Natural stone can be an elegant and luxurious choice for bathrooms, but it also has some drawbacks to consider. Understanding the pros and cons of natural stone can help you decide if it is the right material for your bathroom remodel or new construction project.

Pros of Natural Stone for Bathrooms

Timeless Beauty

Natural stone like marble, travertine, and granite have unparalleled visual appeal. The colors and veins make each stone slab unique. Natural patterns and textures give bathrooms a sophisticated, high-end look. Unlike ceramic or porcelain tile, natural stone will not go out of style.


Natural stone is very durable and can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. Materials like granite are resistant to scratches, chips, and cracks. Natural stone won’t fade or discolor over time like some man-made options. This makes it ideal for high-traffic areas like bathrooms.

Easy Maintenance

Despite its porous nature, natural stone is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Simple sweeping or mopping is usually sufficient. For deeper cleaning, a pH-neutral stone cleaner can be used. Re-sealing may be needed every 1-2 years to protect against stains. Proper maintenance is easier than many homeowners expect.

Adds Value

Natural stone can significantly increase a home’s value, beyond just the cost of the materials and installation. The luxurious, spa-like ambiance it provides makes a bathroom more desirable to potential buyers. Even a small amount of natural stone can give bathrooms an upscale feel.


There is an abundance of natural stone options on the market. Marble, travertine, limestone, granite, and slate come in a vast array of colors, patterns, finishes, and textures. This variety allows homeowners to choose a look that aligns with their personal style. There are natural stone tiles and slabs to complement almost any design aesthetic.

Cons of Natural Stone for Bathrooms


The main downside of natural stone is the higher cost compared to ceramic, porcelain, or composite materials. Purchase price for the stone itself starts at $15 per square foot on the very low end. Professional installation and finishing will add $10-15 per square foot. The total can easily exceed $30 per square foot for premium natural stone.

High Maintenance

Despite being called “easy maintenance,” natural stone does require more routine care than other options like ceramic tile. Sealing and cleaning stone regularly is a must to prevent etching, stains, and mildew. Hiring a professional for deep cleaning is recommended but adds to long-term costs.

Risk of Damage

The porous nature of natural stone makes it prone to staining, etching, and scratching if not properly sealed and handled with care. Acidic substances like juice, wine, toiletries, and cleaners can damage the surface. Cracks can form if the stone is struck or dropped during installation.

Water Sensitivity

Since natural stone is porous, it can be negatively impacted by excess water exposure over time. The grout lines are especially vulnerable. Moisture seepage between the stone and substrate can lead to cracking. Bathrooms need adequate ventilation to prevent long-term water damage.

Heavy Weight

Thicker slabs of natural stone add tremendous weight, often requiring structural reinforcements. Movement or shifting of the substrate over time could cause cracking or loosening of the stone. The weight also limits applications for wall surfaces. Large-format tile may be a better option.


Natural stone undoubtedly provides an unparalleled look and feel that can transform a mundane bathroom into a relaxing oasis. However, the high cost and vulnerability to damage means it may not be the best choice for every homeowner. Carefully consider how the pros and cons apply to your specific bathroom space, needs, and budget. With proper expectations about cost and maintenance, natural stone can be a worthwhile investment in your home’s beauty and value. Consult with knowledgeable bathroom designers or stone providers to make the best selection for your project.

FAQ about Pros and Cons of Natural Stone for Bathrooms

Is natural stone good for bathrooms?

Natural stone can be an excellent material for bathrooms due to its elegance, durability, and easy maintenance when properly sealed and cared for. The variety of options allows you to achieve almost any design aesthetic. However, the high cost and potential for damage mean it may not be ideal for every home.

What is the most durable natural stone?

Granite is generally considered the most durable of the natural stone options. It resists scratches, etching, and stains better than marble or limestone. However, any natural stone is prone to damage if not properly sealed and maintained.

What is the most affordable natural stone?

Travertine is one of the most affordable natural stone options, starting around $15 per square foot. However, it is softer and more porous than granite or marble, requiring extra maintenance. For best value, consider using travertine selectively for accents rather than entire surfaces.

Does natural stone add value to a home?

Yes, natural stone can significantly increase a home’s resale value, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. The luxurious ambiance it adds makes the home more desirable to buyers. Even a small amount of natural stone tile can give bathrooms an upscale feel.

Is natural stone high maintenance?

Natural stone does require more routine maintenance than ceramic or porcelain tile. Regular sealing, cleaning, and hiring a professional for periodic deep cleaning is necessary to keep natural stone in good condition. However, the maintenance is not excessive for most homeowners.

How often should natural stone be sealed?

Sealing natural stone in bathrooms should be done every 1-2 years. More frequent sealing is needed for surfaces like shower floors or countertops that see a lot of water exposure. Use a pH-neutral sealant specifically formulated for natural stone.

Can you use vinegar to clean natural stone?

No, vinegar should always be avoided as it contains acids that can etch and damage the surface of natural stone. Mild, pH-neutral cleaners specially made for natural stone are recommended for routine maintenance.

What natural stone works best in bathrooms?

Marble and travertine are good choices for bathroom vanities and wall surfaces. Granite and slate are better for shower floors since they resist water damage. Non-polished finishes provide more slip resistance. Choose stone with low porosity.

How do you protect natural stone in a bathroom?

  • Use sealants and impregnators to guard against water and stains
  • Clean spills quickly to prevent stains
  • Use rugs, shower mats, and bath mats to minimize direct water exposure
  • Avoid walking on stone floors with bare feet or shoes that may scratch
  • Install sufficient ventilation to prevent moisture buildup


Natural stone undoubtedly enhances the beauty and value of bathrooms with its elegance and luxury. However, higher costs, maintenance, and the potential for damage means it may not be the ideal choice for every homeowner’s needs and lifestyle. Carefully weigh the pros and cons before selecting natural stone for your next bathroom project. With proper expectations about cost, maintenance, and vulnerability, natural stone can be an investment that lasts a lifetime.