Tile for the shower walls

kmcgAugust 24, 2012

I have two finalists for the shower wall tile layout, but would love to get new ideas that involve some combination of these materials. The shower base is Kohler cast iron, white. Floors are a honed cararra marble look-alike porcelain. My husband has vetoed color, but will go for either of these 2 options. First is pictured here (very roughly), with the lower half of the walls tiled in polished cararra lookalike, topped by a white chair rail, with the top half of the shower being American Olean ice white subway tile. I might end up cutting the marble in half so that I have 6x12 oversized subway tiles for the bottom. I like the idea of starting with larger format tiles on the bottom, and working up to a smaller format.

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kmcg

Now here's where I go out on a limb, and it's really hard to make this look as good as I envision it will look when it's actually on the walls.

The bottom will be large format subway tiles in plain white - 4x12 is the probably size. Then a chair rail. Then a band (maybe 12-18") of white arabesque tile. Then the top 1/3 or so in smaller white subway.

Do you like either option? Hate em? Have ideas of other ways to use these materials? The only thing off limits is combining the marble with the arabesque. Hubby can take only so much - one or the other, but not both.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 1:38PM
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numbersjunkie

I like the first one. The second seems like too many shapes and sizes going on.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 2:33PM
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greendesigns_gw

I would NOT want to clean all of that grout with the arabesque. Even if you used epoxy grout, that's too many crevices for yuck to hide. Plus, it's too busy visually.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Pipdog

I like #1 as well. I like mixing shapes and sizes, but the arabesque doesn't work for me in a bathroom.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 4:35PM
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wifisker

I love the arabesque tile and have it on one of the bathroom floors in our new house BUT, for your bathroom walls, I prefer option #1.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 4:44PM
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kmcg

I really appreciate the input! It's so helpful to get new eyes on this.

I wonder if I could install the arabesque in the dog house :)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 5:30PM
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writersblock

Another vote for #1. What is the polished carrara marble look-alike?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:21PM
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kmcg

Thanks for the vote, writersblock.

The cararra look-alike is something Home Depot has right now on special purchase. I don't even know the name, but it's only 1.99 sf! I visited all the big tile showrooms to find something that coordinated well with my floor tile, which is Iris USA's Marmi. Nothing looked good enough to jump on it, but the HD stuff has surprisingly similar coloring and veining.

This whole problem could have been avoided if Daltile hadn't suddenly stopped making its Navelli Cararra Star - which was beautiful in both matte and gloss. But I missed out on the last of that, so I've been in a big scramble over tile.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:16PM
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beeps

I like #1 also - although I'm not sure about the chair rail. Just seems like a place for water and such to collect. In the photo and on my screen the color doesn't look quite right either.

I hear you about Daltile discontinuing things often. I had to replace my floor tile and fireplace tile... so far. Will see what else I may have to substitute by the time they actually get to the point in my build where they need the tile - 3-4 months from now!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:38PM
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bill_vincent

In pic #1, that alomst looks like a tile called "Naxos". Technically, it's not a carrara look alike, but rather a calacotta gold look alike. That's what thhis is, and that first pic looks exactly like it:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 9:12AM
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kmcg

Thanks Bill - I may sound a little confused about carrara/calacatta. My floor tile, shown here with a possible counter option, is called statuario veneto, but it has a noticeable amount of pale brown veining:

I think HD does call the porcelain in my first post calacatta. So I was pretty surprised when it coordinated so well with the floor tile. (I could go with the floor tile's companion gloss tile but it's pretty expensive and I would not be able to return it like you can with HD tile.)

Anyhow, I was wondering about beeps' concern about the chair rail gathering water/scum. Bill, you seem to like using chair rail. Any problems with it?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 12:14PM
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writersblock

Thanks for the tile info, kmcg. Haven't seen anything like that at our HD.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 1:52PM
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dekeoboe

I'm with beeps regarding the color of the chair rail. It looks too white on my monitor.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:59PM
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kmcg

About the chair rail: it matches the subways but not the marble tile, which is more of an off-white background. I was hoping it would be okay since the chair rail's job is to be a divider between 2 different looks. Maybe I need to find a pale to medium gray mosaic or liner to fill that role.

I don't know at this point; I feel like there's no combination I'm really going to love, yet I always see such nice showers on gardenweb. I don't want to miss an opportunity to make the shower something other than blah, but I'm kind of out of ideas on how to do this without glitzing it up too much for my husband's tastes.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 2:13PM
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bill_vincent

Anyhow, I was wondering about beeps' concern about the chair rail gathering water/scum. Bill, you seem to like using chair rail. Any problems with it?

No problem with water/ scum, but I DID try and talk them into stopping the chair rail outside the shower. The reason is that now, when the glass gets installed, they'd have to cut into the chair rail to allow the glass to sit flush. It CAN be done, but that means the added expense of using stationary pieces of glass at either end of the curb, and a swinging door in the middle, rather than being able to use a sliding door.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:08PM
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kmcg

Thanks Bill - I will have tile just on the inside of the shower, not continuing around the walls as wainscote. So I was thinking I might have to stop the chair rail a few inches in to allow for shower glass installation. I do have the problem of how to end the chair rail; DalTile has quit making the corner pieces, so they are hard to get ahold of.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:30PM
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ae2ga

@kmcg - Is that arabesque tile with no bevels? Who is the vendor?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:38PM
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bill_vincent

kmcg-- Miter the end of the last piece of chair rail, and cut a "plug" to fill the end, like so:

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:45PM
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kmcg

Thanks Bill - I so needed that visual!

ae2 - That tile is from Home Depot online, by Merola. They call it lantern tile. There's no bevel, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. If only I could use it!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:02PM
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treasuretheday

I like Option #1 best also, although the white chair rail looks a little off-shade on my monitor as well. If you're looking for an alternative to the chair rail as a transition between tiles, would you consider a metal-finish pencil molding? You wouldn't have to worry about matching the color to either tile.

My shower has a different look than what you're going for but this may give you an idea...

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 9:24AM
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