We are currently trying to find a solid surface shower solution for the master bathroom. Say that fast three times. 🙂 Seeing as humidity is just a bit of an issue in Florida, minimizing grout lines is a a good idea to avoid the inevitable mildew. We have a few possibilities on the table, but we just can’t decide. Any input is appreciated!
Shower Solution 1: Choreograph by Kohler
From what we understand, this is a relatively new product in the market, which made it a little difficult to find tons of information about it. In fact, we could only find one local showroom that had it on display. Unfortunately, it was not done very well, so we got kind of turned off. But we are trying to keep an open mind because this is pretty budget friendly.
On the plus side, for a solid surface product, it’s pretty affordable. Not as cheap as tile, but still within reason. It does also come in a variety of designs. On the other hand, as far as we are concerned lots of those designs are not very attractive. A particular issue, from our perspective, are the accessories, especially what they refer to as the “shower locker.” Basically, it is a shelf insert for soap, shampoo and similar items. Of course, we want a place to keep all those things, but we found in real life it made the whole installation look kind of cheap. There are also metal corner pieces that stand out quite a bit from the panels themselves and don’t really add anything positive to the overall impression of the shower.
We also read, and heard from the consultant at the showroom we visited, that they can be a little finicky to install. Seeing what a poor installation looked like made us a little wary. We are not really interested in having to pay someone to put it in and we don’t want to take on an impossible task either, so that is a bit of a concern.
Another potential issue is that any color or texture is only on the surface of the product. It does not run through the whole panel. This means if there is ever damage, it can’t be repaired.
Shower Solution 2: Swanstone
This product has been around for much longer, so there is a lot more information available.
One major advantage over the Choreograph is that color/texture runs all the way through the panel. It can’t wear away, and small imperfections or areas of damage can be repaired or at least minimized. It’s also even less expensive. The trouble is it looks less expensive. We definitely don’t want to end up with a shower that looks like it belongs in a hotel on the interstate! We need to take a trip to a couple of showrooms to see whether this is really a concern or not.
Another advantage that we can’t ignore is that Swanstone is supposed to be pretty easy to install. Being able to put in in ourselves will obviously bring the bottom line down even more.
Shower Solution 3: Cultured Stone
To be honest, this is probably the best looking of the option. Of course, that also means it is the most expensive. We are currently getting a quote to see how it compares. But based on some basic numbers we have seen, it’s looking like it could be double the previous two options. Installation can also be tricky because of the weight of the panels. We’re not sure that is something that we want to take on ourselves.
Shower Solution 4: Forza Stone
Right now, this is the most interesting possibility. It is a product that adheres a real stone veneer to aluminum backing for stability. This obviously makes it cheaper and lighter than actual stone panels. Both of those things sound great…but, and there is always a but. Even though it looks like this has been around for almost ten years, there doesn’t appear to be too much information around. So even though it might be the best looking possibility, we are a little hesitant because we’re just not sure what we would be working with.
Another concern is that we are not wild about most of the pattern options. Because it is actual stone, the choices are limited and there are only a few we like. We don’t want something with too strong of a pattern, so that might mean this isn’t the right choice for us.
If you have had experience with any of these products or others we haven’t mentioned here, please let us know. At this point, we are even considering tile with epoxy grout, which is more of a pain to work with but resists mold and mildew more effectively. Too many decisions! Help!