Choosing the Best Tile for Your Steam Shower

Posted on Jun 8, 2018
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Featured Image: Steam Shower with Ceramic Tile

A steam shower is a luxurious addition to any bathroom—a perfect way to sit back, relax and steam away the stresses of your day. If you’re considering having a steam shower installed in your home, one of the major decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the perfect tile for the job.

There are a few factors to consider, so check out these tips to make sure you choose the best material for your needs.

Stone Tile

Natural stone like marble has a lot of aesthetic appeal for many homeowners due to its classic appearance. However, due to the porous nature of stone, natural stone tile shouldn’t be your first choice for a steam shower—despite its popularity. Stone tile will absorb steam (leading to moisture problems and affecting the tile’s appearance over time) and it also dissipates heat, drawing warmth away from your steam shower instead of keeping it in. Ultimately, this means a stone tile shower stall will require more electricity or a larger steam generator.

If you have your heart set on natural stone, remember that a steam shower does not have the same requirements as a regular shower. Just because a tile can be used in a shower doesn’t necessarily mean it should be used in a steam room.

Image: More Wood Grigio Tile with R-11 Anti-Slip Finish from Arizona Tile

Porcelain Tile

is durable and non-porous, which means it will not absorb steam in the way that stone will. In fact, ceramic tile retains heat, so it acts as an insulator for your steam shower, keeping warmth right where you need it. In all, porcelain tile is an excellent choice for a tiled steam shower.

If it’s looks you’re worried about, there’s no reason to discount porcelain tile. Today’s porcelain and ceramic tile offerings include an increasing number of beautiful colors and varieties designed to mimic the look of real stone (including marble), wood-look, concrete and more.

To make the case for a porcelain steam shower even more appealing, recent innovations have made it possible to add an a unique anti-slip finish to porcelain tile without changing its appearance. This is called R-11 Anti-Slip finish, and it’s a great option for wet areas like your steam shower. Use it on your steam stall’s floors to keep it safe, comfortable and stylish.

The Bottom Line

We recommend avoiding natural stone altogether for steam showers—especially very porous stones like marble or limestone. Even if they are sealed regularly, steam will inevitably find its way in, ruin the durability and appearance of the tile and letting heat escape. Instead, opt for porcelain tile—with an anti-slip finish on the floors—to ensure your steam shower stands up to years of enjoyment.

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