If you are looking to learn about all the best bathroom material options for shower walls, you have come to the right place.
After being in stone & tile industry for so long, I say that its such an amazing thing that there are so many options today. However you know when you have more choices, the decision becomes harder.
Don’t worry, I got you covered. In this article I will cover all the shower wall material ideas:
- Different Types of shower wall options
- Most Popular choices – Tiles (Ceramic Tiles, Glass Tiles, Porcelain Tiles & Natural Stone tiles.)
- Types of Shower wall panels (Acrylic Panels, Fiberglass walls, PVC Panels, Stone Slabs, Stainless steel, wood panels, glass panels & Vinyl Paper.
This Post Is about Bathroom Material Options for Shower Walls
Best Shower Wall Material Ideas
When talking about shower wall materials, I would categorize them in two types: Tiles and Alternatives to Tiles.
There are infinite options of tiles….yes infinite, depending on the sizes and colors.
The Tile options can be divided into categories by the materials they are made of.
Type of Bathroom Tiles : There are four major types of tiles.
Ceramic Tiles are made out of clay and fired at high temperatures. These tiles are a very good option for shower walls.
The reason these tiles are popular for bathroom walls is because they are available in a lot of different styles, sizes and shapes.
Subway tile is a perfect choice as you can install it in a lot of different patterns. The tiles are available in glossy finish or matte finish.
One of the things you should be aware of is, when you use subway tiles, you will have grout lines.
If the shower tiles are bigger in size than there would be less grout lines.
Ceramic tiles are mostly available in small sizes which makes them a good option for smaller bathrooms as well.
One of the reasons why I feel tiles are the best choice as compared to panels is because if water damage happens, you will just need to replace the tiles from that area.
If you had a panel on the shower wall, you will need to replace the entire wall.
If we talk about design style, ceramic tiles are used for all sorts of interior design projects from traditional, midcentury modern to contemporary.
Porcelain tiles are also made of clay and exposed to high temperatures however they are more denser than ceramic tile. They are more harder than ceramic tile. I consider them as one of the best material.
Porcelain tiles are also available in a lot of different colors, sizes and shapes. Since porcelain tiles are harder than ceramic tiles, they are the most popular material for shower wall & shower floor.
Porcelain floor tile stands the test of time and for good reason it even comes in textured finish (Slip resistant).
The shower in the photo has WOOD LOOK PORCELAIN TILES installed.
Porcelain tiles mostly come in larger size even as large as 96″ x 48″ or 126″ x 63″ (like panels). This makes them a good choice for bathroom walls.
I would not recommend installing really large shower tiles as a DIY project. It’s best to get professional help.
The only downside on using slab like large porcelain tiles is the cost. Professional installation cost more in labor for porcelain tile as bathroom wall panels.
When designing a contemporary or transitional bathroom, porcelain tile is a great option to create a modern look.
Glass tiles are a good choice to incorporate in your bathroom design. The glass tiles are mostly available as smaller size tiles or mosaic sheets.
These are pretty low maintenance option. Glass tiles provide a classic look as compared to traditional tiles that are made from ceramic.
Natural Stone Tiles
If you are thinking of using Natural stone tiles for your bathroom project, you should be able to achieve an elegant look.
The most popular natural stone tiles are the marble tiles. Travertine, granite and quartzite are other natural materials that are available as tiles.
Marble is porous in nature so its important to seal the shower area or tile walls after installation. The good news is that there are plenty of natural stone sealers available on the market.
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Types of Shower wall panels
There are some good options for the shower area. Here are the different types of Shower wall panels :
Acrylic Panels :
- Acrylic shower wall has become a popular choice due to their durability, ease of installation, and versatility in design.
- Acrylic shower panels are durable. They are resistant to scratches, cracks and stains.
- Acrylic material is lightweight and easy to cut, making installation a relatively simple process.
- They are also low maintenance.
- They are resistant to soap scum buildup.
- You can easily wipe down by using a soft cloth to maintain their appearance.
One of the good reason some people shy away from them is because of the less luxurious feel as compared to other options like tile and stone.
Fiberglass Panels :
Fiberglass panels are made from a composite material of glass fibers and resin.
- These panels are also one of the best material option.
- They are lightweight, durable, and cost-effective.
- One of the drawbacks of this panels is that they can not provide a custom look that can be achieved by different types of tiles or natural materials.
- Fiberglass panels are a non porous material which means they are water resistant.
- You can clean the fiberglass shower walls with just soapy water.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) panels checks all the boxes.
- The panels are cost effective, durable and are available in different colors, patterns and finishes.
- They are susceptible to scratches and it’s not a very environmentally friendly material.
- Also the panels do. not offer the luxurious look that can be achieved by stone or tile.
Stone Slabs :
I am a natural stone lover and using stone slabs is my favorite option like forever !!!.
- Natural stones like marble or quartzite come from nature and have unique vein pattern and designs.
- The best walk-in shower ideas are the ones using book match stone slabs.
When a shower wall is really wide, you can install two slabs of stone with a seam in middle.
The best part is that the veins make a gorgeous pattern and gives the wall a seamless look.
Below is the photo of Calacatta Macchia Vecchia marble Book Match slabs.
White marble with grey veins is the most popular nature stone that is used as shower panels or shower wall surround.
- Natural stone is porous, so if you decide to go for it, make sure you maintain it by sealing it periodically.
- Natural stone panels are the most expensive choice among all the options. They require professional installation.
- Natural materials are the best choice if you ask me for a custom look that will not go out of style for a long time.
The Shower below Shows a perfectly book matched slabs installation.
Stainless Steel Panels :
Stainless steel panels offer a low cost, durable and stylish option.
- They can be used as shower stalls as well.
- The stainless steel panels can add a fresh look however they tend to be more expensive than PVC or fiberglass panels.
Vinyl Paper :
Vinyl paper is a combination of vinyl and wall paper. It does offer design options, durability and is cost effective.
Having said that, it’s not completely waterproof, I would recommend it for guest rooms where the showers are not used daily.
As you decide on best shower materials, do not forget shower pans.
HERE IS A COMPLETE ARTICLE I WROTE ON : Shower Pan vs Tile Floor : Which One Should You Pick?
Wood Panels :
Wood Panels are also an option should you want to go that route.
I say that if you have the budget and willingness to maintain, there are always options.
Wood panels are more expensive than PVC or Acrylic panels.
For the shower area, the wood panels will need to be treated with sealer so that moisture does not penetrate the wood. Regular maintenance is required .
Glass Panels :
Glass panels are a great for shower walls. They are available in various styles like clear, frosted or patterned. My favorite glass panels are from SICIS.
Now that you know all about the best shower materials, let me know which one are you leaning towards in the comments below.
Disclaimer : The information in this post is for general informational purposes only. The author and publisher are not responsible for any damage, injury, or loss that may occur from using the information provided .Readers should follow safety guidelines and take necessary precautions as listed by the tile manufacturer & general contractors.
This post was about Bathroom Material Options for Shower Walls
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