Natural or Engineered Stone – What’s Best for your New Shower?

Natural Stone used in ESF home installation project for bathroom project in Iowa City, Iowa

Quartz, Marble, Granite – Learn More about Natural and Engineered Stone Types with New or Remodel Bathroom Projects

Common natural or engineered stone types used in showers and bathrooms include quartz, marble, and granite, but other stone types can be suitable. In centuries past, stone was chosen as a building material because of its strength and durability. Today, construction and other building materials offer better strength and nearly equal durability—as well as lower cost. What hasn’t changed—and probably never will is that natural stone symbolizes exclusivity and style. This is also in part because marble and other natural stone exist in limited supplies.

Natural Stone used in ESF home installation project for bathroom project in Iowa City, Iowa
ESF recently installed 3 cm Cambria Linwood countertops in this Iowa City, Iowa bathroom. The walk-in shower features wall stone and floor tiles.

Natural stone in the shower is largely about appearance. It looks great on shower walls, ceilings, and floors, as well as on the floor outside the shower. Where it’s not so great is the areas of performance and maintenance. Stone must be sealed regularly, and it can be difficult to clean if it’s highly textured or has wide grout lines. You can certainly use natural stone in a shower. However, stick to stone tile or slabs and small grout joints. For safety, choose a slip-resistant surface for shower floors. Seal the tile on a regular basis, exactly as recommended by your supplier or installer.

Quartz is an engineered stone that has gained popularity. It will make the maintenance of your bathroom much easier, and it won’t be time-consuming. It is easy to clean and maintain, comes in a variety of patterns and colors. Some of them can even have the appearance of marble or granite. If you are thinking about classic quartz for shower walls, here’s what you should know before deciding – Pros & Cons.


ESF installed Cambria brand Hanstone Calcatta Extra Quartz in a bathroom shower remodel project in Lisbon, Iowa
ESF recently installed shower walls with 2 cm Hanstone Calacatta Extra quartz (search by material).

For many centuries, marble and other types of natural stone have symbolized wealth and power when used for flooring and other surfaces in residential dwellings. In the ancient civilizations of Persia, Greece, and Italy, the hand labor involved in quarrying, cutting, and transporting natural stone meant that it was only the wealthiest citizens—or the government itself—who could afford to use these materials in their buildings.

Today, the principle advantage of marble and other natural stone in a bathroom is that it makes a bold statement of elegance and style. White marble is a popular choice for showers because of its light coloring; most people like light colors in bathrooms. Choose a high grade of white marble to ensure minimal veining and inclusions, which are vulnerable to damage in the shower environment. Lower grades of marble tend to have more veins and inclusions. Some marble has a relatively high iron content and can literally rust and discolor the stone, if  its  not properly sealed.

ESF installed this stone encasement for this rustic bathroom makeover

ESF installed this stone encasement for this rustic bathroom makeover.

Granite, particularly in lighter colors, also works well in showers. Many types of granite are not damaged by acid, ammonia, or alcohol, making them seem somewhat lower-risk or lower-maintenance than marble and some other natural stones, but this is a limited benefit since most people don’t clean with alcohol or ammonia. As for acid, all stone should be cleaned with non-acidic or pH-neutral cleaners.

Stone tiled and pebble stone tiles features on walls and floor of walk in shower
DigiStu / E+ / Getty Images

Issues With Texture and Grout

Many natural stone products are smooth, while others are rough or highly textured. However, keeping conventional tiled shower grout lines clean and mildew-free, may be time consuming. You can imagine what it would be like cleaning a shower that’s basically all grout or at least textured like grout. The lesson here is simple: Use smooth—or relatively cleanable—stone, and if you use stone tile, keep the grout joints small. Grout, like textured stone, is gritty and therefore holds onto all the soap, shampoo, and dirt residue that circulates around in the shower.

Consider an elegant, easy-to-maintain, and durable Cambria quartz stone product from ESF as an alternative to tile in any space.

Visit our Selection Center of check our Online Inventory

At Elite Stone Fabrication, we have a long-standing tradition of providing quality workmanship and quick installations. We’ve set high standards for ourselves, but that is no less than our customers deserve. If your home needs a high-quality surface solution of natural or engineered stone, you can view our entire inventory in the Elite Stone Fabrication Selection Center located at 41 Meyers Drive Lisbon, IA 52253 or call (319) 450-0777. Hundreds of granite, quartz, marble and other stone slabs are available for review and purchase, as well as thousands of slab remnants for projects of a smaller scale.

View Live Inventory