Cultured Marble vs onyx collection vs solid surface shower pan
1st off, I am a long time lurker in these forums and want to thank everyone who contributes of their time and knowledge. I have learned so much from reading gardenweb. As a first time homeowner I don't know how I'd survive without this site!
We are redoing a master bath, sooner than we had anticipated. We bought a forclosure 2 years ago and the master was a wreck with obvious water damage from the previous home owner who was not a competent DIYer. So we gutted it and pretty much used it as a storage room. Now our hall bath is having a water problem putting the master bath on the front burner on a shoe-string like budget.
We are doing almost all the work. As for the shower, a tile base is NOT an option. Solid pan it is. The shower will be in a 3 wall alcove 42 deep x 70 long. Yes, an oddball size but it is what it is. I tried to convince my husband that we could make a 36 x 60 Kohler cast iron shower pan work and use the remaining 10 inches for a not -deep-enough bench / ledge. But after taping off those dimensions I really dislike the 36" dimension for bathing dogs and kids. So my husband is right (hate to admit it) and 42" deep it is.
Oddball size = custom pan = $$$$.
I priced cultured marble in plain white at a local fabricator. It was around $750 with a 10% upcharge for white. Delivery fee was reasonable and we install it.
I then looked at the onyx collection at Lowes and was first quoted $1400 for a 42 x 70 base. When I returned to Lowes to look at more options (US Marble, Transolid, Swanstone) I was requoted $2,000 for an onyx collection base.
I contacted grifform and their price was around $2300 for a solid surface base. A manufacturer in Ohio was within $10 of grifform but shipping was far cheaper as I'm in Ohio.
For those of you who have experience with these type of materials used as shower pans, is the solid surface / onyx collection that much better to justify 3x the price? Is onyx collection or corian more durable than CM?
For those of you who have had cultured marble pans (I'm thinking of you raehelen), how are they holding up? Any regrets? Would you do it differently?
Any stains? Any cracking / crazing around the drain? I come out of the shower looking like a lobster so I'm afraid my hot showers might damage a CM base. I will measure the water temperature tomorrow morning and see how hot my showers are.
All I'm looking for is a simple white or possibly grey pan. Subway tile for the alcove surround.