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Thread: ceramic tile vs solid surface shower

  1. #1

    Default ceramic tile vs solid surface shower

    I am looking to remodel my bath and want to eliminate my fiberglass shower. I hate cleaning shower door tracks. I don't want shower curtains either. I am considering a walk in shower but I don't want to exchange one cleaning problem for another. (there is no chance my husband would actually dry the walls after showering!)Would ceramic tile be a cleaning nightmare for me? Would a solid surface like Corian, Silestone, etc. be a better alternative. Thanks for any help or guidance out there.

  2. #2
    Engineer chassis's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    SE Pennsylvania


    Showers need to be cleaned no matter what surface you have. Just a fact of life, with minerals in the water, soap scum and other oddities.

    Having said that, I don't see much of a difference cleaning tile vs. solid surface. I have both in my house and they have their nuances. Solid surface has no grout lines, but it does have caulk joints where the panels meet. Mildew builds up in the joints and you need to scrape out the old caulk and make it new again about every 18 months or so.

    Ceramic tile has grout joints which, over time, will be where the gunk builds up.

    As far as a door or a curtain, you need one. Unless you are talking about a truly walk in, doorless shower. Those require a fair amount of square footage to do right. Not sure how you're going to avoid cleaning the door, no matter what kind you have. Frameless doors have fewer nooks and crannies, but it's a shower, and stuff builds up. Curtains get scummy in a few months and need to be replaced.

    If you're looking for a shower that doesn't have to be cleaned, you may be looking for something that doesn't exist. If you have the floor area (square footage) available to do a walk in, doorless shower, that is probably what you are looking for. Not cheap though. You need more tile for a walk-in than, for example, a 60" niche or neo-angle shower. And the tile needs to be installed, after a considerable amount of plumbing, framing and cement board work is done.

    I just remodeled my master bath in the range of $10k-$20k, and I did all the work myself. The shower was custom glass neo-angle. I would think for a large doorless shower, you would be looking above $20k for the whole bath remodel, if someone else does the work. Probably just under $20k if you are doing the work.

  3. #3


    Corian or Corian product will give you the easiest clean-up. Squeegee after a shower goes a long way on keeping it clean.

    We also recently upgraded a shower, used Corian my wife loves it.


  4. #4
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    It's just my opinion and I would use ceramic with the grout seams in my house without question.

    Personally because I think it will look nicer a lot longer.......

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    the glaze on tile is a lot harder than corian and will likely look the same for longer. Depends on which one you like better. I like tile and real stone better than the simulated look in the synthetics even though they are getting better. Each needs a proper installation to last.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6

    Default Tile and Grout cleaning

    If you choose tile or stone, make sure your tile setter uses epoxy grout.
    (If your tile setter does not want to use this grout, get another tile setter that is staying current within their trade.)

    Epoxy grouts are very easy to keep clean due to their low moisture absorpancy. It is difficult to stain if the curing procedures have been followed properly.
    Mold and mildew in grout is a major problem due to absorpancy factors. This will not happen in epoxy grout.

    Non sanded grouts typically used in wet areas can still grow mold and will break down over time if proper maintenance is not followed.

    Epoxy grout is specified in hospitals and food manufacturing plants up here in Canada.

    Last edited by Terry; 02-05-2006 at 10:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    Today's shower door track designs are much more user friendly than in the past. The are open to the inside, so cannot trap water.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member sulconst2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    old bridge nj


    a good option to install to help keep a shower clean is a seperate handheld personal shower. its good to spray off walls and doors. then a squeege to wipe the glass. helps between cleanings. plus a thicker (3/8) glass comes with less frame. which is easier to keep clean.

    surfaces don't matter. either still need to be cleaned. imo

  9. #9
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
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    Talking corian or acrylic is the best route

    the tile will fail you eventually, its just how soon

    I have tile in my house in a recent bath re-model and I am keeping a sharp eye on it...

    its what the wife wanted and its ok for now but I know before I die I will be doing it all over again...

    I have selaed off all the main grout lines (corners , edjes and walls lines)
    with a heavy bead of acrylic grout
    then a clear bead of silicone......

    the corian is a great choice, but can be pricey but will last forever.....

    also you can buy sheets of synthetic marble too that work just like corian..

    their are also resurfaceing companies springing up everywhrer that install sheets of acrylic panelling that they claim will give you a lifetime warranty on the panels... they are not a bad product for what you pay.......

    another thing to do, put a good bath fan inthat shower and you dont have to squeege it out every time you use it....
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-06-2006 at 04:09 AM.


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