What Are Alternatives to Tile in the Shower?


Many individuals enjoy the beauty of tile shower decorations and have done so for many generations. Few materials are as durable as tile. As long as you clean a tile shower regularly, no film will accumulate and no mold will grow in the grout. You may also want to consider alternatives to a tile shower. Let's take a look at other materials on the market.

Shower Panels

You can install shower panels over the existing tiles in a shower. The panels run into the shower tray rather than behind it. These panels, essentially wall cladding, are waterproof. To clean them, simply wipe them with soapy water. You don’t need to use special tile cleaners.

You can buy shower panels in many different finishes. You can choose solid colors, aluminum, or wood effects, plus many more. The downside is that they don’t always look so great. Some feel like plastic and look a little on the cheap side.

Look at the offerings from a number of different manufacturers before you make a choice. The variety of options and the ease of use are the positive aspects of the product. Some people also use this cladding throughout their bathrooms, as well as in the shower, to create an overall effect.

Stainless Steel

Consider stainless steel in your shower. It comes in sheets, which you cut to fit the shower walls. You’ll need something heavy, such as 28-gauge. Allow overlaps where the walls join and mount over concrete board, just as you would with tile. The board doesn’t need any special preparation. Use 1.25-inch or 1.5-inch screws to attach the sheet and a finish washer. They will give a pleasing, rivet-like effect. Apply silicone caulk on all the seams.

Solid Slab

To make your bathroom fit for an emperor, consider using solid slabs of marble or granite. They aren’t cheap, but if you look around a little, you may find some better deals.

Like tile, you have to install marble or granite over a cement board. The slabs need to be 0.5-inches thick or more. Attach them as you would tile, then use a clear silicone caulk between the panels for best effect. For a Roman effect, some people have put mosaics in their showers.

Shower Enclosure

You can also buy a 1-piece shower enclosure, which includes the walls and shower base. You still need to fit it into the appropriate space, over concrete board, and fit all the plumbing.

A shower enclosure does eliminate the need for caulk or grout, as with a tile shower or the above alternatives. Some shower enclosures look cheap. They can also be awkward to fit unless your plumbing matches precisely.