Tile or stone in my shower and bathroom?

When you are either building or remodeling a bathroom, do you ever wonder which product to use? I have seen some beautiful showers made of marble, granite, and other natural stones. I have also seen a lot of showers and bathrooms made of porcelain tiles that look stunning. What are some of the factors to help determine which one to use?

Foremost, the first thing I would look at is your budget. Stone is always going to be more expensive than regular tile. It has to be mined and finished because it comes from the earth and it takes a lot of work to get it from Spain, Brazil, China, Italy or any other stone quarry to you. It will always be the most unique in the number of various shades and grain compared to regular tile. You will also find that you can cut it into various shapes and sizes for unique designs and moldings.

The downside to natural stone is that there are different harnesses in each type of stone. If you use a stone that is softer for high traffic areas, it will show wear easier and quicker. Stone is also more chemically sensitive. Cleaning products and other things around a home can damage the stone by either removing the shine it had, causing pitting, or staining the stone. There are sealers to help with this, but they may need to be reapplied over time to protect the stone. If you have a polished stone, you may have to have it polished with equipment over time to keep the luster of the finish it has.

Porcelin tile is a beautiful tile. It can be found in hundreds of colors, styles, and shapes. It is also more cost effective considering how expensive tile installations are to begin with. You not only pay for the tile or stone, but you have backer boards, underlayment, mortar, grout, and other products used for the installation. The higher quality porcelain tile have rectified edges which allow for smaller and tighter grout joints. Less grout to have to clean over time. They also have a number of visuals that allow them to look like natural stone. They are also chemical resistant. They hold up against bathroom cleaners, body oils, makeup, and heavy minerals in water so much better. The polished surfaces can be cleaned to look new again without mechanically polishing the surface.

In the end, it is your decision. Do you want the beauty of natural stone and the unique colors and styles it provides? Or, do you want beauty with easier maintenance and a lower budget? Whatever you choose, it is expensive to install any type of tile whether natural or not. You want to talk it through with everyone involved about how you will maintain the surface and if it will be the right fit for you. What it looks like 10 to 20 years down the road will depend on how you take care of the product and if you got the right product for your project.