Any ideas for creative shower walls?
April 22, 2008 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Any creative, yet effective shower wall ideas?

We are renovating our tiny bathroom, and I'm not feeling inspired. We are removing the acrylic sheets around the tub, and I need something else to stop the walls from getting soggy. I don't really like the look or maintenance of tile-but what are the other options? I thought about corrugated metal or copper, but someone told me there would be too much condensation. We'd like to keep the tub that's here in for the kids. We like in the soggy Pacific Northwest, if that makes a difference. Funky is fine, but it has to be relatively low maintenance, look alright, and keep the walls from getting moldy. Any ideas?
posted by wertygirl to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of different kinds of tile, so don't totally count it out. Stone would be another option, but could be pretty expensive.

I can understand how condensation would be an issue with metals, but I think your big concern with copper (and maybe a couple other metals) is oxidation. In a wet environment like a shower, the copper will "turn" pretty quickly and turn green. The green will then run off the copper into your tub. Other metals might do something similar.
posted by LionIndex at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2008

How about that rubber that's used for flooring. It comes in lots of colours and finishes. I know someone who used this on their bathroom walls. I think they had to put some kind of sealant on the wall, and they used same-colour vinyl strips in the corners to seal it properly. It came on a roll so each wall was just one piece. (They got it fitted professionally by the flooring company, whose fitters had never fitted it to a wall but they had no problem doing it.)
posted by essexjan at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

nthing other types of tile. Go check out some of the stone tiles at the big box/home improvement stores. There is some really nice stuff that is not at all like your run of the mill tiles. I wouldn't take any chances about keeping that wall dry. Good Luck!!
posted by pearlybob at 10:23 AM on April 22, 2008

I have seen vinyl sheet flooring used to good effect.

It's super cheap for this purpose and comes in millions of patterns, you could probably find something that you like.

Get a piece that's big enough to wrap around from one edge to the other so you don't have any horizontal seams, use a good waterproof adhesive to adhere it to your walls, and caulk around the bottom edge.
posted by davey_darling at 10:27 AM on April 22, 2008

I saw a tiny house with diamond plate in the bathroom----it looked pretty cool.
posted by hulahulagirl at 10:40 AM on April 22, 2008

Glass tile comes in different colors and finishes, and it picks up the light and in the right conditions almost seems like it's glowing. (Something like this?)
posted by LolaGeek at 10:48 AM on April 22, 2008

Here's a link to the diamond plate---you can kinda see what I mean.
posted by hulahulagirl at 11:15 AM on April 22, 2008

Well, it probably will get moldy and become a complete disaster ... but how about a terrarium?

If you have a square tub with walls you might like to tear them out (easy, right?) and then afix glass doors with a wiry mess of lights in the top and some ivy or other hard to kill (invasive) plant inside.
posted by metajc at 11:18 AM on April 22, 2008

The biggest factors in the mould situation is going to be the material, the drainage and the ventilation available.

If you're going down to the studs I recommend putting in cement board instead of greenboard. You may also want to look in to a waterproofing system to go under the tile..

Finally cut down on the ambient moisture by making sure you have a proper fan (with enough air movement for the space) to vent to the exterior of the house. It will help tremendously.
posted by iamabot at 1:49 PM on April 22, 2008

I also agree that you should put up cement board. It makes for good peace of mind. Maybe you could find a stucco. I am not expert but, logically, I would think it would work. It would stick to the cement board and the cement board, properly sealed, should keep water out. Plus, people put stucco on their houses all the time up here in Juneau and it rains fuck all constantly.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:56 PM on April 22, 2008

Plus, people put stucco on their houses all the time up here in Juneau and it rains fuck all constantly.

The stucco isn't the waterproof part. Stucco is, in fact, completely porous, but it does shed off most of the water that will hit a building. But, stucco being porous isn't so much of a problem on the exterior of a building--bricks, mortar, concrete, and some types of stone are porous as well. None of those materials should be relied upon to form a "waterproof" layer.
posted by LionIndex at 4:25 PM on April 22, 2008

We're going for zincalume corrugated iron in our bathroom, and putting insulating batts behind it so that the metal will closely track the bathroom air temperature. I don't expect that condensation is going to be an issue.

If you fit a wall-mounted radiant heater opposite the wall closest to the tub, and your exhaust fan works, your walls will be dry most of the time and won't get mouldy even if you go for tiles and grout; anything non-porous will work even better.
posted by flabdablet at 8:14 PM on April 22, 2008

Pro-panel roofing material. I can't imagine that condensation on it would damage it. I think I've seen a photo of this in a bathroom design book.

I've seen a shower with stucco over some old tile. It seemed like it would be very hard to clean, and might be rather unpleasant to bump against. This was in a vacant house, and I don't know if the shower had been used after being stuccoed. Stucco will also show water marks outdoors if it regularly gets tap water on it, I imagine the same would be true in the shower.

Why aren't you leaving the arcrylic around the tub if you will be putting something over it? It seems like this would help protect things from moisture and mold.
posted by yohko at 6:30 PM on April 27, 2008

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