What Tile Can Be Used in a Shower?
I was asked twice today wether or not a specific tile can be used in a custom shower, who why not write something about it!
What I end up explaining to people - that for the most part, any tile can be used in a shower. While there are options that do require more maintenance such as natural stone; marble or travertine will require regular re-sealing to keep it from getting stains from soap and shampoo. Any tile can be used in the shower for one good reason - it's not the tile that is waterproof...
It's also not the grout that is waterproof. Both the tile (other than glass tiles of course) and the grout will allow the moisture to penetrate behind. It's not really the water running down that goes through - it's the steam. Lots of hot steam that will slowly work its way through into the wall system of your shower.
So what is it that keeps everything from getting mold and leaking?
The waterproofing membrane BEHIND the tile.
This image shows from top to bottom - the tile, then the thinset, waterproofing, then the substrate (in this case - concrete, but in most cases it's your wooden subfloor). Of course there are many systems used - and depending on the use and type of shower, there are many different reasons to use one over another.
But the way to think of it is that the waterproofing is what stops the water, the moisture - the steam from penetrating into your walls.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask - but the answer of course is that any tile can be used in a shower, as long as you use the right waterproofing membrane!