With their stylish appearance and superior durability, quartz shower walls have become an increasingly popular option for bathroom remodeling. But like any building material, quartz has both advantages and drawbacks to consider before installing it in your home.
In this complete guide, we’ll overview everything you need to know about quartz shower walls to decide if they are the right choice for your space and budget.
What is Quartz?
Quartz used for countertops and walls is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz mixed with resin and pigments. It is molded into slabs to create a material that resembles the look of natural stone but with more uniformity.
The manufacturing process allows quartz to be made into consistent colors, patterns, and thicknesses. This gives it some advantages over natural stone materials like granite, marble, and slate that have more variation.
Pros of Quartz Shower Walls
One of the biggest advantages of quartz shower walls is their extreme durability. Quartz has a high density and hardness rating that makes it resistant to chips, cracks, and scratches.
Quartz can withstand impacts and daily wear-and-tear better than tile, fiberglass, acrylic, and many natural stone options. It does not easily stain or etch like softer marble or limestone.
In addition, quartz has thermal resilience. It can tolerate brief exposure to heat up to 150degF without damage, making it suitable near showers and tub surrounds.
Mold and Mildew Resistance
Unlike some natural stones, quartz does not absorb moisture. The material is non-porous, which denies mold and mildew the damp environment they need to grow.
Without pores for bacteria to colonize, quartz resists staining and buildup. Daily spraying and wiping down quartz walls is enough to inhibit bacterial growth.
The slick surface also makes soap scum, hard water stains, and limescale easy to clean off quartz compared to more porous tiles or shower inserts.
One of the top benefits of quartz is the flexibility it provides in terms of design.
Quartz shower walls come in an array of colors from clean whites to bold blues and glossy blacks. Different patterns like veining, aggregates, and flecks add visual interest.
The material can also convincingly mimic marble, slate, stone, concrete, ceramic, and other textures when engineered with corresponding patterns and finishes.
Quartz offers a modern uniform look, or it can recreate old-world charm. The variety of options makes it easy to match existing bath decor or create any style you desire.
Once installed properly, quartz walls require very little routine maintenance compared to tile, grout, or natural stone.
The non-porous surface can be cleaned with a soft cloth and mild detergent. No sealing or polishing is needed. The color and glossy sheen last for years without wearing down.
Quartz’s resilience also cuts down on repairs. Cracks, stains, and damage that commonly occur with other shower walls rarely happen with quartz.
Quartz delivers a uniformity and reliability that natural stone products simply cannot match. Since it is engineered, each slab has the same durability, thickness, and appearance.
There are no unexpected pits, cracks, or weak spots that sometimes occur in marble or granite. The color and patterning run consistently through the full slab.
This predictability takes the guesswork out of installation. Builders can have confidence selecting and fitting quartz walls knowing there will be no surprises or defects.
Cons of Quartz Shower Walls
The main disadvantage of quartz shower walls is their higher initial cost compared to basic tile, fiberglass, or acrylic surrounds. With pricing starting around $50 per square foot installed, the investment is noticeable.
Budget-friendly natural stone and porcelain tiles run $5-$15 per square foot. Acrylic units cost $1-3 per square foot. So quartz requires greater upfront expenditure.
Although DIY quartz shower wall installation is possible for skilled homeowners, professionalfitting is often recommended.
Achieving perfect seams between slab joints without gaps or ledges takes experience. Improper seating of walls can also lead to leaks and water damage.
The installer’s familiarity with cutting, shaping, and fitting quartz influences the final look and performance. Mistakes ruin expensive slabs.
Limited Heat Tolerance
Although quartz withstands brief temperature spikes, prolonged heat exposure from things like steam showers or saunas can damage the stone resin.
Over time, heat opens tiny fissures in the material that expand with moisture exposure. This can compromise the structural integrity and lead to staining.
Quartz is not indestructible. Homeowners need to be aware of its heat limitations to prevent unnecessary repairs.
While less porous than natural stone, quartz is not completely non-porous like solid surface materials. Micro-pores within the stone can allow some moisture penetration under certain conditions.
Although rare, this slight porosity makes quartz a bit more prone to staining than a seamless acrylic, polyester, or composite wall if not cared for properly.
Proper sealing is recommended to maximize stain resistance and water repellency.
Lack of Texture
The glassy smoothness of quartz does not provide the traction of textured natural stone tile or grout joints. This can make quartz shower walls more slippery.
Many quartz manufacturers now add mild etching or grip patterns to improve the wet slip resistance. However, quartz generally has less texture than stone.
This slick surface also shows water spots and soap film more readily unless wiped down thoroughly after each use.
Cost Comparison to Alternatives
The durability of quartz may justify the investment, saving costs over time compared to materials more prone to damage. But your budget plays a role in deciding between the upfront cost vs long-term value.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Quartz
If you decide quartz is right for your home’s shower walls, here are some tips for selecting the best product:
- Browse the range of colors/patterns available to find the right aesthetic for your space.
- Look for quartz containing grip patterns or texturing to reduce slipperiness.
- Consider decorative accents like borders, mosaics, or inlaid designs to enhance the walls.
- Make sure your tile, vanities, and other surfaces complement the quartz color/style.
- Hire an experienced professional for sizing, cutting, fitting, and installation.
Maintaining Quartz Shower Walls
To keep quartz walls looking like new, follow these care recommendations:
- Rinse walls with water and wipe down with a squeegee after each shower to prevent mineral buildup and soap scum.
- Use a mild cleaner like dish soap and warm water for regular cleaning. Avoid harsh chemicals.
- Inspect and re-apply caulk around joints periodically to prevent moisture entry.
- Clean metal fixtures like shower heads regularly to prevent oxidation stains on quartz.
- Have any chips, cracks, or damage promptly repaired to maintain water integrity.
Finding the Right Quartz Company
Choosing quartz from a reputable brand ensures you get a quality product that lasts.
Quartz shower walls provide a stylish, low-maintenance bathroom surfacing option. But the cost may be prohibitive for some budgets.
If longevity and ease of care are your top priorities, quartz is an investment that pays off over decades of use. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before committing for the best decision for your home.
With proper installation and care, the walls are easy to clean. Evaluate how their advantages and disadvantages fit your needs to choose the ideal material for your next bathroom remodel.