You’re about to install a brand new shower during your bathroom remodel, but you’re met with a whirlwind of options to choose from when it comes to materials.
What makes the best wall? What’s the most affordable?
It’s like a hailstorm of opinions.
We’re here to help you pick the right shower wall material for you, whatever that may be. Together, we’re going to go through specifications, differences, and a ton of issues that you might run into with certain wall materials. Let’s get into it.
Picking the Right Shower Wall Material is Essential
Your shower is where you spend precious moments before work in the morning, or where you relax before bed every night. It’s a very well-used space, so the material that you use is pretty important, all things considered.
There are four main, major options that you’ll be met with, and want to talk about each of them before you make your final decision.
Acrylic is an inexpensive option for a lot of budget-friendly DIYers out there, and it’s a solid choice. It’s been used in bathrooms off and on over the years for a few reasons, but we’re discussing it first because it has the biggest number of trade-offs.
Pros and Cons
Acrylic is the most popular choice for showers and tubs because it’s so ridiculously inexpensive to manufacture and install. There’s really nothing that’s going to save you money like acrylic.
Many bathtub and shower outfitters will come in, measure out your bath, and come back with a full shower that they simply place over your existing one. Case and point, acrylic is going to save you a lot of money.
Easy to Install
Acrylic can usually just be fitted over a pre-existing shower or tub, which is why it’s ridiculously easy to install. Even if you wanted to DIY it, you could go with acrylic panels and install them yourself.
They’re not going to be nearly as effective as a full bathtub outfitter job, but with the right caulking, it can still be watertight and last for years to come. You just might have to replace the caulking once every three to five years.
Less Durable Than Other Options
Acrylic can crack, and it can break, and it can get a little worn down from abrasions. The old saying about getting what you pay for is true.
While acrylic showers aren’t exactly going to undergo massive stress or damages, they’re still technically less durable. I’ve had an acrylic shower for eight years with no cracking or issues, but you can find plenty of stories online about people advocating for stronger materials.
You might get unlucky, it might hold on just like mine has, but either way acrylic, as a material, is less durable than most shower wall material options out there.
Ceramic tiles are a fantastic choice. They’re durable, water-resistant, and look fantastic. With plenty of color options to choose from, they pose a lot of aesthetic appeal as well, which is crucial during bathroom remodels.
You have to have as much function as you do appeal, otherwise what was the point in remodeling in the first place?
These are the main pros and cons of ceramic.
Pros and Cons
Heavy; Hard to Install
Just like with stone, ceramic is heavy. It’s not an easy thing to install. If you were using lightweight acrylic, the supporting wall wouldn’t need to account for quite as much weight.
Ceramic tiles are heavy when you use them from the floor to the ceiling, so the more lengthy part of your installation process is going to be preparing the surface to adhere the tiles to.
Ceramic tiles aren’t that expensive to produce, really. You can see this reflected in the cost of raw materials. When you go to buy ceramic tiles, you get them by bulks that give you specific areas of square footage.
When you compare that to other materials with the same square footage coverage, then you can see the price disparities.
Ceramic tiles are outdated, though, which is why a lot of people opt out of using them. You can find fun and modern designs for ceramic tiles if you put your mind to it, making them aesthetic as well as inexpensive.
Stain and Leak Resistant
Ceramic is a wonderful material because it’s not going to stain, and it’s not going to leak. If your ceramic were to leak, it would be due to a major crack, which you could see.
Unlike some other materials, you can diagnose that issue right away to prevent water damage. Through every hair dye, shampoo and conditioner you use in the shower, these ceramic tiles aren’t going to stain for any reason.
While you’re not going to have a complete box made out of glass to shower in, you are going to have these as a choice for two of your walls, with the option of glass tiles for the other two.
They’re attractive, elegant, and definitely great for intimate his-and-hers bathrooms or master baths. That being said, we have a few pain points to talk about regarding glass shower walls.
Pros and Cons
Glass showers are one of the most attractive additions to master bathrooms. They commonly appear in high-end bathrooms that have had extensive attention to detail throughout the entire space.
Apart from being a marker for that, they’re fairly easy to keep clean and appealing, so you can constantly maintain a high-end looking bathroom.
Increases Property Value
Glass showers may not be as expensive as stone, but their appeal can be a dramatic uptick in your property value. Glass showers have to be installed perfectly so that they can withstand water pressure and occasionally leaning on the glass walls, so they’re also built nice and tough.
If you’re planning on eventually selling your home, this is a great way to increase your property value and enjoy something exquisite in the process.
Glass showers aren’t exactly the safest. Water on glass is slippery as can be, so if your shower will be used by any disabled or elderly people in your home, it might not be the best idea.
While this is just the walls of the shower, leaning against one when falling or slipping when trying to push the glass door open might become a problem.
Despite glass not being the most expensive thing in the world to produce, glass showers can be expensive.
Apart from installation costs, you also have to account for the fact that this is tempered, ultra-thick glass that’s durable enough to be used in this fashion.
It also has to withstand the pressure of metal (commonly used in the framing), and rapid temperature changes from the water. It’s a higher grade of glass, and a higher cost as well.
Stone is expensive, but one of the most durable things you could put in your shower. There are different restrictions when using stone tiles, from placement to securing, and the overall costs associated with installation. This is what you need to know.
Pros and Cons
Stone is Expensive
Granite is a popular solution, but so is slate. Regardless of what you pick, you’re looking at higher costs than just about every other material we listed here.
Not only is stone natural and cannot be manufactured (not real stone at least), but it’s heavy to transport and costly to cut. Those costs are transferred onto you when you choose to purchase it, fiar or not.
Stone Looks Gorgeous in All Bathrooms
Have you ever actually seen an all- or partial-stone bathroom?
They’re absolutely beautiful, attractive, and raise your property value by so much. Stone bathrooms are easier to keep clean as well, and depending on the shade of stone you choose, they help reflect natural light almost like a mirror, making smaller spaces feel so much larger and brighter.
Durable Enough to Last for Years
You’re not going to have to worry about disrepair or anything of that nature for a very long time with stone.
The first thing to go in a stone bathroom is going to be the grout, and that’s only if you don’t take care of it and years have passed by. Stone is one of the most durable things you could ever have in your bathroom.
You Deserve a Beautiful Shower
Your shower needs to look top-notch, like those fantastic fixtures you put in the rest of your bathroom. It’s where you get ready to start your day, or where you relax after a hard one. It’s important.
We’ve talked about the best materials for your shower, but on top of that, we’ve also discussed some key differences that you really need to know about concerning different materials. Now it’s time to make a final decision: which material will you go with?