Design or Remodel a Shower or Tub Surround


A drop of water on Schluter Kerdi orange fabric
Schluter's Kerdi Fabric is just one of many products specifically designed for waterproofing.

The most important thing in a shower project is proper waterproofing. Too often we hear horror stories of the structural damage, mold, and mildew issues that are caused by an improper shower installation. What could cost as little as $500 at the start of a project can end up costing over $5,000 in future repairs and damage control!


Visit our Waterproofing page for more information about different methods and options for your next project.


Sign up for our free Wedi installation class and learn how to build a 100% waterproof, leak-proof, mold-proof custom shower or tub surround.


Sign up for our free Tile 101 class and learn how to install tile like a pro!

What materials can I use in a shower?

If you want easy to clean surfaces...

Dark brown shower with large tiles and glass accents.
This rich, contemporary shower features 12x24" porcelain tiles on the wall, matching porcelain mosaics on the floor and bench, and glass mosaic accents.

If you've ever had to wrestle with soap scum, hard water deposits, stains, or mildew, you know that cleaning your tub or shower can be nightmarish.


Choosing incredibly low-maintenance materials such as glass, porcelain tiles, and Fusion Pro or urethane grout will make cleaning a breeze. With these products, you can use any cleaning products and don't have to worry about stains.


A smoother surface texture is less likely to accumulate soap scum or hard-water build up, so make sure to run your hand across the surface of any material you're considering to feel its texture. 


A polished or high-gloss finish looks elegant and clean, but is more likely to show water spots or hard water build-up than a matte finish. 


A busy pattern is going to hide water spots or hard water build-up better than a more solid, non-patterned tile. Consider a tile with subtle variation if you want to hide residue but don't want your shower to look too busy.

If you want natural stone...

Travertine shower tiles
Tumbled travertine creates a classic look for this shower.

Natural stone is beautiful, varied, and has a depth of color and light that has not yet been fully duplicated with man-made products. However, natural stone tiles do require a bit more care than porcelain or ceramic tiles.


Avoid using harsh or acidic chemicals to clean natural stone; these can erode calcium-based natural stone (such as marble, limestone, or travertine), discolor and remove pigments from cementitious grout, or strip sealer from stone and grout.


Sealing, cleaning, and maintaining natural stone is not a difficult process, however, and should not discourage you from considering natural stone for your shower. With a high-quality 15-year penetrating sealer and a stone-specific cleaner, your stone will be protected and stay beautiful for a long time.


Use caution if you are selecting or considering certain marble tiles for a shower. Most green marbles have some serpentine (a naturally occuring, water-sensitive mineral) in them, causing them to curl, warp, or blister when wet. Some black marbles are also water-sensitive. These and other fragile marbles often have an epoxy coating on the back, and should only be set in a special epoxy thinset; improperly setting water-sensitive marble tiles will result in a ruined installation.

If you want decoration...

Glass mosaic tiles on shower walls
These tiny glass mosaics reflect light and add color, creating a dramatic installation.

The most popular accents for showers are glass and stone mosaics, but you can utilize many different products and techniques to add interest, color, and pattern to your installation. Prefabricated borders and listellos, metallic liners and mosaics, an interesting layout, or some custom-cut tiles can all be used to decorate a shower.


Keep in mind that the smaller the tiles you install, the more grout you'll have. If you select small tiles or mosaics, we recommend upgrading to a non-porous grout that never needs sealing, such as a urethane grout or Fusion Pro.


Use caution when selecting metallic or cast stone products. Some metallic finishes will patina when exposed to moisture, while some decorative resin products will dissolve when wet. Check with your retailer or the manufacturer if you are unsure whether or not a product is safe for use in wet areas.

If you want more product selection ideas...

Think about Storage: Shelves & Recessed Niches

A tiled recessed shower shelf
A recessed niche in a shower with tumbled green quartzite and frosted glass tiles.

Plan ahead: once your new shower is finished, where are you going to put your shampoo bottles, soaps, sponges, or rubber ducks? Do you really want to clutter up the edge of the bathtub or the shower floor? By factoring a shelf or recessed niche into your design before installation starts, you'll have a much more professional look and a more organized and clutter-free bathroom.


Visit our Shelving page for more information about the different styles and options.


You can buy TileWare shelving in our online store!

ADA Grab Bars for Support and Stability

Our collection of TileWare grab bars can support over 1000lbs of weight! 

All grab bars are available in 3 finishes: polished chrome, brushed nickel, and oil rubbed bronze.

Shower Doors & Glass Panels

Two shower pictures, one has white subway tile and black framed glass doors, the other has gray stone tiles and frameless glass doors.

We've partnered with DC Glass to set up a shower door program for our customers. Framed or frameless, for walk-in showers or tub/shower combos, you have limitless options. Check them out here!

Ideas & Design Inspiration is a great resource for inspiration when picking colors and patterns for your remodel. Click through the idea book below, and send us any inspiration pictures you find so we can help you choose the perfect products and design for your tub surround or shower.

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