Are you looking to build a new bathroom or renovate an existing one? It is important to choose the right materials for your shower walls. There are a lot of options available, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The best shower wall materials include fiberglass and acrylic, which are easy to install and long-lasting. Glass is also a great option as it is easy to clean, but it is not as cheap as ceramic and porcelain, which are affordable and last for years. Natural stone is also beautiful but expensive.
To learn more about the best shower wall materials to use in your bathroom, continue reading.
What to Look for in Shower Wall Materials
Before we start off with our list, it is important to know what to look for in a shower wall material. This will help you decide whether a material is good for building your shower walls or not, and it will also help you choose the right material from this list based on your needs and preferences.
Of course, one of the top things on your mind when thinking about which shower wall material to use is probably appearances. You probably want a shower wall material that is beautiful and makes your bathroom look great.
At the same time, not all beautiful materials are great for shower walls. This is because a good shower wall material needs to be able to handle all the water it will come into contact with. In other words, it needs to be water-resistant and durable so that you won’t have to change it later on. There are some materials that are quick to fade, crack, or chip. Other materials are not very mold resistant.
In addition, you should choose a material that is easy to clean. The walls of your shower can get pretty dirty, and you want to use a material that does not require a lot of maintenance.
Other things to take into account is how easy it will be to install the material, how much it will cost, and how long it will take. If you are installing the walls yourself, you might want to look for a material that is fairly easy to install.
Best Materials for Shower Walls
1. Glass Tiles
Glass is a great material to use for your shower walls, especially if you are looking for something that looks quite elegant. There are a lot of designs and prints that you can get on glass, giving you more options to choose from and allowing you to make your bathroom a little more interesting.
Glass is also pretty easy to clean in general. The downside of using it for your shower is that it can get stained with soap scum easily, but even that can easily be cleaned off.
Another advantage of using glass is that it is reflective. If you are looking for a brighter bathroom, using glass will make your bathroom seem lighter. You can also use glass for the sliding separation wall in between the shower area and the rest of the bathroom. This will also help let in more light into the shower area.
Glass is pretty thin, which means that using glass will give you a little extra space.
One downside of using glass is that it can get pretty slippery. If the bathroom will be used by elderly people who are at a higher risk of slipping on the glass and falling down, you may not want to use it. In addition, you should not use glass for your shower floor for the same reason.
One thing that is not so great about glass is that it is not easy to install by yourself. Glass is very delicate, so cutting it requires a lot of precision and care. If you are not experienced, you can end up damaging the glass and cracking it while trying to cut it. That’s why it is best to get a professional installation if you are going with glass.
In addition, glass itself is not cheap. Altogether, considering that glass is an expensive material and you may require professional help to get it installed, we can see that glass is not the best option for those on small budgets.
2. Mosaic Glass
A specific type of glass worth mentioning on its own is mosaic glass. Mosaic glass is not as slippery as regular glass. It could work for your shower walls, however, it is not recommended for floors, especially if you have someone who is at a higher risk of getting injured by slipping.
Acrylic is another great material to use. If you are avoiding glass because you are worried about safety, acrylic is a great alternative because it is very easy to install safety bars (and also shelves to hold a bar of soap).
Acrylic is usually installed as one big piece. This means that it will be pretty easy to install. In addition, acrylic is pretty cheap, so it is a great alternative to glass if you think that the price of glass is a bit too expensive.
Also, since acrylic comes in one piece, it is more resistant to mold and mildew. Acrylic is fairly durable, but it can still get scratched pretty easily. Nevertheless, if it is taken care of, it will still last a fairly long time.
For more information about acrylic shower walls, watch this Youtube video:
Ceramic is an extremely inexpensive option if you have a small budget. There are a lot of options available in terms of design and style, so you won’t be lacking in choices. Ceramic also lasts for a very long time, so it is a long-term solution if you want to install your shower walls once and not have to worry about them a few years down the road.
In addition, it is easy to make your shower walls match with the rest of your shower if you use ceramic, as that is what toilets are usually made out of. Your sink and floor tiles may also be ceramic, allowing you to get your entire bathroom to be in sync.
Porcelain is very similar to ceramic in terms of looks. In addition, it is also very durable and water-resistant, just like ceramic is. In fact, it is even more durable and water-tight, which is also why it is a bit more expensive.
You can save a bit of money if you decide to choose ceramic instead of porcelain, but the price difference is not that large, and porcelain will generally be longer-lasting and more durable.
Both ceramic and porcelain are pretty easy to repair. If a tile gets broken or cracked, you can easily remove it and replace it with a new tile, as the cost of both ceramic and porcelain is low.
One thing to keep in mind is that both ceramic and porcelain require grout in between the tiles. This grout is required to make the wall water-resistant. However, the grout is not very mold-resistant, so if you are very sensitive to any amount of mold or mildew, there are better options available. Alternatively, just make sure to clean the grout often.
Another way to reduce the likelihood of mold growing in your bathroom is to make sure to keep it well ventilated. A big window will enable you to allow fresh air into the bathroom, but make sure to open it after taking a shower. You can also install an exhaust fan to draw air out of the bathroom to keep it fresh. Leave the door open as well to provide more circulation. You can also replace the grout when it gets discolored or if it gets too dirty.
Another downside of ceramic and porcelain tiles is that they are not as easy to install as acrylic, for example. This is because you need to get tiles that fit your wall, and you may need to cut tiles in different shapes or sizes to fit small “leftover” spots and corners.
See also: How to Clean Shower Tiles Without Scrubbing
A good alternative to ceramic and porcelain that is actually easy to install is fiberglass. Like acrylic, it comes in one big sheet, so you won’t have to do a lot of cutting like you would if you were installing ceramic or porcelain tiles. In addition, unlike ceramic and porcelain, it does not require grout, so you won’t have to worry that much about mold and mildew.
Fiberglass is also very easy to clean, just like glass is. You won’t need more than a soft cloth to clean either glass or fiberglass. On the other hand, unlike glass, it is not thin or brittle. Because it is thicker, it is more sound-resistant.
If your bathroom is next to your child’s room or a neighbor’s apartment and you are looking for a shower wall material that will mute some of the water’s noise or your singing in the shower, fiberglass is a great option.
One disadvantage of fiberglass is that it can get scratched pretty easily, so you must take extra care of it.
How does fiberglass compare to acrylic? Both of them look pretty similar, so in terms of design, there is not much of a difference. In addition, both acrylic and fiberglass are not very resistant to scratches, so extra care must be taken with both. However, fiberglass is cheaper than acrylic, so if you are on a budget and are considering both acrylic or fiberglass, fiberglass might be a better choice to save money.
How does fiberglass compare to ceramic or porcelain tiles? In general, as mentioned, fiberglass will come in a large sheet, so you won’t have to do a lot of cutting. It is a lot easier to install than ceramic for that reason. In addition, since there is no space in between tiles, your walls will not be as susceptible to mold and mildew.
At the same time, traditional tiles are generally longer lasting than fiberglass sheets, so that is something you might want to consider as well.
Finally, although fiberglass sheets are less susceptible to mold, you still have to watch out for mold in the cracks and crevices between the sheet and the wall.
If you want something even more luxurious than glass, consider opting for natural stone. As you may have expected, it is one of the most expensive options, but it is also extremely beautiful. It will give your bathroom a really posh feeling.
There are a lot of different types of stone, and we will go through various types of stone you can use for your shower wall soon. However, let’s first discuss some things you should know about when using stone for your shower wall.
Stone is fit into your wall one by one. It is not like fiberglass or acrylic, where there is one, uniform sheet. Each stone is different, which is what makes stone walls so exquisite and beautiful.
Stone is very porous, which is not such a good thing as it means you will need to add a layer of sealant to prevent the stones from getting full of soap scum and dirty water. This sealant must be reapplied often, which means that not only is stone expensive at the outset but that it also requires more maintenance. In addition, it is not nearly as easy to clean as glass or fiberglass.
If you are looking for a cheap, durable option, you should probably go with acrylic or porcelain instead of stone. Only opt for stone if you can afford it.
One more downside of stone is that it can get slippery when wet, which is something you are probably aware of if you ever hiked near a waterfall. As such, they’re not great for floors.
Finally, make sure not to get stone that is rough. Instead, opt for a type of stone that has a smoother surface. The last thing you want is a rough, sharp shower wall.
Let’s go through different stone options for your shower wall.
Marble is a very beautiful stone. White marble, in particular, is best for your shower walls. Since it is light, it is perfect for showers and bathrooms. However, there are various degrees of marble quality. The best type of marble will not have a lot of veins, which can cause your wall to get damaged. In addition, some marble may have high iron content which can cause rusting when exposed to water.
A downside of marble is that it can get stained pretty easily.
Light granite is a great alternative to marble. It is easier to maintain, and it is not as likely to get damaged.
Slate can also be a good option, but it must be sealed properly. Some types of slate can flake over time, so get a high-quality slate. In addition, slate is pretty difficult to install compared to some other types of stone, so that is something to be aware of as well.
Travertine is not as smooth as other types of stone, but it is still smooth enough for showers. It also looks amazing, so it is great if you want a natural, beautiful feel in your bathroom. However, it can get scratched easily.
There are many options to choose from when building a shower wall. If you want something cheap and durable, go for porcelain or ceramic tiles.
If you want something that is mold-resistant, easy to install, and affordable, go with acrylic or fiberglass.
If you are looking for something more elegant, go with glass or with natural stone such as white marble.