A pebble shower floor is a beautiful and relatively easy way to introduce a natural ambiance into your home. However, as with any bathroom remodeling project, you’ll want to do your research before investing your time and hard-earned money in such a project.
So, before you commit to transforming your standard tile floor into a riverbed, you should be informed on pebble shower floor pros and cons.
Pebble Shower Floor Pros and Cons
Below we’ve summarized the most significant pros and cons of a stone-bedded floor, and we’ll dive into each one in more detail because there are a few caveats.
- High maintenance
- Potential water retention issues
- You may need the help of a professional
Pebble Shower Floor Pros
Let’s start with the pros of these gorgeous shower floors.
These smooth stoned floors appear luxurious, but you’ll be surprised to find out that you can achieve its chic look with a modest budget.
The materials needed are minimal and cheap; they include round pebbles, grout, adhesive mortar, and sealant. As far as tools are concerned, you’ll need a trowel, a bucket, a clean rag, and a pair of able hands.
If you collect your own pebbles, this will further cut material costs. Another helpful tip to making the project more affordable is using mostly large stones because they’ll require less grout to fill the spaces between them.
Pebble shower floors are also relatively cheap to repair, which is a long-term advantage. As you see, you don’t have to spend a fortune to achieve your dream shower floor.
2. Slip Resistant
Most would think that stone floors would be too slippery for shower use, but the opposite is true when installed correctly. Don’t skip steps in the installation process.
Be sure to choose smooth round pebbles, and discard any cracked stones with sharp edges.
You’ll also need to use the right amount of sealant to prevent slippage.
Pebbles are rocks, so what better material to stand the test of time. This type of floor is more resistant to scratches, cracks, and other wear and tear than more traditional bathroom floor tile.
Rest assured that if you’re meticulous about the maintenance of your pebble flooring, you’ll enjoy its aesthetic for years on.
Pebble Shower Floor Cons
Now that we’ve covered the pros, let’s dive into some of the cons of pebble flooring.
1. High Maintenance
Compared to conventional tile floors, pebble shower floors do require more upkeep. Proper maintenance is essential if you expect your shower floor to last for years. You always want your grout and sealer to be in tip-top condition.
It’s best if your bathroom has good ventilation to ensure that the floor completely dries after each shower use. You must clean the stones periodically, and we will explain how to do so in more detail.
Some people live in areas with hard water. In that case, the stones will require more frequent cleaning to prevent the notorious chalk film from accumulating.
It’s best to reseal a pebble shower floor every six to twelve months. If you don’t have the time and discipline to invest in the upkeep, opt for a more practical tiling that is more suitable for your lifestyle.
2. You May Need To Call a Professional
Pebble shower floors have a reputation of being easy to install, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get great results. For example, before you lay a single pebble, you’ll need to ensure that the quality and condition of the shower floor are suitable for layering with stones and other materials.
Make sure you lay the rocks nicely, starting from the edges of the shower floor, inward. Please don’t overdo it with the sealer. Using too much sealer can make the pebbled floor slippery and more dangerous when wet.
As you can see, this type of project does require some skill, or at the least, patience and a good eye for detail.
It is possible to Do-It-Yourself, but keep in mind that poor installation may cause issues that make you regret your vision altogether. Don’t get discouraged if you know you are not the handyman (or handywoman) type; that’s why we have professionals.
3. Potential Water Retention Issues
The uneven nature of this type of flooring is part of its charm, but it can also lead to water retention between the pebbles. Standing water can cause mildew and mold to grow, so a steep gradient for proper water drainage and ventilation is essential to prevent it.
Fungi growing on your shower floor is not just an eyesore, but it can be a potential health hazard.
Pay attention to any odd changes in the stones’ appearance or any unpleasant smells.
Pebble Shower Floor FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions that you may have also asked yourself.
Are Pebble Shower Floors Safe?
The short answer: yes!
Pebble shower floors are not more slippery than conventional tile when appropriately installed.
The combination of the different shapes and sizes of stones, along with the grout and sealant layers, will provide a good amount of grip and traction for your wet feet.
If you still prefer to be on the safe side, you can choose a shower floor mat that complements the stones and the rest of your bathroom.
We’ve emphasized the importance of good maintenance for the longevity of pebble shower floors, but it is essential for safety as well. Do not neglect pebbles that are loose and move in place, and repair any cracked stones to prevent accidents.
Are Pebble Shower Floors Comfortable To Stand On?
Most people would say yes. While it may not appear so, the slight pressure the pebbles apply to the soles of the feet can be compared to a foot massage. Reflexology anyone?
With the addition of running water and perhaps a scented candle, your shower can become a spa experience—what a treat at the end of a long day.
Suppose you find standing on pebbles to be uncomfortable. In that case, you can shower with flip-flops, so you still get to enjoy the appearance of a riverbed underneath your feet.
Are Pebble Shower Floors Hard To Clean?
If installed correctly, cleaning a pebble shower floor should not be complicated; however, it takes more frequent cleaning than other tile floors.
You can use your handy tile cleaner or make a simple DIY solution that consists of 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give it a pleasant aroma. Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle, and you have a cheap and effective pebble shower floor cleaner.
Remember, the shower floor should be dry after cleaning because wet grout can lead to mold.
Is a Pebble Shower Floor Right for You?
Pebbles come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. You can also play with the spacing between the stones giving you limitless options to achieve your desired shower floor. You can collect your own pebbles from a place that has sentimental value to you, and make your shower even more special.
While the maintenance of a pebble shower floor can sound daunting, it may not feel like such a hassle once you merge it into your weekly cleaning routine. Some people make the chore ceremonial.
In summary, if you have the time, patience, and discipline to maintain this unique flooring, it’s definitely worth the investment, and you’ll enjoy your river-like shower floor for many years.
If your bathroom doesn’t have proper ventilation, or If you live in an area with hard water, you may want to consider other options.
Now that you know the pros and cons of pebble shower floors, you can make an informed decision. Do you want to tackle this project yourself, do you prefer to call an expert to help bring your vision to life, or maybe you’ll pass on it all together?
Hopefully, we’ve provided you with enough information to end your dilemma.
If you decide to take on this project, here’s a quick five-step guide to get you started.
Do It Yourself- How To Install a Pebble Shower Floor
Before starting the installation process, check the floor’s integrity and fix any issues that may hinder the process or cause future problems.
Ensure the floor is waterproof and has a steep enough gradient for efficient drainage. As mentioned before, you may need an expert for this step if you lack the knowledge and experience.
- On a clean floor, use a trowel to apply a ⅛ inch layer of adhesive mortar, like Thinset. Place the pebbles starting from the edges of the shower floor, then circle the drain and lastly fill in the gaps in the middle.
You can use smaller pebbles to fill in the spaces and more Thinset until you achieve the design you like. Once you’re done, leave it to dry for at least 24 hours, but you may want to wait 48 hours to be sure it’s completely dry.
2. Nest, apply a decent layer of sealer- not too little but not too much. You want enough sealer to coat the pebbles and the Thinset between them, but don’t drown them with it. This first layer of sealant is to just prevent the color of the grout from staining the pebbles. Let the sealant cure before continuing, it may take 18-24 hours.
3. Mix the grout with water in a bucket until you get the desired consistency- it should be a bit thick but not too stiff. Apply the grout evenly on the floor with a trowel or grout float, again, covering both the pebbles and the spaces between them. Once you finish this step let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, use a clean wet cloth to clean any excess grout from the floor. It’s best to rinse your cloth after each wipe to avoid reapplying grout to the clean pebbles. Repeat this step as many times as needed until all of the excess grout is cleaned. Once you’re done leave it dry for 24 hours.
5. After 24 hours apply a final layer of sealer to the floor, and let it dry for an additional 24 hours.
There are plenty of DIY pebble shower floor resources on the internet in case you want more detailed instructions. You can also look for other details to complete the naturalistic vibe. Maybe a green plant, neutral-colored towels, and an essential oil diffuser.
Once you’re done, you’ll be good and ready for a relaxing shower.