Marble slab for a shower

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by spfrancis, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. spfrancis

    spfrancis New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    VA
    So we have been undertaking this fairly big remodel of our master bathroom. We had orginally intended to put in marble tile in the shower walls to give it a nice look. I made the big mistake :cool: of going to the marble company(with wife) to get pricing for marble for our vanity's to match. So the sales guy was saying that if we did the shower walls in marble, and the vanitys, it would really look incredible. My wife's eyes lite up, as he was saying that it wouldn't be that much more than the Calacatta marble tile we were looking at for the shower walls. So I'm trying to figure out how feasible it is to put marble in an area like that. I have read a bit about Marble and yearly maintenance, and how careful you have to be with soaps and shampoo's etc. So if you put all that aside, and you say you still want to do this; what are the concerns from an installing a possibly 8x5 or 8x4 piece of marble slab in a shower, around your pan.Are there other concerns that I should have about having the marble installers put this in place. Is there a right order for building out the shower?

    Any thoughts would be helpful.

    Thanks.
    Sony
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    What thickness panels do they have available? Standard stuff is normally 2 or 3cm, and that's often a lot thicker than an equivalent tile (many of them are about 3/8", or about 1cm). So, the typical slab will be at least double the weight. This can add up and be a consideration in your shower. As to viability, other than that and that real marble can easily be stained or scratched or etched, if you can handle the weight, it may work out. I'm not a real fan of marble in the shower, and you may find that the vanity top becomes a problem over time. Certainly, it can look really nice at first, and if you are careful, it may stay that way, but it can be a challenge. Never worked with slabs in a shower, so can't comment on the best way to assemble one with them.
  3. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

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    652
    Location:
    Montreal

    It will really look incredible the marble slabs in the shower . However the pricing -- depending of the location of course -- is not close to marble tiles , especially for installation . Much more complex to successfully accomplish a slab installation in a shower .

    Very few installers will agree or take the risk to handle and install a piece of marble of 4'x8' or 5'x8' . Usually they will prefer to have them cut and done with one or two horizontal joints -- 8' in half or 3 pieces of 32'' -- , depending of their will .


    There is another option , with porcelain thin tiles -- thin slabs -- , which look like calacatta marble . The porcelain slabs can be cut as per your needs . You will also have to find the right installers which can handle those type of jobs .

    Over all the tiles are the most affordable from my POV . You can also find porcelain tiles which look like the real marble , but there will always be a difference . The look alike will always be a look alike . Choose wisely .
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    [​IMG]

    All Marble Slabs.

    Steam Shower.

    Started out right. Used NobleSeal TS and soak tested slab marble first....

    Lots can go wrong.

    [​IMG]

    Have you read this article of mine? Why Marble Might BE Wrong For Your Shower
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  5. spfrancis

    spfrancis New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    VA
    Yeah okay. It sounds like I would be taking on a lot of risk involved in going down this path. The Marble guys that I'm dealing with seem to talk about how it will not be a problem. I have my concerns, but I don't really know what is involved. My rough estimates of the slab weight would put the full 8x5 at 800lbs (3cm thickness), which seems like an enormous weight. Even if you cut it into 3 pieces, it will be a major weight. My contractor is a little nervous about what he would have to do to prepare the shower area for a slab like this. I will look into the porcelain thin slabs to see if my contractors have that as an option. I'm sure that the guys who do a marble shower for a living have a lot of knowledge that I would not know.
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Before cutting a cheque ask your expert what he uses to install the slab. Most installers I see on jobs show up with construction adhesive... This is not what you want.

    You should be using a good modified thin-set and something like NobleSeal TS or NobleDeck.

    Watch out for shims!!! The hacks will puncture your waterproofing.

    There is a lot that can go wrong with your dream install.

    If you go with a thin slab then you might come across panels with foiled paper on the back. I saw these last year when installing three ACO drains on a luxury yacht. The slab pro used some primer from Ardex to first pre-treat the back side of the panels. A transition material of sorts. Not sure what it was called exactly.

    Again - lots can go wrong. Understand the process fully before going ahead with any deposits.

    You will find Richard at Noble Company very helpful. Knowing what I know now I would do a traditional shower bed. Deck Mud then the bottom slab. Then the walls go in.

    The installers should prepare the shower floor first set it. Then measure for the walls.

    Typically you need four guys to install one of these full sized slabs.

    And do a soak test!!!
  7. spfrancis

    spfrancis New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    VA
    John thanks for the reply. I just left vmail with Richard to talk to him about what things I would need to double check with the slab expert. If it doesn't sound like they know what they are doing, I will stick with the orginal plan of nice tile. I would think that I should be looking at some of Noble Company's products either way I proceed. Our floor will be just putting in a traditional 2x2 porcelain tile that looks like marble.
    Thanks for your help.
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Noble Company is the way to go.

    This shower started out with a Noble Company Square Drain (actually made by Sioux Chief) and a Noble Flex Flashing.

    [​IMG]

    This was a large renovation involving a structural engineer, city planning committee, city hall, preservation society..... yatta yatta yatta.

    I think I did a pretty dam good job prepping the shower for tile. I love this bathroom!

    All Marble Tile. The entire shower and bathroom is a wet room. Water drains from every point outside the shower to the shower entry. From there to the drain.

    Needed to get some 14' LVL's in there and even with that could only cut them to 8". Tough build - but turned out great.

    Soak test those small tiles. The mesh backing often is water based!! You do not want this.

    Check a large sampling of tile when you soak test. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  9. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,443
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    [​IMG]
    1'x2' Porcelain Tile - Steam Shower


    [​IMG]
    More Porcelain Tile with an ACO linear drain


    [​IMG]
    Large Slab Shower - three piece floor - Custom Drain


    [​IMG]
    Soak Testing Travertine Tile
  10. spfrancis

    spfrancis New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    VA
    John,
    that first bathroom is really impressive. I have to say that the marble tiles on the wall look very good, and maybe I should stick with that as my original plan. I think I will still need to make sure that the contractor uses the right materials to adhere the tile to the walls and the flooring is well protected. I hope that Noble is able to help with these selections.

    What you did with the glass coming off of the floor like that is how I envisioned my other fall project for our condo. It is small shower living, and I liked the idea of using glass to separate the shower area. My worry is that most contractors could not execute a job like that. Maybe I'm being cynical
  11. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Messages:
    652
    Location:
    Montreal

    You don't need to go with the super thin tiles -- 3.5mm -- , but the 6mm thin tiles . They already have them in marble looking slabs , from Crosville Laminam . No mesh in the back of the 6mm tiles is needed .

    Your walls need to be super flat and level for the thin tiles . Not that other tiles don't need it .;)

    Slab work is very different then waterproofing , equally important in many ways .

    A very good tile or slab installer should be well versed in waterproofing methods . Look for one with the knowledge , not only one which can accommodate you with a tight schedule .

    Did I mention how important is to flood test the shower before laying one tile ?

    Funny , I didn't see it once . What happened ? :D
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    The first bathroom is not Marble Tile but Marble slab like you wanted in the first place. There is a giant hole somewhere in Italy after renovating that bathroom. Slab on the floor, walls, ceiling, tub deck on and on......

    I have a client who asked me to better explain what a folded corner is. Have a look.

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/ent...-Inside-Corners-NobleSeal-TS-or-NobleSeal-CIS

    Thanks Roberto. 3 out of the 4 bathroom I showed all had local inspections. 4 out of 4 bathrooms got flood tested.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  13. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    418
    Location:
    Minnesota
    John , what about neo angle folds!!!

    image.jpg
  14. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Messages:
    652
    Location:
    Montreal
    Nice folding RSCB . Can I call you by a name ? :)


    Thin tiles look alike -- as an option -- I was telling you about .

    6mm Porcelain tiles.jpg

    6mm Porcelain tiles 1.jpg


    You can cut them any size you want from slabs 60'' x 120'' . Polished and honed options available. :)
  15. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Neo Angle folds are tricker. I like to remove a section on the curb top to make that fold sit down nice. Did you see my blog post on the template? Should make it easier for people to understand how to do a folded corner.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My first attempt with the cut curb top. Made the gap a little to big. But the general idea is pictured above.

    Have you used the NobleSeal CIS? 6' wide. Makes large neo angle showers a breeze with only one piece of waterproofing needed for the shower and curb.

    And of course we make sure to install a capillary break to the curb top before flood testing....
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  16. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  17. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Some more pointers here on a successful slab installation thanks to the NTCA

    When working with stone tiles and slabs, how do I gauge setting material tolerances?

    Verify the adequacy of the flatness or slope of the concrete slab; take care of proper pitch of the slab for exterior installations. If the concrete slab is not to acceptable tolerance, then either reject the surface or install materials to bring the surface into acceptable tolerances prior to stone tile installation. Maximum allowable variation in the tile substrate is 1/8-inch in 10 feet from the required plane when measured from the high points in the surface for an assembly with direct bond. Maximum allowable variation in a roof/deck or for a mortar bed installation is 1/4-inch in 10 feet from the required plane. The tolerances for the substrate are the same tolerances for the finished stone tile installation. Many failures have occurred because the thin-set mortar, medium-bed mortar or dry-pack mortar is too thick without wire reinforcement to level or flatten the concrete slab to acceptable tolerance. Overly-thick setting materials can result in shrinkage cracking, progressive loss of bond, and wreak havoc with an otherwise successful stone tile assembly. The substrate must be in acceptable tolerance prior to installation of membranes, radiant-heat assemblies, and sound-rated floor assemblies.


    Source

    Look at these two slabs.... Book Matched.

    [​IMG]

    Amazing - this is another example of book matched slabs. This time using the corner as the hinge point.

    [​IMG]

    Maybe think about the weight of the new Marble Slab Shower as well.... You do not want a money pit!

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  18. spfrancis

    spfrancis New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    VA
    Roberto,
    What you show there is another cool option. Is that a marble-like substance? I am going to go visit a store locally in Maryland that has the porcelain look calacatta that we really want. It comes in 120x60.

    http://www.architecturalceramics.com/products/slim-slab#addToWishlist
    It really has the look that we want, and the fact that it is porcelain will make it a better choice for the shower.
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,153
    Location:
    New England
    Porcelain, by far, is the easier maintenance choice. But, there's nothing like natural stone. It takes a good eye to make a pleasing natural stone install unless you're lucky. Some stone is fairly consistent, but some is not, and it can make a huge difference in how it ends up being placed on the wall or pan. Given my preferences in how I spend my time, I'd opt for the easier maintenance. Now, if I were rich, and could afford a good cleaning service, I might reconsider, but I doubt it...too many chances of them potentially using the wrong cleaning agent and messing it up.
  20. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Messages:
    652
    Location:
    Montreal
    No waviness , John. The tiles are very flat .




    That's the one . If you visit the store , it will give you a good idea of the look and feel of the marble look alike -- porcelain tiles-- . You can also cut it in any size you want or need from the sheet ( slab ) of 60 x 120 .

    It is not only a maintenance issue , it is also a grade -- quality -- marble tiles in play . A sample in a showroom vs. the real batch may also look different -- shade , tone , veinage , small imperfections , etc. -- . If you like a more balanced look the porcelain tiles combined with the epoxy grout may give you more satisfaction then the real thing -- marble -- .

    The marble is a noble material . If treated right , it will smile to you and warm you up every time you look at it .
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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