Nowadays, pebble shower floors are some of the most popular options that people go for. It is not difficult to see why, as they look aesthetically pleasing, are affordable, and feel great under your feet.
If you’re thinking about installing pebble shower floors in your own bathroom, but you aren’t sure if it is a good idea, read on. We will cover all pros and cons that you should be aware of and make a final verdict on whether these floors are really worth it.
What Are Shower Pebble Floors?
Also known as river rock shower floors, this type of flooring features tiles made of whole or cut rocks of different shapes and sizes. The stones are then covered in a special type of mesh tiles that adhere to the stones perfectly. Once it is finished, a pebble shower floor is colorful, pretty, and easy to clean.
Based on their appearance and feel, there are different types of shower pebble floors.
Standard Pebble Tile Floors
Popularly known as the basic pebble tile, this type is the most commonly installed in homes all around the world. These tiles feature natural stones that are still in their original shapes. Thus, the tiles’ surface is uneven.
However, you needn’t worry about it being uncomfortable or too sharp. All the stones are sanded and polished so that they are smooth to the touch and cannot hurt your feet at all.
Sliced Pebble Tile Floors
The sliced pebble tile is quite similar to the standard variety. The only difference is that these stones are cut so that the surface of the tile is entirely smooth. Thus, you should go for this option if you love the way these floors look but aren’t a fan of how they feel beneath your feet.
Standing Pebble Tile Floors
While the first two options use small pebbles, this one features larger pieces for a more compact look. The stones are also raised and rounded, ensuring that the tiles will massage your feet when you stand on them.
Standing pebble tiles are a good choice if your shower floor is lower than the floor in the rest of your bathroom. These tiles will help you even things out nicely while still ensuring the floors look and feel different.
Should You Get a Pebble Shower Floor?
Just like any other material, pebbles have their pros and cons. In other words, this type of shower floor will be excellent for some people and not a good idea for others, all depending on what they want and need.
Here’s what makes these floors special, including the good and the bad.
Pebble Shower Floors: Pros
They Are Affordable
Most people who opt for pebble showers collect the rocks themselves. For example, just a few walks by a river can help you find dozens and even hundreds of usable and beautiful pebbles.
However, even buying pebble tiles won’t cost a lot. So, you don’t have to worry if you have nowhere to get them from on your own.
Besides pebbles, you will need some grout, whichever type of sealer you prefer, thinset, and a trowel. Thus, you will not need any expensive tools that you’d have to use for ordinary tiles and other similar flooring options.
All in all, pebble floors are a fantastic choice if you want your shower to look great and feel even better without spending all your savings on getting it. If you go for this type of floor, you’ll have more than enough leftover money to pursue other renovations in your bathroom.
They Are Easy to Apply
Placing the pebbles on your shower floor and arranging them in an aesthetic manner requires a lot of patience. However, as slow as it is, the process is also incredibly easy. Therefore, you will be able to do it on your own as a DIY project that you can enjoy.
Applying the pebbles by yourself can also help you save money, as you won’t have to hire someone to do it for you.
Not as Slippery
Most people look for shower floor materials that aren’t too slippery. After all, ordinary tiles are some of the most hazardous materials you can get because they are so smooth.
Luckily, that is not the case with pebble tiles. No matter which type of tile you get, the stones will keep your feet firmly on the ground even if the floor is completely soaked. Pebbles are especially great for rubber slippers, as they will adhere to the material easily. Thus, you won’t have to worry about slipping and falling while enjoying your shower.
Of course, these tiles don’t entirely erase the possibility of falls. You will still need to exercise caution and get into and out of the shower carefully.
Naturally, a lot of people opt for pebbles because of their appearance. They come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, and you can arrange them however you like. Moreover, the pebbles look natural and rustic, making your shower look old-school but sophisticated.
This flooring type is also great because it allows you to make the grout an aesthetic part of the floor. If you choose the right color, you can create a beautiful contrast and turn your shower into a luxurious oasis.
As we have mentioned, pebbles can feel excellent on your bare feet. The stones massage the soles of your feet and your toes, which can come in handy after a long day of walking and standing.
To achieve this therapeutic effect, you should opt for rounded stones. The more natural they are, the better they feel against your skin. On the other hand, if you dislike the feeling of the stones against your skin, square and flat pieces are a better choice.
Don’t Scratch Easily
Most tile materials are rather prone to scratching, no matter how careful you are while cleaning them. However, pebble tiles are quite resilient, meaning that it takes a lot of pressure to leave a mark on them. They are, after all, made of stone.
Furthermore, even if you do scratch the surface, the difference won’t be as visible on pebble floors. The stones are already uneven and of varying colors and shapes, meaning that small imperfections won’t be glaringly obvious.
Thus, you should get a pebble shower floor if you need something that will always look good.
Pebble Shower Floors: Cons
Difficult to Maintain
Every type of shower floor requires some type of regular maintenance, be it reapplying grout or replacing certain tiles. However, no type is as challenging as pebble flooring.
If you install it, you will need to reseal the floor at least once every six months. Since the tiles are uneven, the water can easily seep between them, making them wobbly or unseemly. Thus, resealing them from time to time is necessary.
In addition, you will also have to retouch the grout regularly. That way, the floor will remain waterproof and in pristine condition. It is also a good idea to drain and wipe the shower after each use to ensure the water doesn’t seep into the crevices on the floor.
Don’t Last Very Long
As great as they look, pebble floors usually do not last as long as other options available on the market. The grout and sealant are more exposed to water, meaning that they wear easily.
While you will be able to repair and maintain the floor for a few years, as time passes, it will become more challenging. At some point, the repairs will cost more than installing a new floor.
Therefore, if you want a shower floor that will last for as long as ten or fifteen years, it is best to consider something other than pebbles. In that case, classic porcelain tiles or marble are a much better choice.
Higher Risk of Mold
As you probably know, all shower floors are susceptible to mold. After all, mold can easily appear anywhere where humidity is high, meaning that showers are always potential hazards.
However, this potential increases if the shower floors are made of pebbles. Since the surface is uneven, you need more grout to fill in every nook and cranny. As the grout dissolves over time, water has a clear path toward your flooring. That, in turn, can lead to mold in a matter of days.
Although applying your grout and doing regular maintenance can help reduce the risk of mold, it cannot prevent it altogether. After a few years, mold will definitely appear more easily, no matter how much new grout you add.
The risk of mold also increases based on which types of rock you use. For example, river pebbles usually retain water more easily, making them perfect hosts for mold. If you want this type of rock anyway, it is imperative to use as much sealant and grout as possible.
In addition, you might want to reapply them more often than just once or twice a year. That way, you will do everything in your power to keep your shower mold-free.
Not Suited for Extremely Hard Water
If your area has hard water, installing pebble shower flooring might not be a good idea. Namely, hard water will leave a chalky film of grime on the stones, making them slippery and unseemly, as well as reducing their lifespan.
To avoid that, you will have to clean and wipe the shower each time you use it. Doing so will help keep the stones in better condition.
Applying Pebbles in Your Bathroom
If you’re convinced that a pebble shower floor is exactly what you need, we have good news. You can apply it all by yourself! Here’s a little step-by-step guide that you can use to do it.
A Guide for Your Perfect Pebble Floor
- First, you should prepare your shower floor. That includes cleaning it thoroughly and making sure there is no debris on it.
- Then, arrange your pebbles in a pattern you like. This step is important as it can help you figure out whether your vision is possible and if it actually looks good.
- Once you are happy with your arrangement, it is time to apply the thinset mortar. Spread it over your pebbles and cover everything. However, make sure that the thinset isn’t thicker than 1/8th of an inch.
- Once you’re done with the thinset, you can apply your tiles over the stones. The tiles come in the form of mesh sheets, meaning that you shouldn’t have a problem getting them to fit over the stones.
- After this step, you have to wait for your thinset to dry completely. The necessary time will depend on the type of thinset you use. However, most manufacturers recommend waiting between 24h and 48h.
- Once the thinset mortar has dried, you can apply your first layer of sealant. Use a brush and cover everything thoroughly. You will have to wait between 18h and 24h for it to cure.
- As soon as the sealant has dried, you can begin applying your grout. It is important to do it as generously as possible so that you fill every little crevice. Once it is dry (it should take no more than an hour), you can use a wet sponge to remove any excess grout on the tiles.
- Finally, once the excess grout is off and everything is fully dry, you can apply a second coat of sealant. When it dries, clean everything thoroughly, and your new shower floor will be ready to go!
Pebble Shower Floors: The Final Verdict
Pebble floors are some of the most beautiful shower options you can choose. Aside from their aesthetic appeal, these floors are affordable, easy to install, and not too slippery. Furthermore, they feel fantastic against your feet, especially if they are small and rounded.
However, these floors also come with certain disadvantages. For example, they aren’t that long-lasting, and they can be a pain when it comes to maintenance. In addition, pebble floors are slightly more susceptible to mold, making them a potential hazard.
In the end, your decision should depend on your particular needs and preferences. If you put aesthetics and comfort first, these floors are a perfect choice. But if you need something durable that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, another flooring option might be a better choice.
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