I'm in the process of remodeling my bathroom and I would like to install a decorative tile design on the shower floor. What type of tile would be best for this type of project? I would like something that is safe, durable, and cost effective.
Sugar H. ~ Missoula, MT
Hi Sugar. The keys when choosing decorative tile for your shower floor are that it be slip resistant and in most cases -- smaller tiles are better. A smooth surface tile can become very slippery when wet and the problem is compounded when soap suds are added to the equation -- that's one of the reasons why marble is almost never found on shower floors. The reason smaller tiles are a better choice is that many shower floors are sloped to a center drain -- it's much easier and looks better when small tiles are used when installing over that slope.
Depending on the size of your shower, you may be able to get away with 6 x 6 inch tiles, but in most cases 4 x 4 inch tiles or smaller mosaic decorative tiles can be a better choice. The good news is that there are almost countless choices when doing a decorative tile floor in a shower enclosure and just about any design is possible. You can also find slip resistant tiles that are almost a perfect match for the smooth surface tiles you might plan to use on the shower walls.
Cost can vary depending on what style and type of shower tiles you use, but 4 x 4 inch tiles in a neutral color are often the best choice when looking for an economical option. A good budget figure might be about $10 a square foot for the tile and labor, but getting an estimate from a local tile contractor is always the best method for accurate pricing as they can do a jobsite visit. Installing the mud shower pan is normally done by a tile contractor and that cost would be in addition to the price for putting in the tile.