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.
No grout lines on the walls! Talk about life goals. 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.
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.)
As in all good stories, we hit a couple snags.
- 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.
- 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?
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:
- The space we needed for each of our solid surface shower walls was smaller than the full size of the slab.
- 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.
Then we flipped and maneuvered the slab in the photo for the two side walls cuts so it would look different.
We outlined cut-outs for shelves on both sides, as we’re doing a double shower, plus a corner shower bench.
Lest you think all the unused bits are going to waste, we’ll assure you they’re not! Check out what we’re doing with the extra pieces here!
Click below to see a step on our bathroom remodel:
- Why we ripped out our small shower.
- How we got our high-end bathroom floor tile design for (almost) free.
- Cozying up our bathroom walls with wainscoting.
- How our gorgeous tub made our bathroom bigger!
- What we used for our non-slip shower floor tile.
- 7 double shower must-haves we can’t live without.
- How we designed our wood vanity!