The use of natural stone in bathroom walls has been a staple in modern design for years. Actually, the use of stone predates back to ancient Rome, where stones were the choice for the walls and floors in lavish bathhouses.
This is due to the unique visual impact that stone provides. It can completely change what would otherwise be a plain bathroom into an elegant and modern space. When properly sealed and installed, stone can be your best choice for bathroom walls.
Let’s discuss some of the best options you have on the market and the pros and cons of each one.
Best Stones for Bathroom Walls
Marble is for sure one of your best options. Especially the shades of white, since they are neutral and add elegance and interest with their subtle vein patterns. Most people regard marble as not being such a good choice due to the misconception that it is susceptible to water stains.
To be fair, that is actually not a misconception. Marble can indeed be stained by water, but only if it’s not properly sealed. The sealant applied by competent contractors is designed to prevent that kind of damage. Sealing yearly and cleaning regularly is a must for marble, so be prepared to invest in its maintenance.
Marble can be damaged by the most acidic types of cleaners, so you need to be mindful of that. Also, don’t spare when buying marble! Always go for the top-end products to make sure you have the best available product. Investing now may save you a lot of money down the road.
Almost opposite to the whiteness of marble, you have the dark elegance of slate. Being considered one of the most cost-effective options, slate is cheaper and easier to maintain than marble.
However, you still need to invest and acquire a high-quality product. Some types of slate can deteriorate in wet environments. Like mentioned before, slate is easier to clean than marble, but it still needs to be properly sealed.
More than sealed, you need to apply a non-slip finish to it, especially if you plan to use it on floors as well. Slate becomes an extremely slippery surface when in contact with water, so that is a must to avoid accidents.
Granite, as always, remains the king of durability when it comes to natural stones. When used for bathroom walls, it will usually be cheaper than marble, comparing to the high-quality marble you’re going to need, as we discussed later.
It is also the most durable compared to marble and slate since it won’t react with the more acidic substances usually appearing in the bathroom, like shampoos and soaps. It is also easier to clean. Just like slate, it still needs to be sealed with a non-slip finish, as it is also very slippery.
Think of granite as a superior form of slate, both in quality, maintenance, and variety of colors.
Travertine being used as a stone in bathroom walls is starting to grow in recent years. It is a form of limestone found in mineral springs, so it is very familiar with wet environments. Travertine comes in earthy tones, from white to rust.
It is harder to choose the correct travertine since some forms are more porous than others. But even the least porous forms still need to be sealed, preferably with a non-slip finish as well. If you want a different and impactful choice of stone for your bathroom, maybe travertine is the way to go.
Maintenance of Stone in Bathroom Walls
Most people believe natural stones are harder and more expensive to take care of, so it is not a good choice for bathroom walls. This affirmation is partially wrong. While it’s true that stone can be tricky to properly maintain, is not that much harder than other materials.
The truth is that in a bathroom wall, every material will eventually be worn out by water. It doesn’t matter what you choose, in the end, you will still have to invest time and money in cleaning and maintenance.
Most stones will need to be sealed every year, preferably with waterproof sealing. This seal must also encompass any grout lines, as water can easily seep in the cracks between tiles.
It is also important for the longevity of your stone wall to clean it regularly, at least once a week. Don’t overdo it when choosing a product, a simple non-acidic neutral clearer will be enough to maintain your stone clean.
Make sure to always remove the excess water after a shower. To do that you can use a squeegee or any other similar tool. Make sure your bathroom is properly ventilated as well. Open the windows after a shower and don’t let the bathroom too enclosed.
Choosing the right stone
Choose the right stone can get complicated. Is not only a question of which one is objectively better, it always depends on your project and your goals with it. To make the best possible decision, your should rely on the help of professionals in the field.