Applying natural stone tiles in the shower area requires a perfect blend of art and science. An ideal choice of material and its aesthetics; plus the accurate technique of installation ensures years-long beauty and safety. Even the slightest mistake could bring in trouble. And that is why many homeowners avoid using natural stone tiles in showers, especially marble tiles.
However, installing stone tiles is not as difficult as it seems. If you simply love the grandeur a marble or granite tile brings to your bathroom, you only need to do some careful preparations. Follow this brief guide to understand how you can go about the installation safely.
1. Choose The Right Material
Not all natural stones are suitable for shower flooring and walls. The most popular among all are marble tiles, granite tiles, and slate tiles.
Light colour marble is commonly used in showers as it evokes a sense of hygiene, calmness, and gentleness. It is important to choose only high-grade light colour marble that comes with minimal veining and inclusions.
This ensures the protection of the shower from damages. And hence high-quality white marble such as Andy White proves to be a great option.
Granite is a dense and highly durable natural stone which makes it one of the best options for showers. It offers myriad custom possibilities with colours, veining, and finishes that work well in showers. Besides, the best quality, granite floor tiles can easily endure alcohol, acid, and ammonia. As a result, its maintenance-related risks are very low. That said, all-natural stones must be cleaned only with non-acid, pH-neutral cleaners.
Slate is one of the most extensively used natural stones in showers. The material is available in a wide range of colours, veining, sizes and is also a cost-effective option. However, it is crucial to choose high-quality slate tiles. Inferior quality can flake and deteriorate in a wet environment over time. Himachal White Natural Slate with dazzling white and golden specks is tough, chemical-resistant, and best suited for showers. For a bold statement, Silver Grey Polished slate tiles are a great addition.
2. Measure The Appropriate Amount Of Slope
Not having the right amount of slope means your natural stone tile investment is going in vain. When showers don’t have proper sloping, the standing water begins to serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Eventually, it will also develop leaks. Thus, ensure to hire a professional to check the required slope for drainage. Typically, the shower floor has a half-inch drop per every 12 inches from the shower walls to the drainage.
3. Carry Out A Flood Test
Now, when you are ready to install the tiles, carry out a flood test. It is a quality control check that confirms 0% leakage before the tiles are installed. To conduct the test, block the drain with a test plug and fill the shower base with water. Ensure the drain is 100% blocked. Let the test go on for a complete 24 hours. If there is any drop in the water level, it may indicate a leak. Remove the plug and see that the slope is adequate and weep holes are clear. It is easier to solve the leakage problem in the shower before the stone tiles are installed.
4. Seal It...And Seal It
Natural stones are porous and can get discolored by moisture. Especially the stone tiles that have high iron composition may fade and rust in a wet environment. Therefore, the only preventive strategy to protect the floor tiles from water damage is sealing them at least once a year.
Of course, you need to seal it immediately after installation as well. Use a penetrating-type sealer and double-check the level of waterproofing required. Sometimes one coat may not be sufficient. Also, ensure grout joints are small as they can get permeable.
5. Ensure Proper Mortar Coverage
While applying mortar, avoid using “back buttering” or “dot” techniques. Instead, get complete and even coverage with the mortar. Just like the leakage factor, space behind the natural stone tiles will attract bacterial growth when water seeps through. Tiles usually require a minimum of 95% mortar coverage to remain effective in wet environments.
6. Match It With Non-Slip Finish
Choosing the right finish is one of the most vital factors to consider before applying natural stone tiles. Whether it is granite floor tiles, marble tiles, or slate tiles each one can have a custom finish. To achieve a non-slippery surface, you can go for a leathered, tumbled, bush-hammered or chiseled finish. These are the best and safest finishes for shower flooring.
7. Bathroom-Specific Natural Stone Tiles Quality Marble Exports (India)
Quality Marble Exports (India) is one of the largest marble suppliers and granite suppliers in India. We have been serving customers with premium quality granite floor tiles, marble tiles, and slate tiles for over three decades. Most importantly, we fabricate and supply custom-made tiles for a specific application.
Likewise, we offer natural stone tiles specifically made for bathroom areas. They have a moisture absorption rating and an impervious rating that ensures protection against water damage and easy cleaning.
We recommend our customers, check the grade level before purchasing natural stone floor tiles. First-grade stones are of the best quality. But if you have a limited budget and few minor defects are not a concern, second-grade products are a reasonable option. That said, we at Quality Marble Exports (India), supply only Grade 1 natural stone products that ensure 100% durability and safety.