Cultered Marble Or Tile For Shower

sandy808May 17, 2011

I have never had a tile shower but they are sure beautiful when I see pictures of them. They look rich and would tie in with our home beautifully. However, I am concerned about cleaning ease. If the grout is sealed well is it an issue? Would you have a tile shower again if you had it to do over?

Cultered marble is very easy to clean, (at least at first) which I know from having it in our previous house. The downside is that after a while the gel coat does wear and it becomes more difficult to clean. One cultered marble manufacturer says it has about a 12 year life, and I have to agree witrh that. I also can't get past the "it's plastic" scenario.

I'm trying to go with as many natural materials as possible in this house but I also don't want to make an upkeep nightmare.


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What about real marble? I have a friend who put that in her showers and she says they are a breeze to clean.

I don't keep my grout sealed and have never had a problem with the tile. I have to clean the scum buildup, but would on any surface.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 1:26PM
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I thought about real marble. Not sure what the cost is, but it might not be much more than a really nice tile job. The trick is finding a good fabricator.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 6:22PM
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Sandy, marble also comes in tiles!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 10:09PM
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Sandy, I have a porcelain tiled shower and would do it again.
The walls are 16 or 18 inch squares of Italian unglazed porcelain from Lowes. The floor is the 1/2 inch mosaic porcelain tile also from Lowes, chosen because it will not be slippery with the grouting it requires. And it made it easier to slope the floor toward the drain. In this shower, the ceiling is not tiled, but I suppose it could be.

We have had this almost two years now, and no problem with mildew or anything, it is easy to clean, even though DH keeps putting the bar of soap under the shower spray.

On the floor of our other bath, we have porcelain 2" mosaic by the same Italian company, and it looks like tumbled marble. It would work on the walls as well as the floor. I like the color, called RIALTO BLANCO or white. Not grained like a gray/white marble.

If you want marble, I'd consider the tiles for the walls in a larger format, and then get something like the 2" mosaic for the floor. Check Lowes and Home Depot they have just about the same type of stuff but different colors.

BTW, we run the fan for about 20 minutes after showering, and that removes the moisture, the biggest contributor to dirty grout problems. Every now and then, I splash bleach on the floor and in the corners of the shower, to make sure nothing takes hold and grows. We've had no issues with the tiles ever.

Knock on wood.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 1:09PM
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I have had both in past homes,and went with the cultured marble again in this build, not only for the master bath shower but also the tub surround in the main bathroom.

I dislike cleaning grout which after several years does discolor whether it's sealed or not. (Trying to seal wall tile is a pain in itself especially if you have small tiles). Cultured marble looks good, plus is super easy to clean with the squeegee.

DH and I are getting older and want to streamline all chores!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 12:13PM
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I love our all one piece plastic shower/tub enclosures. They do have the lines in them to look like tiles but it is only a line in the mold. They are easy to clean. Never have to worry about water getting behind them through grout lines.Clean them with soft cloths not cleanser.I usually use shampoo to wash them. The daily clarifying shampoo on wash cloth. Cuts the soap slime nicely. They last a long time when cared for nicely.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 1:32PM
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I have a white tiled shower, and the grout is practically black after 30 years. The grout will NOT come clean no matter what I do to it, and I am so tired of trying, Our shower has a glass door and is dark too, now I know to keep it open and the light on, but too late. All I can do is start over.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 11:21PM
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Tile sure sounds like it can possibly be a nightmare, after reading about a few of your experiences. However, I have been told there are new grouts that are good now. Maybe, it's all marketing hype. I just don't know.

I'm O.K. with cultured marble now,(I think) IF we can get a quality job. I don't remember what I've told you all about the poor recent experinece we've had with a cultured marble comapny who just installed our shower (I have a house building burn-out thread going).

The panels aren't glued down well, and there is a half inch gap if looking down from the top between the cement board and the back panel. The bottom is flaring out at the bottom on one end panel. The soap and shampoo holders look used and the gel coat has been damaged down to the resin on two of them. Gel coat is peeling from the edges as well, on one of them. The back panel looks like it has ripples in it. One panel has a couple deep scratches that I can catch my fingernail in. The bench seat creaks. The back wall is much duller (not as shiny) compared to the other walls. The panels were supposed to be half inch thick. They are a quarter inch. My husband paid half so far (despite the owner wanting full payment), because all the trim pieces are not on yet, and my not being happy with the shower. He should not have paid him a cent.

The owner finally returned our phone call last week after we left numerous messages. He said he would come and look at it. He didn't show up. More phone calls. We get the machine.

If any of you know of a good, and reputable company in North Florida, please let me know. This shower has to be torn out.

At this point I'm afraid to trust anyone to do our shower at all.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 12:09AM
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If you're concerned with the groutdiscoloring and absorbing water, use epoxy grout which is impervious to most common household liquid solutions such as wine, alcohol, detergent, kerosene.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 1:14AM
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"I love our all one piece plastic shower/tub enclosures. They do have the lines in them to look like tiles but it is only a line in the mold."

I like mine too. haven't used it yet tho. my sister had them in her mfg home and they were just as nice the day she sold it as the day she got it. It was mostly just her there tho. But I figure it'll only be me here - no kids to worry about poking a hole in it or anything. I love the look of tile but hate grout! So I figure I'm better off with this. One of my main priorities in this 'new' place is ease in cleaning!

Sandy - that is just terrible about the shower! I'd let him know he won't get any good output from you about his qualifications for putting in a shower.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:45PM
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I had my shower tiled because I didn't want to cover up the window - I think the shower tub enclosures would be great for cleaning though. I know you have to seal grout periodically - there are different grades of sealer and of course the expensive stuff is much better. Which reminds me, I have to put sealing the grout on my list of chores.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 11:24AM
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