At DK Shower Pans, even though we do not install bathroom tile, we’re often asked what types of shower wall and floor tile options are best for a bathroom remodel. Although we’re often called upon to waterproof the shower floor and walls to prepare for the installation of tile, we do not claim to know which options are best. However, we know enough to tell you which types of materials are commonly used in the bathroom to achieve a more modern look. With that being said, here are four different types of shower materials to consider when choosing your shower wall and floor coverings.
Designing the look you are trying to create for your bathroom area is a matter of personal preference. Ribbons and liners, inserts, murals, glass, are but a few of the details you can add to make your shower your own. But, with more detail comes more costs, both in labor and in materials. So, before you begin choosing the materials for the new look of your bathroom, it is important to check that all the different pieces you plan on using are compatible. For example, the thickness of different shower tiles may be different when transitioning from shower wall to shower floor. So be sure to take the time to lay out the design and application before purchasing your materials.
Marble or granite slabs or tiles, porcelain or ceramic tiles, other stone products including travertine, glass tiles, metal edge trimming…lots to choose from! Staying within a budget will determine how far you wish to go. We will list the characteristics of some of the products you can choose from.
The costliest and in most need of maintenance on the list. Labor intensive and high material cost place them in the high budget category for the lifetime of the install. Lighter colored stones can have the tendency to stain easily, and caution should be used with any product that is to be used in the shower and all should be cleaned with specialty products designed for the nature of the product.
The most common of the products used in shower installations. Porcelain being the more expensive of the two. Porcelains are more durable, practically waterproof and easy to clean. Porcelains being harder and denser tend to have a finer finish and offer more detailed patterns and textures. Some if not all porcelains should be installed with a thinset that is made for their application. Ceramics are cheaper in cost and are less durable, susceptible to staining in some cases, both have a wide variety of patterns, sizes, and price ranges to pick from.
Manufacturers of another direct lay, on site, system, Kerdi fabric is a waterproof polyethene sheet membrane that is bonded directly to the substrate. It is a system that has several pieces and parts to do your whole shower. Including the pre-formed shower pan tray, curb, drain(s), wall substrate, corner seam reinforcements, benches, and penetrations. Though it can be used in conjunction with other methods to do your shower pan and walls, as is done with all the other methods described. It is recommended that their products are used throughout the entire shower. Kits are available for many standard sizes of showers with add-ons available, as mentioned above, that may be needed for your project. Kerdi-sheet goods are applied over its own special Kerdi board, or when using the shower pan tray liner, curb pieces, and benches or over other substrates that are recommended by Kerdi. Unmodified thin-set mortar is used through the installation as when attaching the sheet goods to substrates, at seams (to itself), and the surface materials themselves (tile or stone). DIYer friendly with those with a fair amount of experience, used by contractors and builders that prefer a no mud work application. Most feel this is one of the most expensive methods but prefer to have a one system for all applications.
Glass tile in the shower will require more care during installation. Using a tile company with this expertise would be a wise decision. Glass reflects all light, making your shower appear larger. It’s also translucent, therefore, unlike any other surface material, that beautiful color you picked out will show all the way through the tile, providing an additional sense of depth and dimension. Glass tiles can be easily cleaned with glass cleaners but must be done often, if not soap and/or hard water scum may be difficult to deal with. Also, as it reflects light it will show and highlight any imperfections on its surface. Glass tile will not stain. Cost of material and labor will be higher in most cases. Some manufacturers will recommend using special thinsets and grouts for their products.
I encourage you to visit a number of showrooms, and ask them about the materials you like, comparing the pros and cons of each. Today our bathrooms have become a place for a bright wake up and relaxing whine down from our busy day. The shower is where it can begin and end on a pleasant note! Picking the materials to show our lifestyle is part of the fun! I hope this blog helped set you in a direction that will help you decide your needs in selecting your shower materials.
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