What Are the Best Tiles for Shower Walls?

What Are the Best Tiles for Shower Walls?

Best Tiles

You've been dreaming of a bathroom renovation for a while. Your mental images have included a gorgeous tiled shower. Now that your remodeling plans are becoming a reality, you may be wondering whether practical considerations will force you to scrap your shower ideas.

There's no need to sacrifice beauty for utility. The best tiles for shower walls are water-resistant, durable and attractive.

Characteristics to Look for in Shower Tiles

Water Resistance

As one of the wettest spots in your house, your shower must be made of a material that can withstand moisture.

Some materials, such as glass, are naturally water-resistant. Others need additional treatment to make them that way. For example, ceramic and porcelain tiles may be glazed during the installation process. Natural stone tiles can be made water-resistant by applying sealant after installation.

Durability

Wall tiles don't usually take as much of a beating as floor tiles, but you'll still want them to look nice for a long time to come.

When it comes to wall tiles, scratches and chips may be some of your biggest durability concerns. The most durable tiles won't break easily. For those times when accidents do occur, materials that are a uniform color throughout may do the best job of hiding imperfections.

Care

Cleaning the bathroom may not be anyone's favorite chore, but the right tiles can make this job a little easier. To simplify everyday cleaning, opt for smooth tiles that can be quickly wiped down. Tiles that hide smudges and water splashes may reduce the number of daily polishings you need to perform.

It's smart to think about grout care as well. Larger tiles have less grout to clean. Of course, that doesn't negate the idea of using small mosaic tiles on your walls. Just consider pairing small tiles with a darker grout that won't stain as easily.

Color

There's no one "right" answer about which color tiles to use in the bathroom. You can select this feature based on the decor that you envision.

Bathrooms tend to be on the small side, so some experts suggest using light colors to help expand the feel of the room.

For a peaceful vibe in your bathroom, you may want to choose shower walls that reflect elements of nature. This may include an assortment of earthy tans and browns or stone tiles with natural veining.

Best Materials for Shower Walls

With these characteristics in mind, what type of tiles are best for your shower walls? Some of the most popular tile choices are ceramic, porcelain, glass and natural stone.

Ceramic

Glazed ceramic tiles are some of the most affordable choices for shower walls. They're reasonably durable, especially if carefully installed.

Ceramic offers variety. You can find these tiles in a wide range of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes.

Porcelain

Like ceramic, smooth porcelain comes in a rainbow of styles, and it offers plenty of water-resistance.

You'll probably pay more for porcelain than ceramic, but for your money, you'll enjoy better durability. Plus, consistent color throughout the tile means that the rare scratch won't be very visible.

Glass

Tiles made of glass give bathrooms a unique look. They're naturally reflective, which can brighten up a small room. Also, glass may be a nice complement to a glass shower door.

Unfortunately, glass collects water spots and fingerprints. On the other hand, it's a pretty easy material to clean.

Natural Stone

For an elegant bathroom look, natural stone is one of the very best choices. You simply can't beat its stunning beauty, and it may contribute nicely to the resale value of your home.

Stone tiles do require some maintenance. For example, they should be sealed after installation to make them suitable for use in the shower. With proper care, though, marble, granite and travertine tiles can be unquestionably lovely additions to your bathroom design.

This bathroom features Carrara marble throughout:

Design for Your Shower Walls

Practical considerations like durability and care are, of course, important to consider during the tile-selection process, but beautiful bathrooms aren't built on practicality alone. You'll also want to prioritize aesthetics.

If your shower, like the ones in the video below, features a glass enclosure, design may be even more important since the walls will be on display for all to see.

Everyone has different tastes, so you'll have to choose the design that best suits your style and the overall look of the bathroom.

You can use small mosaic tiles, such as in this bathroom:

Alternatively, you could choose basic white subway tiles for a classic look that complements nearly any floor design:

Some people like all-over patterns, but others choose to limit the busiest patterns to just one section of the room. Here, the green mosaic tiles serve as a bold accent:

Highlighting one section with a dark border is another way to add visual interest to your tile layout. As you can see here, a black border can be a good complement for light gray tiles:

For a truly stand-out look, consider a wall mosaic, such as this ornamental design:

This shower takes a more organic approach with a floral pattern that stretches across one wall:

For help in choosing the best tiles for shower walls, consult the professionals at Artsaics. We'll listen to your design ideas and guide you toward suitable tile options. With the pros on your side, you can count on a smooth installation process and beautiful results that will last for years to come.

About the Author

Nelson Londono founded Artsaics in 1998 after learning the ins and outs of designing custom artistic tiles and stone mosaics. The New York-based surfacing company specializes in producing stunning artistic tiles & stone designs with fine natural stone from around the world. Nelson and his team's passion lies in working with their hands, heads and hearts to make each and every space a unique reflection of self expression. You can learn more about Artsaics here.