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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

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