Do we regret using marble tile in our shower?

A year and a half ago, when we set off to remodel our bathroom, I shared we were going to use marble tile throughout our shower. On the walls, on the floors, and on the bench. And immediately I started hearing from people that I shouldn’t use marble because it’s too high maintenance. It stains! It etches! It needs to be babied!

Everyone shared their horror stories with me and it didn’t deter me from wanting to install the luxe marble shower of my dreams. I mean, I challenge you to find me a material that’s more beautiful than marble.

My internal argument was that marble has been used for centuries for this purpose throughout Europe and still looks fantastic. Sure, it looks well loved, but it stands the test of time and ages beautifully over time, unlike some other man-made materials that need to be replaced more frequently because they fall out of fashion, look dated quickly, and sometimes wear unevenly. Marble does not.

So, fast forward eighteen months of daily use, how do we feel about our marble shower today?

In short, we love it.

It looks just as good today as it does the day we installed it, and I’m guessing that’s in part to our light maintenance routine. We absolutely don’t baby our marble at all, but we do take some steps to make sure it keeps looking good.

Here’s how we maintain our marble:

1. Seal it every 6 months

We set a reminder on our shared calendar to seal it every six months. We use this sealer on all the marble in our house and tackle it all at once to make sure it’s all protected. The process is pretty quick, but does require ceasing use of the shower for 24 hours. Not a big deal for us since we have another shower. When we first installed the tile, we did 2-3 coats of sealer to get a good base.

As a note, not all sealers are created equally, you want one like this one that allows water to still enter and exit the marble but prevents staining. Some sealers can change the colour of your marble, so be careful to test and do your research.

2. Clean it weekly with a marble-specific cleaner

We clean the marble in our shower weekly with a marble-specific cleaner. It’s nothing fancy, but we absolutely love this one – it smells fantastic (like an apple orchard) and it is non-toxic (we’ve been working hard to cut back on harsh chemicals).

We clean the grout using these brushes, which are the absolute best. You’ll have to pry these scrub brushes out of my cold, dead hands they’re so good. Even if you don’t have marble, I would get these.

3. Make a natural poultice to remove stains

If there is a stain, though we haven’t yet had one in here, I make a natural marble poultice from mixing baking soda and water to create a paste, smear the paste over the stain and cover it with cling wrap to keep the poultice in place. Wash it off after 12-24 hours and the stain should be gone. I’ve done this many times on our marble bathroom counters and it works like a charm.

4. Squeegee any sitting water

We do a super quick squeegee of our glass shower doors after every shower and will also run the squeegee over the marble bench to prevent water from sitting on it for the rest of the day. This takes less than a minute and keeps both our glass looking clear and any issues from happening as a result of water on the marble.

And a few final preventative measures to ensure we don’t stain or etch the tile:

We installed honed marble. This is critical. Polished marble will show all the etch marks, but they are way less obvious with honed marble. Trust me. If you do find yourself getting lots of etch marks, I did pick up this etch remover, but haven’t yet had to use it.

We’re considerate of the types of products we bring into our shower. For instance, I try to use natural and gentle shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc., mainly for our own health, but also because I don’t have to worry about dyes from more conventional products harming our marble. I don’t know if I’m being overly protective, but I’d rather not find out the hard way.

That’s it! We would 100% install marble tile again in our bathroom. It’s such a delight to use, beautiful to look at, cool to the touch, and a classic, timeless material.

Some extra resources: how to remove stains in marble, and review on the durability of marble countertops after four years of use.

27 thoughts on “Do we regret using marble tile in our shower?

  1. This is great! It is such a lovely article. It’s just amazing how you put all these together on “DIY Guide on How to Start a Home Improvement Blog” with such great tips!

  2. My kitchen has lots of honed marble – our island is 10×5 with waterfall edges, and all my backsplash is marble (including behind the stove). We renovated about 2 years ago, and I am still in LOVE with it. I agonized over the decision – at first, I was planning to use quartz that looked like marble, but in person it was all so fake looking (really, like it was a printed pattern of marble), and the hand-feel was so sharp/hard.

    Then I went to yet another stone yard, and the owner walked me around – didn’t hurt that he was gorgeous and Italian (accent and all), and my convo with him basically changed my direction for the stone in the kitchen, then and there. Yes, there’s etching on the island (some spots I know exactly what I did to earn that “ring”), but you only see them in certain lights – it’s more a shading than a “color”. The sink in the island has small chips and dings around the marble, but you only notice them if you’re looking.

    I did take a more durable route for all the countertops along the wall cabinets (where I cook, down to my purse area) – I went with a true-white quartz. That quartz also has its set of challenges – I’ve had a hot pink post-it left on the counter, only to get wet and then leave a hot-pink mark! But a little Bar Keeper’s Friend and we’re back to crisp white. Oh, and the quartz chipped at the sink where I cook – I was cleaning my slow cooker insert and it hit the edge too hard. Ugh.

    Overall, VERY happy with the marble – the look is so classic and beautiful, timeless.

    1. Hi. We just finished a remodel and have a marble floors in the shower that suddenly looks cloudy in a specific area. Could it be our soap? Water not draining fast enough? Is there any way to return the tile to the sharpness it had? It’s only been about 2 weeks. I’m so bummed.

      1. It may be – it could also be grout haze. If your marble is polished, it may be the products you use in the shower could be causing etching that makes the tile look cloudy. Since I don’t know the exact issue without more specifics, it’s hard to suggest a solution. It may be worth asking your tiler or contractor since they were so recently installed

  3. Hi Erin! My husband and I are in the early stages of conceptualizing a bathroom remodel and want to do marble. Like you said, there’s just nothing like it! That said, we won’t be putting it in the shower space, just on the floors (I think). Do you find the marble to be super duper slippery? We’ve had so many people try to warn us off because of this!

    1. Love it!! Not at all, especially if you go with a honed finish (better for hiding etching, etc.) and smaller format tiles – the grout lines help a lot with traction. We have had absolutely no issues with slipping!

  4. We are looking at doing this very thing in our shower. What do you recommend for an overall bathroom flooring? Marble as well? Or a different material?

  5. This is the best post, thank you! I’m getting ready to remodel my bathroom and am agonizing over marble also for the very same reason. Great tips! And now I’m not afraid to go for it! 😁😁

  6. We have had marble around a tub shower and on the floor and other walls in that room for 27 years and it is the easiest bathroom to care for we have other than the acrylic one in the attic!. The grout between the marble tiles is very fine and the same color as the main one in the marble has never got any mildew on it and we rarely wipe it down between showers and only give it a monthly clean. We also have the same tile on the floor of another bathroom and mosaic marble on the shower floor in that room. That mosaic does get dirty from feet and needs cleaning weekly but the ceramic tile grout around the walls of the shower gets mildew on it at the drop of a hat despite wiping it down after every use with a towel. Give me the larger (12″ by 12″) marble tiles any day for maintenance. I am not sure how to add a photo otherwise I would!

  7. will using an epoxy grout between the marble shower tiles prevent mildew? We want to use tiny herringbone white marble in shower floor .. Will hair dye stain it if it is washed away as soon as it hits the floor? do you need to seal shower wall tiles ( small 3 x 6 marble tiles )every so often or just on the floor?

    1. Hi, we use an unsanded grout for our floor tiles (I don’t know about epoxy). We seal all the marble including the floors, walls and bench every 6 months. I’m not sure about the hair dye, my best recommendation is to either test it on a marble tile sample or to use a different shower if you have another one in your home to be on the safe side.

  8. What do you use to clean the glass door and the fixtures? We also did a complete master bath remodel and put in an marble shower with bench and a pebble rock floor (and heard all the same opinions when I picked it all). It’s been a couple years and I kind of regret it because I can’t use the kinds of cleaners that remove build-up on the glass & fixtures. We’ve always done the squeegee wipe down and drying with a Shamwow, but there’s water & soap build-up that just won’t come off the glass or the shower head. We paid extra for the glass to have a “coating” to keep clean, but rubbing with a microfiber cloth just doesn’t remove the residue anymore. I’m hesitant to use any of the specific for glass & metal cleaners or DIY versions that most people use because they contain acids or abrasives the marble can’t handle and haven’t had any luck in finding any that have been confirmed safe for marble. I’d love to hear what works for you. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cheryl! This is what works for us:
      1) Every few months we give the glass a good cleaning with Rainex 2-in-1 glass cleaner and then apply Rainex Shower Door Repellent (we apply to a microfiber directly instead of spraying to make sure it stays off the marble)
      2) After every shower we take a minute to squeegee down the glass (we keep one under our bench), which cuts down on water marks and build-up in general
      3) For regular weekly cleaning, we use Method Glass Cleaner

      I have *heard* that toothpaste on the glass and then steaming it with a steamer can lift hard water stains on glass, but I haven’t actually needed to try that myself, since we really don’t have any real build-up.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Hi! Love your blog. How do you keep your grout looking crisp between the marble?? I have been cleaning mine with dish soap and a grout brush. I’m nervous to use any other cleaners!

      1. Hi Erin.
        Thank you for this reassuring info. We will be renovating our bathroom in January and I want marble for the shower walls. Do you have to wipe down your marble walls after each use? I have read where some say this is a must. Thanks so much absolutely love your bathroom.


      2. Hi Jennifer – no, we don’t wipe down our marble walls after each use. We do squeegee down the shower glass, but have never bothered with the marble (and it looks great, so I personally don’t think it’s a must). We do clean the shower walls and grout regularly though with a marble cleaner, as well as seal the marble 2x a year, as regular maintenance.

  10. I love this post! I am looking to do the same in our bathroom. I was thinking 3×9 tiles on the floor and 6×12 on the walls. What sizes did you use? Thank you!

  11. Hi Erin, we’re installing marble in our master bath, and I’ve been trying to find info on personal products for hair and body that are safe to use. I can’t seem to find anyone sharing that info. Could you let me know what you’re using, since you said it hasn’t messed with your marble? Thank you kindly, Michelle

    1. we haven’t had any issues and generally use dye and bleach free products. Other than that, I’d steer clear of anything acidic and I wouldn’t expect you to have any issues. We aren’t too strict about it since most things we feel comfortable putting on our bodies are fairly clean products that aren’t likely to harm the stone, but do take more care with the cleaning products that we use to avoid etching,

  12. I’m late to this article but I’m so thankful for it. I’ve been so worried about my decision to go with marble for my kitchen and showers but now I have a clear plan to care for this beautiful stone. There’s nothing like it.

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