10 Reasons to Choose Symmetrix FRP Over Ceramic Tile for Commercial Builds

Marlite Symmetrix Grocery Store Application

Marlite® Symmetrix™ delivers design and construction freedom tile can’t match.

No one can deny ceramic tile’s visual charm. A building material that’s more than 4,000 years old, ceramic tile has graced spaces of all kinds for centuries. 

But its fragility, installation complexities, and maintenance demands are increasingly at odds with the evolving priorities of modern commercial design and construction. The brittle, porous nature of this iconic interior finish demands extensive surface preparation and cautious, time-consuming installation by an experienced contractor. Meanwhile, the grout lines that define tile’s look also necessitate meticulous lifelong maintenance to retain visual appeal.

The solution lies in an innovative product engineered precisely to deliver ceramic tile’s aesthetic appeal without the many drawbacks. Marlite Symmetrix™ SmartSeam fiberglass-reinforced panels (FRP) provide a revolutionary advancement for commercial wall coverings. Imitating the look of ceramic tile with incredible realism, Symmetrix transcends tile constraints through ultra-durable, tile-looking panels that install rapidly without the need for tedious prep or special tools or skills.

In short, Symmetrix covers anything, can be anything, and can stand up to anything.

Capable of creating any tile aesthetic – including ceramic tile that looks like wood, stone, marble, and more- Marlite is making the limitations of ceramic wall tiles a thing of the past. Across benchmarks ranging from design options to cost-efficiency, long-term durability, and everything in between, Symmetrix consistently outperforms tile.

The differences become clear when examining key criteria side-by-side. Here are 10 reasons to choose Symmetrix over ceramic wall tile for any commercial building or renovation project.

1: Value-engineered Excellence

Slash material, equipment, preparation, and labor expenses associated with ceramic tiles.

When it comes to beautiful and functional interior commercial walls, Marlite Symmetrix exemplifies value-engineered excellence, delivering all the beauty of ceramic tile on the wall at a fraction of the cost. Savings include:

  • Significantly lower material outlay. Our seamless panels provide both basic and intricate ceramic tile design options, combining the visual sophistication of tile with the cost-efficiency of FRP.
  • Experienced contractors not required. Specialized labor accounts for much of the cost associated with ceramic wall tile projects. Installing Symmetrix, on the other hand, requires no special training, and our modular panels go up rapidly without meticulous placement demands.
  • Quick, easy wall preparation. Tile requires intensive surface work like removing old finishes, smoothing, setting cement backerboards, calculating layouts, and more. With Symmetrix, minor patching and cleaning prior to adhesive application cuts prep costs significantly.
  • Skip equipment rentals. Dedicated tools for cutting tiles and mixing mortar and grout can rack up expenditures quickly. Symmetrix eliminates these supplementary costs.

When all factors are combined—from product to labor to preparations—Symmetrix provides compelling cost reductions averaging 50-85% over ceramic wall tiles, allowing you to create stunning, ambitious commercial interiors without going over budget.

Elevate your projects with Marlite Symmetrix! Download our technical brief, Marlite® Symmetrix™ vs. Ceramic Tile: A Comprehensive Cost and Time Analysis, and get the information you need to convincingly specify Symmetrix for your next commercial build or renovation.

2: Endless Design Options

From basic to bold, Symmetrix offers more creative design possibilities than ceramic tile.

With traditional ceramic wall tiles, intricacy is achievable, but not without a significant investment in time, materials, and labor. Even basic ceramic tile designs require meticulous placement. Sophisticated patterns and nature’s most desirable looks require careful calculation and expert installation.

In contrast, Symmetrix FRP seamless panels replicate ceramic finishes, including those with nature-inspired aesthetics, without any of the complications of installing ceramic tile on the wall. The beauty of this innovative product is its simplicity paired with endless versatility. Whether your commercial interior requires a dramatic, high-end style or quintessential ceramic subway tile, Symmetrix offers complete creative freedom, placing even the most stunning commercial interior design within reach for virtually any budget. 

Symmetrix wall-tile options include today’s most popular aesthetics, including:

  • Classic white ceramic tile and custom colors
  • In-demand stone-look, marble-look, and wood-look ceramic tile (plus more!)
  • Universal, complex, and custom patterns 
  • Square tile configurations up to 16×16, including 4×4 ceramic tile and 12×12 ceramic tile looks
  • Subway horizontal and vertical tile configurations up to 12×24

3: Accelerated Construction Schedules

Save weeks with Symmetrix compared to complicated tile installation.

Construction schedules directly impact the bottom line. With traditional ceramic wall tile, you must account for meticulous installation—including careful layout calculations, intricate tile placement, and curing steps. With Symmetrix, you can speed up a project’s overall timeline, giving businesses the opportunity to start or resume operations faster than expected.

Symmetrix’s modular panels go up rapidly, and their seamless one-piece design means faster wall coverage. Plus, the adhesive dries quicker, in some cases allowing trim and caulking to be completed the same day, and there’s no need for a lengthy tile cleaning and sealing afterwards.

4: Spotless Walls With No Demo

Conceal flawed walls (even old, damaged ceramic tile) with Symmetrix.

Symmetrix is the ideal solution for seamlessly covering a wide range of commercial wall imperfections. Old, damaged ceramic tile? No worries. Weathered drywall? It can handle that. Dated wood paneling? An simple fix. Seamless Symmetrix panels, install quickly and easily, provide a smooth and continuous surface that expertly masks any wall irregularities.

Symmetrix excels in rejuvenating spaces burdened by old, ugly, outdated tiles—eliminating the need for painstaking removal and replacement. It’s the ultimate solution for transforming the aesthetic of a space while effortlessly concealing the history beneath. When faced with damaged ceramic tiles, Symmetrix steps in as the perfect cover-up. Its panels not only hide cracks, chips, or imperfections but also provide the consistent, polished appearance of brand-new ceramic wall tile.

Get a fresh canvas without the need for any extensive repairs. Symmetrix goes beyond conventional wall panels on a multitude of other surfaces, covering weathered drywall, old wood paneling, outdated wallpaper, worn-out laminate, and various other substrates, providing a sleek and modern finish that quickly revitalizes any commercial interior space.

5: Crack-proof Durability

Symmetrix minimizes future repairs, maximizes interior-wall lifespan.

The durability of Symmetrix stands as a testament to our engineering and nearly a century of wall-panel manufacturing experience. With a fiberglass core that delivers serious impact resistance, Symmetrix is a formidable choice in spaces where endurance is critical. Unlike ceramic wall tiles, where grout lines frequently crack over time, Symmetrix’s innovative design eliminates this vulnerability, ensuring a resilient, crack-resistant surface that withstands the challenges of high-traffic areas and frequent impacts.

This inherent toughness not only enhances the longevity of the panels, but also minimizes the need for constant repairs or replacements, making Symmetrix a reliable and low-maintenance solution for any interior commercial space.

6: Effortless Maintenance and Sanitizing

Symmetrix eliminates grout-stain headaches of ceramic wall tile.

Experience a maintenance revolution with Symmetrix, where resistance to stains, mold, and mildew meets the transformative power of the Marlite Sani-coat Sealer, making the entire surface a breeze to clean and sanitize. This practicality, especially critical in healthcare, education, and food service areas, outshines traditional ceramic tile on the wall and its many grout headaches.

Unlike ceramic tiles, Symmetrix resists stains effortlessly, ensuring spills and daily wear-and-tear leave no lasting mark. While ceramic tile grout lines require consistent maintenance and sealing (and, over the years, become discolored anyway), Symmetrix’s smooth surface and tough Sani-coat Sealer simplifies cleaning and is a reliable defender of against stains, mold, and mildew. Repelling these common commercial-space culprits, Symmetrix outperforms ceramic wall tile and its many grout-related problems, creating a hygienic environment without the upkeep headaches.

7: The Sustainable Solution

Symmetrix means waste reduction, indoor air quality, and a fresh approach to renovations.

Symmetrix also emerges as a practical, sustainable solution, aligning seamlessly with contemporary environmental considerations and streamlining the renovation or remodeling process. Its standout advantage: Symmetrix FRP wall panels effortlessly cover virtually any surface. This not only eliminates the need for labor-intensive and costly demolition but also significantly reduces the waste typically sent to landfills.

In addition to its waste-reducing properties, Symmetrix holds the esteemed UL GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This certification underscores Symmetrix’s commitment to maintaining indoor air quality while simultaneously providing an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable environment. By adhering to rigorous standards for low chemical emissions and contributing to healthier indoor spaces, Symmetrix goes beyond aesthetics, offering a comprehensive solution that addresses both environmental impact and occupant well-being.

8: Today’s Solution, Tomorrow’s Investment

Get forward-thinking flexibility for evolving commercial interiors with Symmetrix.

Symmetrix is both an ideal solution for today and a forward-thinking investment for tomorrow. Many commercial spaces demand regular updates due to, among many things, evolving brand requirements, changing design trends, and the need for technology integration. Symmetrix—easily installed, replaced, or reconfigured without the need for labor-intensive and expensive demolition processes—will prove a strategic choice, ensuring that future renovations are not only simple but also cost-effective.

Tile-looking Symmetrix combines beauty, sustainability, and economy for every business or organization, particularly those requiring regular updates to interior spaces. Symmetrix streamlines the process of adapting to your ever-changing commercial needs.

9: Lighten the Load

Finally, ceramic-tile style for mobile and modular applications.

For modular and mobile units, excessive weight hinders functionality and transportability. That’s why traditional ceramic wall tile has never been a viable aesthetic option—until now.

Symmetrix FRP panels achieve durable, ceramic-inspired finishes without cumbersome heaviness. The lightweight sheets are up to five times lighter than tile, and their slimmed-down profile makes Symmetrix ideal for any application where each pound impacts mobility and fuel efficiency. Now makers of mobile and modular units can implement beautiful, tile-looking panels that provide stain-resistant surfaces and withstand wear and tear without weighing their products down.

10: Your Ambitious Visions, Our Ample Resources

At Marlite, we transform visions into reality, regardless of project scale or complexity.

With Marlite’s extensive manufacturing capacity, we can meet the diverse needs of any project, regardless of size or complexity. With infrastructure in place, we are ready to partner with you and tackle projects of any scale, ensuring your vision—no matter how ambitious—is supported with ample resources. Whether it’s a large-scale commercial development, a complex architectural endeavor, or a comprehensive interior design project, we will deliver Symmetrix with precision and efficiency.

Make a Strategic Choice that Transcends Tile’s Limitations

The verdict is clear: Marlite Symmetrix is the new wallcovering paradigm and a strategic choice for commercial construction and design, now and in the future. The limitations associated with traditional ceramic tile are limitations no more. Our revolutionary wall panels solution deliver over ceramic tile in every way that matters—from aesthetics to installation ease and long-term durability and flexibility to cost savings.

With the power to realize any commercial interior imaginable through unlimited design flexibility, fast and easy assembly, and strong, lightweight construction, Symmetrix represents a new era for commercial builds and renovations in any application. Our seamless, tile-looking FRP wall panels champion both excellence and efficiency.

The time for Symmetrix is now. Contact Marlite today to discover how our innovative FRP panels can make your next commercial project achieve the extraordinary on time and on budget.

Get the data you need to specify Symmetrix! Download our technical brief, Marlite® Symmetrix™ vs. Ceramic Tile: A Comprehensive Cost and Time Analysis.

Symmetrix above the beverage cooler

White PVC Trim

Length – 8′ and 10′ Material – Extruded PVC with integral color

Inside Corner M350​
Outside Corner M360
Edge M370​
135° Inside Corner V177
135° Outside Corner V179

Anodized Aluminum Trim

Satin Anodized, Bright Anodized or Black Satin Anodized aluminum trim molding for use with any FRP finish.

Inside Corner A551
Outside Corner A560
Edge A570

Harmonizing Aluminum Trim

Durable painted aluminum trim molding harmonizes with any FRP finish.

Inside Corner A551
Outside Corner A560​
Division A565
Edge A570

Designer Aluminum Trim

Available in Clear Satin Anodized or Harmonizing Color

Ribbed A566
Radius A567
Square Channel A568

Quick Specs

  1. Substrate: Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP)
  2. Fire Rating: Class III/C and I/A
  3. Panel dimensions: 4’x8’x3/32” & 4’x10’x3/32″ (nominal)
  4. Meets USDA/FSIS Requirements.
  5. Wipes clean with easily with standard cleaning solutions.
  6. Costs less than most tile, laminate, and natural materials.
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Artizan FRP

Submittal Info
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CSI Document

Installation & Care
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FRP Installation Instructions

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Cleaning Instructions for FRP 2020