6. P.S. I am going to "borrow" this find for my blog, too, at some point in the near future. You'll get full credit, of course! :)


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