Bathroom tile alternatives

Bathroom tile alternatives – Marble, PVC, Acrylic, Paint


Let’s discuss some bathroom tile alternatives. The most commonly used alternatives to tiling include marble, acrylic and PVC panels, wood, stone , steel and paint. But all of them are not to be recommended when you plan on building a house or renovating one. All of these alternatives have their draw backs and limitations. Lets dive into each one of them so you can get a better understanding.

Marble as a tile alternative

Before there was tile there was marble. You can never go wrong with marble. It is a naturally occurring stone and is cut to right size to make the panels. Marble is fully resistant to water and can be applied to wall in the same manner as tile. In addition marble has the extra feature that it’s pattern doesn’t date and you can always find a replacement to the marble panel in case one breaks. Tile is built in a factory so they constantly keep on changing their patterns and designs. So 10 years from now if anyone of your tile breaks you will have a very hard time finding a replacement tile as most of the 10 year old designs will be out of stock. With marble this is not the case. You will continue to find marble with the same shades and patterns as they are naturally occurring rocks with distinct patterns and marble is not going extinct anytime soon.

Acrylic Panels as a tile alternative

They are kinds cheap and the new acrylic panels are hardened with fiberglass to reinforce them and hence they last a while. They can be easily glued to the wall and are water and steam resistant. But I have seen some of these acrylic panels start to swell with time and warp. So they will need to be replaced in a couple of years. But they are environment friendly alternative and can be used. Personally i would not use them as you never know when they start to warp.

PVC as a tile alternative

Ok PVC is plastic and is not biodegradable. But it certainly doesn’t warp or swell. That is probably why it is used to make pipes. But they are plastic and look and feel like plastic so they don’t give a luxurious look and fell to the house.

Wood as a tile alternative

Ah wood. Many houses will have wood walls and people are very keen on incorporating ordinary wooden scaffolding in their shower as it looks cool. But just the steam from the shower will be able to warp the wood and it starts to develop a smell after a one or two years. There fore my recommendation would be to keep away from wood. Most people believe that as they see wood in saunas they can also use it in their homes as well. But they fail to realize that the wood used in saunas is a special types of hardwood that runs in thousands of dollars a piece. Plus saunas only have steam, they don’t get hit by water from the shower two to three times a day. If you want to spend that much by all means go for it. But keep in mind that you will have to replace the wood after two or three years.

Stone as a tile alternative

Hard stone can be a brilliant replacement to tile and it is the most cheapest material available for construction. Small round stones reinforced with concrete can make your shower and bathroom stand out from the rest of the properties on your block. You may need to educate your builder and help him find a way to match the different stones so that you don’t get very big gaps in between the stones.

Stainless steel as a tile alternative

Stainless steal sheets can make an excellent alternative. They are not used commonly in construction but they can be very cost effective both in terms of labor and material costs. You will need to ensure they are A grade so that they don’t rust. Warp under temperature will not be a concern as steel doesn’t budge an inch until it reaches above 600 degree centigrade.

Paint as a tile alternative

Well don’t believe your contractor when they say tile is the only option cause its not. Nowadays a variety of new paints have hit the market that are extremely water and steam resistant. They can be used in the bathroom as well as in the shower. They can also be wiped off if after you take a shower but mostly you won’t need to do that. Painting is cheap and you can probably do it yourself so even if the paint wears off after two to three years you can repaint yourself. Plus you have the opportunity to keep on changing the paint which you do not get with tile. And a bonus is that you can customize the paint all you want. You can even paint a picture in your shower if you go with this option.


All in all there are a lot of alternatives to regular old tile. My job was to educate you on all of them so that you can make an educated decision when you go to make a purchase.

Find more articles similar to “Bathroom tile alternatives” here.

Want to still stick with tile. Find some cheap tiles on amazon here.

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