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This vs That

Tile School: Ceramic Tile vs. Glass Tile Shower

By Kali |

Tile School: Ceramic Tile vs. Glass Tile Shower

One of the most popular and practical shower solutions, both ceramic and glass tile offers a lasting, water-resistant surface for your shower from the ground up. However, choosing the right shower tile for your project is one of the most important decisions you'll make when designing or remodeling a bathroom. To help make the decision process a little easier, we've put together the pros and cons of both materials, as well as some shower tile design inspiration from some of our favorite projects! 

Can't choose between the two? You can always pair the two materials as they did in the bathroom below! 

The Daniels' new Austin home goes from 70's throwback to modern chic with a glass tile revival. A deep matte burgundy boldly envelopes the shower, complemented with creamy white to tie the space together.

Tile Shown: 3x12 in Pheasant and Sparrow Matte with 3x12 in Halite on the floor // Design + Image: Chase Daniel

Let's start with Ceramic Tile!

Ceramic tile is a classic choice for shower tile design. Whether you're covering a floor, a shower wall, or even a tub surround, our Recycled Clay Tile offers a timeless look that will make your shower the center of attention. 

Thanks to the floor and shower tiles' moody blue-green tones and modern patterns, Megan Gilger's soothing master bathroom is steeped in spa-like serenity.

TIle Shown: 3x9 in Salton Sea with 2" Hexagons in Flagstone // Design + Image: The Fresh Exchange

Although ceramic tile is considered a classic shower tile choice, your tile design style doesn't necessarily need to be traditional. Subway tile is always a great choice, but if you're looking for a more contemporary or modern look, mix things up a little and try a bold splash of color, or an interesting specialty shape. No matter what style you choose, ceramic tile offers your shower space a surface material that will last a lifetime in both durability and style.

Featuring a blend of 3x3's and 3x6's, this main bath's white bathroom tiles are a thoughtful alternative to classic subway tile.

Tile Shown: 3x3 and 3x6 Tiles in Tusk // Design + Image: Claire Thomas

Pros of using ceramic tile in the shower: 

1. Ceramic tile is classic and timeless, making it a sustainable design choice.

Striking just the right balance of organic and urbane, this Brooklyn bathroom's Hunter Green Tile is a lesson in bold simplicity.

Tile shown: 2x8 in Hunter Green // Design: Clara Jung // Image: Emily Gilbert

2. Price is one of the biggest pros when it comes to ceramic tile. Ceramic tile comes in a variety of price ranges, offering something for every budget. This also makes it a great choice for larger surface areas such as the floor, ceiling, and walls. 

Layered in timeless neutrals, interior designer Becki Owens pairs herringbone tile with square floor tile to create this master bath's high-end look.

Tile Shown: 2x6 in White Wash from our Foundations Collection with 2x2 Mosaic tiles in French Linen // Design: Becki Owens

3. Ceramic tile is one of the most durable materials you can choose for your shower. It will stand the test of time against daily wear and tear, and with the right grout and regular care, ceramic tile will be fairly low maintenance.

Boutique fitness space Body Evolved uses a soothing yet stimulating blend of Bora Bora tile to create a blissful bathroom for members looking for a relaxing escape.

Tile Shown: 2x8 and 4x4 Bora Bora // Design: Antonio Matres Studio // Image: Lisa Richov

4. There are hundreds of tile colors to choose from, each one offering unique texture, finish, and color variation. Ceramic tile is also available in our largest selection of shapes and sizes, offering more options for customization.

Interior designer Will Taylor, creator of Bright Bazaar, gives his beach house guest bath a getaway-worthy upgrade with white and blue bathroom tiles in an eclectically patterned blend.

Tile Shown: Ogee Drops in Naples Blue with 3x6 in White Wash // Design + Image: Bright Bazaar

5. Ceramic tile has a variety of trim and architectural moldings to choose from, allowing you to add the perfect finishing touch to your tile design. 

Bullnose pieces create the perfect clean edge to a shower surround and quarter rounds help finish edge details on the wainscot wall: 

Our handmade tile trim adds architectural distinction to this classic-inspired bath, featuring green bathroom tiles in a timeless subway pattern.

Tile Shown: 3x6 in Seedling // Design: Interior Blooms Design Co. // Image: Emily Kennedy Photography

Cons of using ceramic tile in the shower 

1. Ceramic tile is handmade which means slight irregularities and variation in size and color should be expected. We love this about our tile as it adds character and an artisanal feel but if you want a more consistent feel, Glass will be for you! 

https://www.fireclaytile.com/gallery/detail/zuhause-white-bathroom-tiles-main-bath

Tile Shown: 3x3 and 3x6 Tiles in Tusk // Design + Image: Claire Thomas

2. If certain ceramic tile glazes are exposed to water for extended periods of time, there is a potential for light staining if the tile is not sealed correctly or regularly. We offer complimentary dip sealing on our more crackly glazes (more on those here) if needed to protect your tile and the longevity of your install. Please ask your rep or Design Consultant if you have any questions!

Featuring a blend of hexagon floor tiles and white subway tile, Zosia Mamet's black and white tile bathroom makes mixing patterns look effortlessly chic. Designed by High Street Homes.

Tile Shown: 3x6 White Wash with Small Diamonds in White Wash and 2" Hexagons in Basalt // Design: High Street Homes // Image: Dan Swindel

Now let's talk about glass!

Glass tile showers offer a modern look that is refreshing and sleek. Our palette of glass colors creates an opportunity to create an eye-catching statement with your shower. 

Pros of using glass tile in the bathroom

1. Glass tile is beautiful and offers your bathroom modern visual appeal, and with a curated selection of colors available in both matte and gloss finishes, your design options are limitless.

Channeling Montana's icy glaciers, this cool blue Glass Tile tub surround transforms the guest bathroom into an invigorating and modern retreat.

Glass Tile Shown: 2x12 in Blue Heron Matte// Design: Andrea Dabene // Image: Alex Strohl

2. Glass tile is relatively low maintenance, all you need to keep it clean is window cleaner and a cloth, making it an ideal choice for the shower where you will experience soap build-up that needs to be cleaned regularly.

Photographers Alex Strohl and Andrea Dabene's dreamy master bathroom strikes the perfect mood with its pairing of Matte and Glossy Glass tile in Barn Swallow.

Glass Tile Shown: 3x12 in Barn Swallow Matte and Gloss // Design: Andrea Dabene // Image: Alex Strohl

3. Glass tile is impervious to water, and will not stain.

4. Glass reflects light, making your shower appear larger. It's also translucent, therefore, unlike any other surface material, that beautiful color you picked out will show all the way through the tile, providing an additional sense of depth and dimension.

Reflecting Montana's brilliant fall foliage, this shower's earthy golden Glass Tile offers a nature-inspired remedy to the daily routine.

Glass Tile Shown: 2x12 in Falcon Matte // Design: Andrea Dabene // Image: Alex Strohl

Cons of using a glass tile shower

1. Glass tile in the shower requires more care during installation, especially if you have architectural details in your shower that require special cuts. This is why we always recommend a professional tile installer.

A spa-like atmosphere envelopes this glass tile bathroom covered in serenely stacked Warbler Matte squares.

Glass Tile Shown: 4x4 tiles in Warbler Matte// Design + Image: Victoria Ninette Interiors

2. Glass tile can be higher in price than some of our ceramic tile options. If Glass is over your budget, you may want to consider using glass as an accent, rather than covering large surface areas. 

A warm white Glass Tile backsplash makes for a nurturing neutral in this modern, clean-cut powder room.

Glass Tile Shown: 2x12 in Dove Glass // Design: Andrea Dabene // Image: Alex Strohl

3. Although glass is easy to clean, its reflective surface highlights imperfections.  This means it will require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.

Timeless herringbone gets a Euro Modern twist with our matte blue glass tile, paired with a bold wallpaper print for an unforgettable guest bath.

Glass Tile Shown: 2x12 in Blue Jay Matte // Design: Ginny Macdonald // Image: Jessica Bordner

4. While Glass Tile is fine for a shower pan floor, it should not be used underfoot for the rest of your bathroom. 

Glass Tile Shown: 2x12 in Blue Jay Matte with 1x1 Glass Mosaics on the shower pan floor // Design: Ginny Macdonald // Image: Jessica Bordner

We'll say it again! If you cannot decide between the two materials for your shower, you don't have to! Glass and tile do make a dynamic duo--with the colors easily complimenting each other. 

The Daniels' new Austin home goes from 70's throwback to modern chic with a glass tile revival. A deep matte burgundy boldly envelopes the shower, complemented with creamy white to tie the space together.

Tile Shown: 3x12 in Pheasant with 3x12 in Halite on the floor // Design + Image: Chase Daniel

Need help figuring out which Fireclay Tile product is best for your shower?  Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.

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