Using natural stone in a shower can create a luxurious and spa-like experience, but it requires some special considerations compared to using ceramic or porcelain tile. With proper planning and installation, natural stone can be a beautiful, durable, and eye-catching addition to any shower.
Benefits of Using Natural Stone in Showers
Natural stone like marble, travertine, slate, and granite can provide numerous benefits when used as shower walls or floors:
- Aesthetic appeal – Natural patterns, colors, and textures add visual interest and elegance. Stone showers stand out.
- Durability – Natural stone is very hard and withstands the test of time. With proper sealing, it can last for decades.
- Easy to clean – Non-porous natural stone prevents mold or mildew growth and wipes clean easily.
- Value – Natural stone adds monetary value by creating a spa-like, high-end feel.
- Variety – Many natural stone types, colors, finishes allow for customized design.
Choosing the Right Natural Stone
When selecting natural stone, consider:
- Porosity – More porous stones like limestone require extra sealing. Low porosity granite resists staining.
- Hardness – Harder stones like granite hold up to heavy use. Softer stones scratch easier.
- Texture – Smoother polished marble can get slippery when wet. Honed or textured finishes provide traction.
- Color – Lighter colored stones show more soap scum/stains which require frequent cleaning.
- Stone type – Granite, marble, and slate are commonly used in showers. Travertine works but is more porous.
- Budget – Natural stone is generally more expensive than ceramic or porcelain tile.
Sealing and Caring for Natural Stone Showers
Proper sealing and maintenance is crucial to preserve the beauty of natural stone showers:
- Seal stone using a premium-quality sealer according to manufacturer directions. Re-seal yearly.
- Immediately wipe away soap scum, body oils, and standing water to prevent etching and buildup.
- Clean stone regularly using pH-neutral stone cleaners – avoid abrasive cleansers.
- Inspect stone seams and re-apply shower-appropriate caulk when needed to prevent moisture damage.
- Use a squeegee after each shower to eliminate pool water and improve drying.
Installation Tips for Natural Stone Showers
Special measures must be taken when installing natural stone in steamy, wet shower environments:
- Use top quality waterproofing like Kerdi membrane behind stone.
- Choose shower-rated grout (like epoxy) for reduced staining/discoloration.
- Seal stone prior to installation for added water protection.
- Support stone properly on walls – don’t just adhere to drywall.
- Ensure adequate slope or drainage for floor stone to prevent standing water.
- Take extra care around trims and niches – use flexible sealants.
FAQs About Natural Stone Showers
Can you use marble, granite, or travertine in a shower?
Yes, marble, granite, and travertine can all be used in shower design successfully, however, extra sealing and maintenance will be required for more porous stones like travertine.
Does natural stone in showers need to be sealed?
Yes, sealing natural stone is highly recommended, especially in shower environments. Sealing helps prevent staining, etching, and deterioration from exposure to water.
Is natural stone slippery in showers?
Polished marble or granite can become slippery when wet. Many types of natural stone come in finishes like honed or textured that provide extra traction for showers. Proper installation and drainage is key.
How long does natural stone last in showers?
With proper installation and regular sealing and maintenance, most natural stones will last for many decades in shower conditions. Granite, being harder, will likely last longer than marble.
Is cleaning and maintaining natural stone showers difficult?
With routine care like sealing, wiping soap scum, squeegeeing, and using proper cleaners natural stone is quite maintainable. Porous stones do require more frequent sealing.
Can you install natural stone showers yourself?
It is possible for an experienced DIYer to install natural stone tile in a shower, but it can be tricky. Consider hiring a professional tile installer for best results.
Installing natural stone in a shower environment brings unmatched beauty and luxury, but requires careful prep work, proper installation, routine sealing and maintenance. When the right stone is selected, sealed, and cared for, natural stone showers can be enjoyed trouble-free for many years of indulgent, spa-like showering. Consult a stone specialist and installer to get started creating your dream natural stone shower oasis.