What Is the Best Material for Shower Walls? 6 Options

Finding the best material for shower walls is a vital part of your bathroom remodeling checklist. Your shower walls will last a long time, so choose a material that adequately protects and decorates your bathroom. In this blog, we look at six options.

Every full bathroom needs a quality shower. Since you’ll be using this space often, you need shower wall materials that are durable, easy to clean and aesthetically pleasing. There are a variety of options available, from solid surface to tile, which can make it challenging to know which one is right for you.

The Best Material for Shower Walls: 6 Options

In your search for the best material for shower walls, there are six options to consider:

  1. Solid surface: A produced material usually consisting of acrylics or polyesters.
  2. Ceramic tile: Permanently hardened by heat, this clay-based tile typically comes with a decorative glaze.
  3. Glass tile: Each tile is crafted from pieces of glass and has translucent glaze fired onto the back.
  4. Marble tile: A type of organic stone tile made from limestone that’s exposed to high temperatures and pressures.
  5. Granite tile: Made from igneous rock, this tile mainly consists of quartz, mica and feldspar.
  6. Porcelain tile: Specialized ceramic tile made from high-density clay that’s fired at a higher temperature longer, resulting in a stronger material than ceramic that’s non-porous.

Since each shower wall material offers unique benefits, choosing the right one is easier said than done. When considering the tile options, you can explore large-formatted versions that minimize grout lines or, if favoring a smaller design, you can use a stain resistant grout. Let’s look at each option to see which one makes the most sense for your needs.

1. Solid Surface

Cost: Solid surface has a mid-upper range price point, depending on the color selected.

Why it works: Solid surface, such as DuPont’s Corian®, is known for being durable, hygienic and easy to clean. Since solid surface is thermoformable, it can be shaped beyond a flat surface when properly heated. This makes solid surface ideal for a bathroom remodel since you can create custom shower pans, eliminating the need for generic plastic standard-size pans. Plus, you won’t need grout joints for shower floor tiles.

Maintenance: Solid surface is easy to clean since you only need warm soapy water or ammonia-based household cleaner (not window cleaner). Then, rinse and wipe completely dry. Professional on-site sanding techniques can remove tougher stains.

2. Ceramic Tile

Cost: Ceramic tile is less expensive than other materials because it’s less dense and easier to cut.

Why it works: Ceramic wall tiles are expected to last 50 years. Plus, there are thousands of colors to choose from, which makes ceramic tile a perfect choice for your custom shower wall project. You can even add a glossy or matte finish depending on your style. Some textured patterns are also available.

Maintenance: Use non-acidic tile cleaners with a soft cloth, sponge and Dawn® dish detergent in warm water.

3. Glass Tile

Cost: Glass tile is typically more expensive than other materials because it’s time-consuming to cut.

Why it works: Glass tiles are non-porous, making them a great option for shower walls. However, they can be scratched easily, so they are best used for walls (not floors). Still, you can expect glass wall tiles to last more than 50 years, making them a dependable choice. These man-made tiles can be glossy, matte (frosted) or textured.

Maintenance: To clean glass tiles, use non-acidic and nonabrasive tile cleaners along with a soft cloth, sponge and Dawn® dish detergent in warm water.

4. Marble Tile

Cost: Marble tiles are usually higher in price, though the cost varies depending on the species.

Why it works: Marble tile is a natural product that offers an elegant look for any shower wall. It lasts over 50 years and comes with a polished, honed or textured finish. You can use marble tiles in most shower wall applications, though you should consult with the supplier if you have any concerns.

Maintenance: Be careful when cleaning marble shower tiles because calcite-based stones may etch. A sealer should be applied to protect the tiles from oxidation and everyday wear. Use specific stone cleaners that are recommended for the type of stone, like Miracle.

5. Granite Tile

Cost: Granite tile is priced higher, but again it depends on your selection. This is because they are denser, making them more challenging to cut.

Why it works: Since granite is one of the most durable natural stones, you can expect its shower wall tiles to last for over 50 years. This natural product originates from various countries and offers polished, honed or textured finishes. Choose from a variety of unique patterns and colors to create a custom look.

Maintenance: A sealer is recommended once every 1-5 years depending on how much you use your shower. Follow your granite supplier’s recommendations if you aren’t sure which sealer to use, or check out www.miraclesealants.com. Clean the tile using specific stone cleaners for the type of stone.

6. Porcelain Tile

Cost: Porcelain tiles have a low to higher price point because they are highly dense and more difficult to cut.

Why it works: Porcelain tiles are highly durable and can last for 50 years in floor or wall applications. The material is completely vitrified and impermeable, even before the glazing process. Choose from thousands of colors and natural-looking patterns with glossy, matte or textured finishes.

Maintenance: When cleaning porcelain tiles, use non-acidic tile cleaners with a soft cloth, sponge and Dawn® dish detergent in warm water.

How to Pick the Best Shower Wall Material

Now you know what options you have to choose from. But how do you actually decide the best material for your shower walls? Weigh these three factors:

1. Budget

Your budget plays a huge factor in what shower wall material you choose. Pick a material that won’t break the budget while also providing value to your bathroom. Plus, you need to consider a material that won’t require costly repairs if something accidentally happens to it.

2. Style

Everyone has their own style, and you deserve shower walls that speak to you. Whether you want a more natural look or something out of the box, you can find shower wall materials that fit your preferences and personality.

3. Cleanability

All shower walls need to be cleaned on a regular basis. However, not all shower wall materials are cleaned equally. Some of them require more maintenance, while others can be wiped down with soapy water. If you don’t have much time to clean, consider a shower wall material that won’t take much upkeep like full panels of porcelain or Corian®.


While the best material for shower walls comes down to personal preference, you can rest easy knowing that any material you pick will be a worthwhile investment. Whether you choose a solid surface or one of many tile options, your shower walls will look stunning and last for many years.

Discover affordable, elegant and low-maintenance shower wall materials for any bathroom remodeling project at Eastern Surfaces. Request more information on tile by contacting us.