Tile or Stone Bathroom remodel

Shower Remodel Ideas: Tile or Stone?

As we discussed in our post How to Build Your Own Steam Shower, there’s a lot of work and planning involved in creating a steam shower. Among the most important components are the materials, and these days there are many choices available. In this article we’ll take a closer look at one of the biggest questions you’ll face when remodeling your bathroom shower: tile or stone? In the following sections we’ll weigh the pros and cons of each so that you can make the right selection for your home.

Classic Stone

With it’s natural, classic quality, stone is a popular option for bathrooms. From stone floors to a stone shower, the look of natural stone can make your bathroom feel like an organic oasis. But is stone the right choice for your luxury shower? Let’s take a look.

Natural stone varieties like marble and granite are beautiful and timeless, but they will also require a little more maintenance than some other materials. For one thing, natural stone absorbs heat, and therefore may require more energy to keep a steam shower at the desired temperature. Also, natural stone is porous and will absorb moisture. This means you’ll have to take extra care to keep your shower dry in between uses. In order to avoid mildew buildup and protect your stone from wear, be sure to seal your stone shower at least once a year. You can hire a professional to do this, or do it yourself with a few easy-to-use care and maintenance products.
If you like the look of stone but don’t want to worry about it being too porous, you might consider a tile with a stone-like look. Read on to learn about ceramic and porcelain tiles, many of which can be made to mimic the look of natural stone.

Verstatile Tile

Tile is a tried-and-true choice for bathrooms, and it can be used in a number of ways to create a unique, customized look. From glass mosaics to ceramic and porcelain, there are enough tile options out there to create almost any design you can imagine. But which type of tile makes the most sense for your luxury  shower? Consider the following.

While many people like the look of glass tile, it can be a little trickier to install due to its translucent quality. Also, over time it’s possible for moisture to get behind the tile, causing the glass to fog up or appear discolored. If you choose glass tile, be sure to hire a professional who has experience installing this type of tile in your shower, or if you’re doing the work yourself, do your research to make sure you use the best setting material and follow the proper procedures.

Ceramic tile is a broad category of tile made from clay that is fired in a kiln, and this category includes porcelain tile. Sometimes the terms ceramic and porcelain are used interchangeably, but there is a distinction: porcelain tile is made from more refined clay and is fired at higher temperatures. Ceramic is a popular choice for showers due to the many styles, colors, and sizes available and the fact that it’s easy to install. It also retains heat, making it a good insulator for your shower. However, depending on the style, it may be less durable than other types of tile and will likely require sealing to keep it in good condition.

Porcelain is perhaps the best option among the ceramic category, as it is durable, low maintenance, and non-porous, meaning it will not absorb moisture or heat the way stone or some other ceramics will. If you fear that porcelain will be too slippery, look for a tile with a good slip resistance rating. These tiles tend to be more textured, which can make them harder to clean, so you may want to consider a darker-colored tile in that case.

The Verdict

While we’d love to crown a winner in the stone-versus-tile debate, the answer really comes down to your priorities in terms of appearance, durability, and maintenance. If you love the look of stone, just know that you may have a higher electric bill or need a larger steam generator to make up for the heat and moisture loss. If tile is your preference, do your research and pare down the options to the ones that best fit your space, your aesthetics, and your lifestyle. While glass and certain ceramics may offer you the look you’ve always wanted, they may require you to make some concessions in terms of durability and maintenance. If you’re less picky about the look and just want something simple and durable, porcelain may be the way to go. Whatever you choose, be sure to follow installation guidelines exactly so that you may enjoy your stone or tile shower for many years to come.

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