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Surface Shop Natural Stone Veneer Manufacturer
Surface Shop Natural Stone Veneer Manufacturer

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How to Use Natural Stone in a Shower

Glacier Terraform Residential Outdoor Shower

Integrating natural stone into shower applications is an exquisite and enduring choice homeowners can make to elevate the aesthetic of any bathroom. Known for its distinctive veining, rich textures, and an array of captivating colors, natural stone transforms showers into luxurious sanctuaries. The inherent uniqueness of each piece of stone slab ensures a bespoke touch and adds a touch of luxury and sophistication to any bathroom.

Popular choices for a natural stone shower application include marble, travertine, slate, and quartzite, each offering a distinct visual allure. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the beauty of natural stone demands proper care and maintenance to preserve its longevity and allure.

Let’s explore and learn more about the different types of stones and applications available in this space and what is needed to ensure the enduring beauty of a natural stone-clad shower, making it a wise investment in both style and durability.

Types of Natural Stone for Showers

One of the first steps on the journey to design a stunning natural stone shower space involves selecting the perfect natural stone that harmonizes with your aesthetic vision. From marble, travertine, quartz, and lots of other choices in between, different types of natural stone tile can bring a distinct personality to shower applications, allowing for a personalized and visually captivating sanctuary within your bathroom.  Let’s go over some of the more common natural stones suitable for shower applications.


Travertine Tile Shower
Gorgeous Travertine French Patterned Floor with Straight Stacked Cobble Styled Tile on the Walls

Travertine stands out as an excellent choice for shower applications due to its inherent warmth and earthy appeal, creating a timeless and inviting atmosphere firmly planted in the neutral color zone. Even though Travertine is known for being porous, a properly waterproofed substrate makes it a suitable choice for a shower.

Calacatta and Carrara

Calcatta Look Porcelain slab
Stunning White Calcatta Slab Used Throughout this Contemporary Bathroom

Calacatta and Carrara marble are exceptional choices for shower applications, renowned for their elegant and sophisticated appearance characterized by intricate veining and a luxurious, luminous quality that you’ll only get with natural stone and that ceramic tile or porcelain tile can only imitate. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these marbles possess a durable nature, making them well-suited for shower environments, where they effortlessly infuse a sense of opulence and timeless beauty into the space.

Other White Marble

Unique White Marble Shower Well
White Marble Tiles come from many quarries around the world

Other types of White Marble are also an excellent natural stone for shower applications, imparting a sense of timeless luxury and cleanliness to the space. The pristine and luminous appearance of a white marble tile not only elevates the aesthetic of the shower but can also be leveraged out to the floors and walls of the entire bathroom as well, creating a bright, open ambiance and adding serious sophistication to the bathroom.

Quartzite Stone Panels

Quartzite stone panels might be better known for exterior facades, but they also make an exceptional choice for shower applications due to their remarkable combination of durability and aesthetic appeal. Resistant to water, heat, and scratches, these panels ensure longevity in wet environments while offering a sleek and modern design that enhances the overall visual allure of the shower space.


Grey Aksent 3d Panel Bathroom Feature Wall Glass Window
Grey Aksent 3d Panel Bathroom Feature Wall Adjacent to a Glass Window

Basalt emerges as an excellent natural stone for shower applications owing to its inherent durability and resistance to water damage. Its sleek, dark aesthetic adds a contemporary touch to the shower, and since it can be found in a variety of different finishes, including polished, honed, and saw cut, Basalt makes a practical and stylish choice for modern bathroom designs.


Surface Shop Ochre XL Shower 2
Surface Shop Ochre XL Shower

Slate tile stands out as an excellent natural stone for both floor tiles and wall tile shower applications due to its rugged yet refined appearance, adding a touch of natural elegance to the space. Known for its slip-resistant surface and ability to withstand moisture, slate ensures both safety and durability in the shower, making it a practical and aesthetically pleasing choice for contemporary or rustic-inspired bathroom designs.

Selecting Stone Surfaces for Shower Walls and Floors

Selecting the appropriate natural stone for shower walls and floors involves a thoughtful consideration of both aesthetic preferences and practical requirements. While shower walls contribute significantly to the overall visual impact of the space, they are less prone to direct foot traffic and moisture exposure compared to the floors. On the other hand, shower floors demand stones with slip-resistant properties and robust durability. Selecting the right natural stone to balance the visual appeal with the specific demands of each application ensures a harmonious and functional use of natural stone in crafting a shower space that seamlessly blends style and practicality into the bathroom design. Whether you’re doing a complete bathroom remodel or just some quick bathroom renovations, natural stone shower tiles on the walls and floors is a great option to consider.

Shower Walls

When selecting natural stone for shower walls, aesthetics play a crucial role in determining the overall ambiance of the space. Stones like Carrara marble and Calacatta marble, with their intricate veining and luxurious appearance, can impart an elegant and sophisticated look to the shower. Beyond aesthetics, durability is paramount for shower walls, as they are exposed to moisture and daily use. 

Choosing a stone with high durability, such as granite or quartzite, ensures longevity and resilience against water-related wear. Be sure to understand how a certain stone wall covering will interact with the shower doors and don’t forget to consider the maintenance requirements of the natural stone shower walls; opt for stones that are easy to clean and seal, such as polished materials, to maintain the shower walls’ pristine appearance over time.

Shower Floors

When choosing natural stone for the shower floor, prioritizing slip-resistance and durability is paramount to ensure safety and longevity. Materials like travertine and slate are excellent choices due to their naturally textured surfaces, providing traction and minimizing the risk of slipping. It’s also crucial to consider the type and sizing of the natural stone floor tiles and how they will work with the sloped floor of the shower to allow for efficient water drainage, preventing pooling and maintaining the integrity of both the stone and the overall shower structure over time.

Complementing Stone Surfaces

Embracing different natural stones for shower walls and floors offers a captivating opportunity to create a cohesive yet visually dynamic design. By strategically combining contrasting or complementary colors and textures, such as pairing the elegance of Carrara marble walls with the earthy richness of slate floors, one can achieve a harmonious balance that adds visual interest to the shower space. This thoughtful interplay of diverse stones not only elevates the aesthetic appeal but also allows for a customized design that reflects individual style preferences, transforming the shower into a unique and inviting sanctuary.

Creative Tile Layouts and Patterns

Elevating the aesthetic of a shower space goes beyond just the choice of natural stone; it extends to the creative application of tiles through imaginative layouts and patterns. From intricate mosaics, classic running bonds, to elegant herringbone arrangements, the possibilities are as diverse as the stones themselves. Incorporating these artistic layouts not only maximizes the visual impact of natural stone tiles but also introduces a unique character and sophistication to the shower, turning it into a canvas for personalized expression and timeless elegance.

Mosaic Patterns

Mosaic patterns, often characterized by the arrangement of small, intricate pieces of natural stone, offer unparalleled versatility in shower design. These patterns allow for the creation of stunning visual effects, as the varied colors and textures of the individual stones blend seamlessly to form intricate designs. For instance, a basketweave mosaic, with its interwoven tiles, not only adds character to the shower but also introduces a timeless and textured elegance, showcasing the adaptability of mosaic patterns in transforming a shower space into a visually captivating masterpiece.

Interlocking Patterns

Grey Lynia Interlocking Tile Spa Walk in Shower.
Beautfiful Craftsman Home with Charming Front Porch

Surface Shop’s Lynia Interlocking tile, with its interlocking layout and repeating pattern is a popular choice when it comes to natural stone shower applications.  With its long and skinny orientation, this product is right sized for a shower application, making a small space look and feel bigger without becoming visually overwhelming like a smaller mosaic might.  Existing primarily in a range of darker color tones, this tile offers a durable yet beautiful style for any natural stone shower.

Herringbone Pattern

Herringbone Stone Tile Floor
Sun Valley STRATA Stone strips clad this Modern Home facade and entryway

The herringbone pattern, renowned for its popularity, introduces a dynamic and visually striking element to a natural stone shower project. By arranging rectangular tiles at right angles in a zigzag design, the herringbone pattern adds a sense of movement and style to the shower walls or floors. This dynamic layout not only enhances the overall aesthetic but also complements the inherent beauty of natural stone by seeing the veins and marbling from multiple angles, transforming the shower space into a captivating showcase of pattern and texture.

Running Bond

Running Bond
Sun Valley STRATA Stone strips clad this Modern Home facade and entryway

The running bond pattern, a timeless and classic choice, remains a staple in today’s design schemes for its enduring appeal. This pattern, characterized by the offset placement of rectangular tiles in a brick-like fashion, adds a sense of tradition and simplicity to shower design, offering a versatile and enduring aesthetic that complements a variety of decor styles. Products like Surface Shop’s Linear Collection Planc Products as well as the new All Clad Series are great examples of how a classic running bond pattern can still steal the show.

Hexagon Patterns

The hexagon pattern injects a unique and modern touch into shower design, offering a fresh perspective on geometric aesthetics. Hexagon tiles can be employed in diverse ways, from providing all-over coverage to serving as intricate accent details, allowing for creative flexibility in crafting a shower space that seamlessly blends contemporary style with timeless elegance.


Grout Selection and Impacts
Stunning Details adorn these Brownstone Entryways in Park Slope, NY

Grout plays a crucial role in shower design, serving both functional and aesthetic purposes. Beyond its utilitarian function of filling the gaps between tiles, grout significantly contributes to the overall appearance of the shower, influencing the visual cohesion and style of the tiled surface. Make a bold statement by choosing a contrasting color grout against the color of the stone or tile, or make it easier on your installer and opt for a color matched grout which does a better job at hiding craftsmanship / installation related inconsistencies.

Different types of grout, such as cement-based, epoxy, and urethane grouts, offer distinct advantages. Cement-based grouts are traditional and versatile, epoxy grouts are resistant to stains and moisture, while urethane grouts provide a flexible and durable option. 

When it comes to selecting between sanded and unsanded cement-based grout, the choice hinges on the width of the grout lines. Sanded grout, which contains fine sand particles, is ideal for wider grout lines, providing structural integrity and preventing shrinkage. Unsanded grout, lacking sand, is better suited for narrower grout lines, offering a smoother finish that is particularly well-suited for polished or delicate tiles.

Maintenance and Care

Maintenance Guidelines Surface Shop
Remarkable Detail On these Victorian Homes in San Francisco

Ensuring the longevity and enduring beauty of natural stone in showers requires a thoughtful approach to maintenance and care to many other home improvement projects. As an investment in both style and durability, proper upkeep becomes paramount to preserve the distinctive charm of stones like marble, travertine, or slate in your shower no different than you would for a kitchen backsplash or countertop. Let’s dive a little deeper into the intricacies of maintaining natural stone in showers, including best practices for cleaning and sealing as well as preventive measures to safeguard the aesthetic appeal of these timeless materials. Feel free to download our free Long and Short Term Maintenance Guide.

Sealing Natural Stone

Sealing natural stone in showers is paramount to protect against water damage, staining, and the effects of daily wear. For most natural stones, especially porous stones like travertine or slate, a penetrating sealer is recommended, forming an invisible barrier within the stone to inhibit moisture absorption. Beyond just penetrating versus topical products, some sealers are also deemed “Enhancing” which usually means they enhance the face of the stone via a different sheen or finish and intensify the stone’s natural colors and veining. Whichever type of sealer is chosen, you’ll feel better knowing the durability and aesthetics of your stone investment has been looked after.

Sealing Frequency

The frequency of resealing natural stone in a shower application varies based on the specific stone type, level of usage, and what sealer was used in the initial application. Homeowners can gauge the need for resealing by conducting a simple water absorption test, observing how water beads on the surface; if absorption occurs readily, it’s an indicator that resealing is necessary, ensuring the ongoing protection and longevity of the stone in the shower.

Cleaning Products and Routine

To preserve the integrity of natural stone in showers, it is highly recommended to use a pH-balanced, neutral cleaner specifically formulated for these materials. Avoiding acidic or abrasive cleaners is crucial, as they can compromise the stone’s surface and lead to long-term damage. When cleaning, opt for a soft bristle brush or a microfiber cloth to prevent scratches, ensuring a gentle yet effective approach to maintain the pristine appearance of the natural stone in your shower.

Preventing Soap Scum and Mildew

Soap scum and mildew pose common challenges in natural stone showers. Like pretty much any shower tile, a quick squeegee of the water off the face of a flat natural stone tile at the end of a shower helps is an easy daily thing to do. For tiles with irregular surfaces, nook / crannies, etc, regular cleaning using pH-balanced, neutral cleaners is essential for soap scum building up to ensure the removal of residues that can mar the stone’s surface. Maintaining proper ventilation in the shower area helps deter mildew growth.  Running the exhaust fans during and after showering allows for adequate airflow and discourages the conditions conducive to mildew growth.

Deep Cleaning

Even with regular maintenance, a natural stone shower may occasionally require deep cleaning to address the accumulation of soap scum and mineral deposits from water. For a thorough cleanse always contact the stone manufacturer or fabricator for recommendations and instructions on how to clean the area. Some products that might be utilized include stone-specific cleaners that are pH-balanced and gentle enough to preserve the stone’s integrity and poultices, which are mixtures of absorbent materials and cleaning agents and are effective in lifting and removing deep-seated stains.

Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

Caution should be exercised against using harsh chemicals, bleach, or ammonia-based cleaners on natural stone surfaces, as they have the potential to cause irreparable damage. These substances can lead to undesirable consequences such as etching or discoloration, compromising the beauty and longevity of the stone in your shower. Always reach out to the manufacturer or fabricator of the stone products for recommendations on appropriate cleaning products.


Incorporating natural stone into your shower design involves lots of thoughtful consideration, from choosing the right type of stone to its strategic placement and proper maintenance. Opt for stones like marble or travertine for their timeless appeal, and experiment with creative layouts such as mosaics or herringbone patterns to add a touch of individuality. Remember to seal the stone appropriately and employ pH-balanced cleaners to maintain its beauty over the long term. 

The elegance and functionality of natural stone in your bathroom can truly transform the space into a sanctuary. Explore the diverse selection of natural stone products at Surface Shop to embark on a journey of enhancing both the aesthetics and functionality of your shower space today!

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