White marble homes are having a renaissance - given their popularity since ancient Greece and Rome, you can make the argument that they’ve never gone out of style! These days, airy white interiors are still taking center stage when it comes to home improvements and new build trends, and white marble remains the must-have for adding a feel of luxury - from a glamorous Calacatta Gold backsplash to a luminous white marble shower!
It’s natural to want to cover your entire shower - walls, niche, bench, and floor - with white marble tiles. After all, they’re inherently beautiful and allow you to create a luxurious spa shower at home! With that in mind, there are a few things to consider to keep your white marble shower tiles gorgeous and glowing over the years.
We love the way big format 12x14 Honed Calacatta Gold marble tiles showcase the dramatic natural veining of the Italian marble on the floors with a soft matte finish that helps increase grip and reduce slips for a wet shower floor. Pair classic marble field tiles with a micro mosaic wall design for a gorgeous detail!
While white marble tiles remain a designer favorite for their elegance and upscale feeling, they can become a high-maintenance building material. This is especially true in a shower, where porous materials - like natural stone - can react with cleaning products, hair and body products, and even the water from your shower head.
Thanks to new and significantly improved products that allow us to better care for this beautiful stone, now it’s easier to keep white marble shower walls and floor tiles clean, and even remove some undesired stains that once may have been permanent. At the same time, a thoughtful tile design approach can help minimize the appearance of stains on white tiles while still creating your dream look.
From ways to use white marble tile on a shower floor to simple hacks for cleaning and maintenance, this article will be a source of inspiration for your next marble shower design!
Why Do White Marble Shower Floors Require Special Care?
Let’s start with the facts. It’s a well-known fact that marble floor tiles can withstand the test of time when they’re expertly installed and properly maintained, i. But what designers and homeowners have to ask is, why does marble require extra care in shower design despite its apparent strength and durability?
1. Marble is porous– The main component of marble is calcium carbonate, a crystalline and porous structure. As floor tiles are more likely to absorb standing water and any other liquids in the shower– including spills from shampoos, hair dye, or even mineral buildup from running water - your white marble floors may show stains and signs of discoloration over time. Thankfully, a properly applied marble tile sealer can penetrate the natural stone’s pores and help prevent staining caused by water or any chemicals. It’s important to regularly seal your beautiful white marble shower floors to help reduce their absorption of water and other common shower spills.
2. White marble contains iron deposits – Have you ever noticed white marble start to develop yellow (or perhaps brown) stains over time? Iron deposits are an inherent presence in white marble (especially Bianco Carrara and pure white Thassos) and can manifest like a stain over time – it occurs because of oxidation when iron deposits are exposed to water. Since water is more likely to remain on shower floors for several hours before it evaporates, it can absorb enough water to ‘rust’ the iron – in other words, water can stain your marble. Luckily, a proper penetrating sealant will ensure that oxidation does not take place as water is not able to penetrate the surface.
Fortunately, proper cleaning and sealing can help eliminate stains from forming so that you can keep marble floor tiles in top shape! Needless to say, white marble tiles will require some extra care on shower floors due to their location and the moist environment they’re in, but once installed, a little precaution is relatively easy to preserve their glowing look for many years to come!
Interior Designer Erika Kestenbaum detailed her decision to use honed marble on her shower floors and walls, and how she keeps them looking gorgeous on her blog! Her recommendations? Use marble with a honed finish, squeegee standing water off your bench or other flat surfaces, and use gentle cleaning products - for your shower and yourself!
Stunning Showers with White Marble Tile Floors
With so many different colors and patterns to choose from, white marble tiles can make your shower feel like a 5-star resort spa while appealing to any interior design style. To help you find the perfect look for you, we’ve rounded up our favorite and most practical ways to use white marble tiles under your feet, so that you can enjoy your white shower tiles without the worries of wear and tear.
Textured Marble Floor Tiles for a Rugged Effect
When you think of marble, odds are that you imagine a polished stone with a mirror bright finish, right? Although polished marble tile is a classic concept, we must say that it’s not the ideal option for a shower floor! So, whether you’re aiming for contemporary décor or recreating a classic effect, textured marble tile is a great choice for creating an anti-slip shower floor and featuring classic white marble in a new and exciting way!
No need for a shower mat to make your marble floors non-slip! We love how Textured Carrara Honeycomb Hexagon Marble Mosaic Tile feels outrageously modern in this walk-in shower while reducing the smoothness of the floor for an anti-slip surface.
Practically speaking, textured tiles provide better slip-resistance in a shower enclosure as opposed to marble tiles with a shiny or polished finish. On top of that, the honed finish on these textured tiles is already matte meaning that small stains and etches are more likely to be camouflaged and go unnoticed – a bonus for the high-water traffic area!
When Smaller is Better
Here’s a little reminder for shower floor tiles: When a tile is being installed in a wet area, you must ensure that water can easily slope to the drain. For that reason, it is recommended that marble shower floors and seats have a slight slope to make sure water does not collect on stone (avoiding the rust-like iron spots we mentioned above). Mosaic tiles make it easier to create an incline to avoid the accumulation of water in hard-to-reach places so that water or other liquids do not stay on your stone long enough to get absorbed.
White marble hexagon tiles are easy to install in a slope on the shower floor while serving as a texture-rich design element in an all-white shower! Driven by Decor paired marble subway tiles on her shower walls with a hexagon mosaic pattern for a white marble shower floor and niche accent to marry different patterns in a consistent material.
On top of that, stains will not be as easily visible on marble mosaic tiles with a pattern, thanks to the visual illusion and additional grout lines. From a dazzling floral pattern to complement a Victorian-style bathroom to a playful kaleidoscope pattern reminiscent of postmodern design, a wide variety of white marble mosaic tiles can be used to create amazing patterns, hide small stains, and improve the functionality of floors in any shower design!
If a full clean of your shower every day sounds like a deterrent, what about designing with a warmer white marble? Instead of a pure white stone like the Thassos or Carrara, marble tiles with off-white hues and veins may do a better job of hiding dirt and stains, if you’d rather not commit to constantly cleaning and sealing shower floors!
While pure-white marble floors have a highly soothing appeal, they can make it easier to spot the signs of wear and tear over time. Marble tiles with a less uniform look will work as a great compromise if you’re torn between the look of a white marble floor and the high effort to maintain it. The installation of Calacatta Gold Penny Round Tiles inside the shower can add excitement to a bathroom that’s heavy on sterile, shiny white components while the rich gold veining adds texture and detail. You can even carry the penny tiles from the floor up onto the wall to create a stunning waterfall look like this shower design while maximizing the overall camouflage of unwanted stains as a bonus!
Set the Tone with Marble Border Tiles
White showers are classic but going with an all-white palette can get dull pretty easily. If you find yourself in the spot when you’ve designed the shower but still feel something is missing, why not consider some details? A border tile can add character to a marble shower floor, providing relief for the eye and enhancing the overall style. You can break the monotony of a minimal shower design by creating a rug-like border around the shower drain or even design a runner along the center of a spacious shower floor.
Image via BHG
Border tiles with a pattern can continue the décor of your shower, or contrast with the rest of your floor to create an eye-catching detail. If you prefer to avoid larger white marble field tiles that may more easily display stains over time, adding a decorative element or border is a great option to create visual appeal and increase the slip-resistance of your shower floor. The key to this mix and match tile design is
Add a Shower Niche Detail
When you want your shower to look more like a spa than storage for various shampoo bottles and soaps, utilize your shower niche for a more luxurious appearance! Speaking of details, we know that a shower niche has the potential for so much more than just storage– it can provide your shower with a stunning focal point too. Using marble mosaic tiles for a niche can break up the monotony when shower floor tiles do not feature any pattern– why not use something extra special for the niche area?
When you’re using the niche as the main visual element in your shower design, you may want to choose an eye-catching tile – we love the way Thassos Octagon with Azul Cielo Squares Marble Mosaic Tile stands out when paired with Bianco Carrara 3x6 Honed Marble Tile in this elegant shower. Opt for a marble mosaic tile that is smaller than what you’ve selected for the design, or match with your floor tiles if they feature a pattern – because the niche area isn’t typically very large, small tiles will never look too busy!
How to Keep White Marble Shower Walls and Floors Clean
Whichever aesthetics you prefer in the shower, we know that there’s still the common concern: how to take care of white marble shower floors over time. Although white marble will require some extra attention, follow a few simple steps to make sure tiles look just as good as the day you installed it even after decades!
- Optimize drainage and ventilation -
The best way to keep tile stain-free is to avoid letting water stand on white marble surfaces. Installing floors, shower benches, and niche bases on a slight angle or slope will help ensure that water runs off of your surfaces and goes down the drain. Designing your shower to optimize drainage can help avoid standing water from pooling on flat surfaces. Making sure you have excellent bathroom ventilation, running fans during and after showering, and drying your shower surfaces will also help.
- Daily Cleaning - Just like you wipe down your glass shower door to avoid water spots after every shower, you can wipe down your marble tiles to keep them as luminous as possible. Since soaps and minerals from water can leave residue on stone over time, you’ll get the best results by rinsing and letting your shower floors and walls dry after every shower. Don’t forget to check water puddles in the shower niche and bench areas as well, to avoid standing water from seeping into your tiles.
- Weekly Cleaning – Although the frequency of cleaning your marble shower will depend on how often the shower is used, a weekly cleaning is recommended in addition to letting your shower dry after each use. The most important thing here is to check the label of your cleaner before using it – you should always make sure the product is PH neutral and safe on marble. STONETECH KlenzAll Cleaner is one of our favorites for marble shower owners that’s praised for its effectiveness and ease of use!
- Seal your shower tiles every 6 months - Set a reminder for yourself to seal your marble tiles regularly – typically every 6 months for shower floor and wall tiles. It’s a pretty easy process – follow the sealer label instructions regarding the method of application as some may prefer brush application while others suggest using a cloth or spray. We can recommend Stonetech sealer as it gets high marks for its easy application and durability on marble tiles! Depending on the use of your shower, you’ll know it’s time for more sealant when you no longer see water drops beading on the surface of the stone.
- Use a poultice to reduce the appearance of stains – Any stain embedded in a porous marble will need to be drawn out. A poultice is a cleaner in the form of a paste that is a cheap and easy way of drawing stains out of the stone. If you already have existing stains on your white marble, you can make your own marble poultice at home, by checking our marble shower tile cleaning guide, or review other methods to reduce the appearance of stains on white marble.
- When to avoid white marble shower floor tile: if you think water spots or stains may drive you crazy or if you want a low-maintenance shower. Opt for small marble mosaic tiles instead, typically with a pattern or mosaic look to minimize the visibility of stains. To create a low maintenance marble shower, you might also want to consider using white marble accents only. Marble mosaic tiles with small patterns and with a combination of different marbles will also create a less uniform look that will help hide potential impurities or stains on the stone.
If you want to start your morning in an elegant walk-in shower surrounded with white marble tiles, the rule of thumb is to ensure your marble is sealed and cleaned properly. Considering the affordable products and effective methods available today, caring for marble shower floor tiles is not a deal breaker anymore. By following a simple maintenance schedule, you can rest assured that your marble shower will remain stain proof and trend-proof for many years – we bet the extra care is worth the spectacular beauty you will have!
There’s no doubt that marble will continue to distract the world’s admiration and adorn shower floors with its eternally elegant look. If you’re ready to create yours, check out our full white marble tile collection here and find the perfect look for your own stunning shower design!