Grout Free At Last! (Fashioning Our Solid Surface Shower)

In our quest to make this house as low-maintenance as possible, we decided we wanted to do a solid surface shower when we remodeled our master bathroom!

Solid surface = No grout lines on the walls!

Talk about life goals! ๐Ÿคฃ

Does anyone enjoy scrubbing grout lines? (I can hear all your not-raised hands.)

The dream was to find a marble slab with dramatic veining to go along the back wall for a beautiful focal point and movement. However, we soon learned that purchasing three large marble slabs would skyrocket us over budget and into la la land.

Not easily discouraged, we pressed on. Stoneyard after stoneyard. (With two young children, in the sun, getting tired and hungrier by the minute, which I think at least nominates us for some kinda Renovation Award, yes?)

OUR SOLID-SURFACE FIND:

Our persistence was rewarded in the form of a large porcelain sheet. It looked like marble with dramatic veining exactly like I (Jess) wanted. My aversion to faux things is strong, and I usually nix materials that are unnatural or look fake. But this slab passed the test; it was gorgeous.

porcelain solid surface shower slab looks like marble
More info on our solid shower walls!

Yet it wasn’t a massive, heavy slab of marble; it was thin. And best of all, the cost was sweetly reasonable for our shower project. (We’d need three of them–one for each grout-less shower wall.)

THE HITCH:

As in all good stories, we hit a couple snags.

  1. Functional issue: No fabricators wanted to work with this material because it involves cutting into it. (Which we definitely needed.) Because it’s so thin at 1/4″, it’s fragile.
  2. Design issue: each of the 3 slabs would have the same pattern on it, so it would be repeated on each of the walls. (So much for not looking fake. Ugh.)

Matt faithfully pursued fabrication options until he found one company brave enough to tackle the cutting. Problem #1 was solved. Our solid surface shower would be possible!

But would it look awful? Problem #2 needed a bit more thought, but we were determined we could figure it out together.

LAYING OUT OUR SOLID SURFACE SHOWER WALLS:

We needed three slabs to cover each of the shower walls. Yet they were all the same pattern since this was a printed porcelain slab. How on earth could we get it to look like NATURAL marble if the exact same pattern was repeated three times? Do you see the conundrum?

Think-outside-the-box slab time! While we couldn’t change the veining design on the porcelain slabs themselves, we saw how we could get creative and make the three walls appear more natural.

Here was our solution:

  1. The space we needed for each of our solid surface shower walls was smaller than the full size of the slab.
  2. We could maneuver and adjust the slab design around for each cut in order to make it not look repetitive between the three shower walls.

No way could we trust a fabricator to take our overall shower design and just make that happen, so we needed to do it ourselves. We created what we thought was a fail-proof guide (i.e. bright red lines and letters! see pics below) for the owner and his team to follow when cutting the pieces in their shop. (They would then bring all the cut pieces to our house to assemble our shower there.)

Each and every inch of this solid surface shower, Matt and I chose individually on the sheets so that the fabricators would know exactly where we wanted each piece cut. We weren’t taking any chances.

OUR CHOICES FOR THE SLAB CUTS:

First, I wanted to showcase the most dramatic veining on the back wall. I envisioned it as the focal point of the shower.

solid surface porcelain slab with red markings
See how our solid shower turned out!

Then we flipped and maneuvered the slab in the photo for the two side walls cuts so it would look different.

porcelain slab looks like marble with red markings
Why we ripped out our original shower in the first place!

We outlined cut-outs for shelves on both sides, as we’re doing a double shower, plus a corner shower bench.

solid surface porcelain slab with red markings for cuts
Debating single vs double shower? 7 must-haves for your double shower!

Lest you think all the unused bits are going to waste, we’ll assure you they’re not! ๐Ÿ™‚ Check out what we’re doing with the extra pieces here!

Next…

See our Complete Bathroom Remodel!

Or click below to see a specific step on our bathroom reno!

  1. Why we ripped out our original shower!
  2. How we got our high-end bathroom floor tile design for (almost) free!
  3. Cozying up our bathroom walls with wainscoting.
  4. How our gorgeous tub made our bathroom bigger!
  5. What we used for our non-slip shower floor tile.
  6. 7 double shower must-haves we can’t live without!
  7. How we designed our wood vanity!

PS: You can see every single one of our house projectsย here.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Heidi

    Do you have to put silicone or grout in the corners where the panels meet? Also, what did you do where the panels meet the floor of the shower? Thanks in advance!!

  2. Lindsay

    Love this look! Just what Iโ€™ve been searching for. After three years how is the shower holding up?

    1. Jess

      Thanks Lindsay! We actually did this shower in 2016 and it held up perfectly! ๐Ÿ™‚

      – Jess & Matt

  3. Tiffany

    Are these a matte finish?

    1. Jess

      Yes indeed!

      – Jess

  4. Michele

    Jess & Matt,

    Terrific information. Thank you for the level of detail. We live in Fort Myers Beach, FL and are looking for inexpensive options to remodel our hurricane damaged home.

    Our marble damaged shower…couldn’t stand its lackluster finish and dingy grout lines. Porcelain slab here we come!

    1. Jess

      Hi Michele! Weโ€™re sorry to hear about your hurricane damaged home and weโ€™re excited for your porcelain slab-filled future!๐Ÿ˜„

      Cheers!
      Jess and Matt

  5. Nita

    Hi, Matt and Jess!
    My husband built our home 35 years ago. We are planning several projects to update it. This has been the most helpful site I’ve found to give us ideas, as well as stay within our budget. Thank you so much! You’ve given us a lot of inspiration as well as motivation!

    1. Jess

      What a lovely note, Nita! We love hearing that! ๐Ÿ™‚

      You are quite welcome. Thank you for taking the time to send us your kind words.

      – Jess & Matt

  6. Annie Grier

    Could you please tell me what and who i need to search for for the installation of porcelain slabs. I donโ€™t know where to start! thanks

    1. Jess

      We got a recommendation from the stoneyard we purchased from! I’d start there! ๐Ÿ™‚

      – Jess

  7. Lisa O.

    Thank you for your great website and all the information! My husband is going to give it a go to remodel our bathrooms. I think your process and all the tips will be very helpful. Thanks so much!

    1. Jess

      Awesome to hear! Love it! Thanks Lisa! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Jess & Matt

  8. Emily

    What color/style is your Forza slab? I’m trying to find something similar online and want to include this one on our list!

    1. Jess

      Good question, Emily! I have my Official Researcher (a.k.a. Matt) looking back to find those details.๐Ÿคฃ Have you checked the Forza website to see if they still have it listed as available?

      1. Jess

        My Official Researcher reports that we have the Calacatta Classico Honed 120×30 Porcelain Slab.

  9. Jo Jenkins

    Do you recall a ballpark price for the porcelain panels?

    1. Jess

      I’ll have to take a look back and see what we paid–stay tuned! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Sarah

    Hi Jess! The shower slabs are GORGEOUS! I am looking to do the exact same thing in my master shower, but my contractor brought up the issue of what you do on the outside edges and threshold in lieu of a standard matching bullnose trim. Any tips you can share would be helpful. Thanks!!

    1. Jess

      Thank you, Sarah!? We cut long sections of extra porcelain to form our own threshold to match! Feel free to contact us directly (through our “Contact Us” form) if you find you need more detailed help at all with your project or directions for your contractor. -Jess

  11. Stacy

    Gorgeous! Can you link the name and manufacturer of the slab?

    1. Jess

      Hi Stacy! The brand name is “Forza.” I’d have to look up a link for you–where are you located?

      1. Amanda

        Hello! I am in love with this style and look! I am located in southeast KY and was wondering if this brand was sold in places other than California…that’s where I’m showing it’s located.

        1. Jess

          Hi Amanda! Hmmm…I’m not sure. You might try calling the manufacturer or Stoneville and asking if it’s sold in southeast Kentucky! I wish I knew! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Lianne

    I love this! I’m planning on using thin porcelain slabs in a master shower but as the walls are larger than the slabs, I also need to do some creative playing around with the identical slabs to make it look natural (and unfortunately will have to have a line down the middle of each wall of the shower;(). So glad I found this!

    1. Jess

      Thank you, Lianne! We’re so glad you found it helpful! We highly recommend solid surface showers and love hearing that you’re doing one. Best of luck to you as you finish your planning and get into the “creative playing around” with the slabs! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun with it!

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