Pebble Shower Floor: Pros and Cons (6 Major Problems)


Would you like to enjoy a spa-like shower at home? Pebble shower floors can take you one step closer to your dream. The rounded pebbles can give you a soothing massage each time you use the shower. They can also add aesthetic value to your bathroom. But what are the downsides? Should you replace your shower floors with pebbles? Let’s find it out.

Like everything else, a pebble shower floor comes with pros and cons. This flooring type is comfortable to stand on, cheap, easy to install, and beautiful compared to other shower floors. However, it is harder to maintain, and draining the water from around the stones could be challenging.

Is Pebble Tile Good for Shower Floor?

Pebble tiles are an excellent choice for shower floors for more reasons than one. The main advantage of this flooring type is undeniably the design.

If you’re aiming to build an original bathroom and bring some oriental charm into it, pebble tile is your best bet. In addition to its aesthetic value, pebble floors come with health benefits, too. Walking or standing on the rounded pebbles provides a plantar massage.

Plantar massages may or may not have the holistic benefits they are praised for, but you can rest assured that they can help you relieve stress and soothe foot pain.

Another huge advantage of this flooring type is the cheap cost and installation ease. You don’t have to be a pro to install it yourself, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

Sure, there are downsides to consider, too. For one, you may not like walking on pebbles, and in this case, the pebble floor is not right for you.

The main downside, though, is the amount of maintenance it needs. Apart from the fact that you may find it hard to drain all the water – and, thus, may have to deal with mold issues – the stone has to be sealed after installation and resealed every year or so. You’ll also have to use an impressive amount of grout when installing it.

Whether pebble floor is the right choice for you comes down to your needs and preference. Let’s break down the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision.

6 Pros of Pebble Shower Floor

Pebble shower floors offer a unique finish to those who want an original bathroom. The installation ease also makes it a perfect choice for DIY enthusiasts. Let’s check out all its pros.

Pebble Stone Flooring Cost

The main advantage pebble stone flooring is praised for is its low cost. Installing a square foot of pebble flooring won’t cost you more than $8 per square foot. The actual price depends on the size of the tile and varies from $4 to $8, with an average of $6 per square foot.

By comparison, natural stone flooring is more expensive, with a price per square foot ranging from $5 to $10.

This may not seem like much, but depending on the size of your shower, the lower price can make a difference in your pocket.

We should also say that the prices above refer to pebble floor tiles bought from a home improvement store. However, you don’t have to spend money to install the floor of your dreams. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you can collect pebbles on your outings and use them to create a unique shower floor. In this way, you only have to buy grout and maybe a handful of tools.

Easy to Install

From all home improvement projects dedicated to DIY rookies, installing pebble flooring is perhaps the easiest one. Another strong pro for the product, considering that you won’t have to pay a contractor. Even more so, you even get to have some fun during the weekends.

If you want to install ready-made tiles, all you have to do is spread some tile adhesive on the floor and apply the tiles over it (with some grout spacers to ensure an even installation). Let the adhesive dry and apply the grout.

If you want to use pebbles you’ve collected from a river, start by applying a layer of tile adhesive on the subfloor (the kind of adhesive used for natural stone tiles). Work in small sections at a time, applying adhesive and then arranging the pebbles on top of it immediately.

Arrange the stones in your preferred pattern, either in a random way or create a design with various pebble colors.

When you’re done, let the adhesive dry. When the adhesive is dry, apply a coat of waterproof sealant for natural stone and let it dry for at least 24 hours before grouting.

Prepare the grout and fill the gaps between the stones, letting the top of the pebbles protrude. Depending on the grout you use, you may or may not have to seal it when it dries (epoxy grout doesn’t require sealing, but you’ll have to seal cement or sand grout). Wait for at least 48 hours after you’ve grouted to use the shower.

Comfortable to Stand On

Not everyone likes standing or walking on pebbles, but this doesn’t take away the fact that it is healthy. According to reflexology practices, walking or standing on pebbles can help you relieve stress and tension, improve blood flow, soothe foot ailments, and boost your general health.

Slip Resistant

While most pebbles have a smooth surface, the waterproof topcoat applied to seal them generally improves grip and makes them slip resistant.

A good grip is an important characteristic of every shower floor, but even more so in households with kids, elderly people, or people with impaired mobility.

Unique Finish

Another huge advantage of pebble floors, especially those made from real river stones as opposed to pebble tiles, is the uniqueness of the finish. You can rest assured nobody else will have a shower floor like yours, even if they decide to install a pebble floor.

The beautiful finish also creates a focal point in your bathroom and boosts your home’s aesthetic value.

It isn’t guaranteed that it will raise your home’s curb appeal, but that is a solid possibility. Especially if the potential buyers have an interest in healthy living and holistic medicine.

Decent Lifespan

A quick look at opinions about pebble floors reveals that this flooring type is considered to have a short lifespan. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Pebbles are river rocks that have existed for decades, if not hundreds of years. Moving them from a riverbank into your bathroom won’t take away their durability. Applying a topcoat to improve slip resistance won’t affect the durability either.

The only thing with a short lifespan in all this story is the grout, which could crack and chip over time. However, tile grout is easy to remove and fix. In other words, this flooring type needs a lot of maintenance and might not be the most practical solution because of it. However, its lifespan is nothing but stellar.

6 Cons of Pebble Shower Floor

Now that you know why you should install pebble shower flooring let’s find out why you shouldn’t. Here are the main downsides of a pebble shower floor.

Finishing Finesse

Building a floor from scratch with stones you’ve gathered on your trips is rewarding and all, but it could be challenging when it comes to creating an artistic design. Applying the grout in such a way so as to maintain more or less the same level between the various sides of the shower floor is also challenging.

By challenging, we don’t mean impossible to achieve, though. You can try and perfect your techniques on plywood or concrete boards before finally installing the floor in your shower. Sure, this will take time and will drive up the installation costs.

High Maintenance

Another major downside is the high maintenance this flooring type requires – pretty much like any other floor made of porous stone.

On the one hand, pebble flooring needs constant sealing. There is no rule, but you should reseal at least once a year. If you have a large family and a lot of traffic in the shower, the floor might need resealing every six months.

Cleaning soap scum from in-between the pebbles is also a pain. Cleaning sessions will go from a few moments to solid minutes or more. That’s a small price to pay compared to the floor’s aesthetic value, but not everyone is willing to pay it.

Water Draining Issues

Alongside high maintenance, pebble flooring can also make it a pain to drain all the water on the floor, even if you respect all slopes during installation.

Draining issues can happen for two reasons. As mentioned above, spreading the grout in an even layer (and maintaining the slope while you’re doing so) is hard if you’re an expert and nearly impossible if you’re a beginner.

Such a scenario would not only result in draining issues, but you might have to deal with puddles of water forming each time you’re taking a shower.

Another impediment comes directly from the pebbles. Depending on how you arrange them, they could create barriers and prevent water from flowing toward the drain. In other words, prepare for quite a lot of mopping after each shower.

Requires Lots of Grout

We’ve said it before and say it again: pebble flooring requires a lot of grout. Unless you’re installing pebble tiles, in which case the installation won’t require more grout than any other floor tile. The result won’t be as valuable, though.

Hygiene Concerns

Pebble flooring may be healthy for your feet and legs, but it might not be so healthy overall. The problem is linked to drainage issues and the stagnant water resulting from it.

If you don’t mop it away immediately, your shower will transform into a perennially wet environment. Mold, mildew, and a few species of bacteria thrive in moist places and will start to grow in your shower. In addition to the respiratory issues they can cause, bathroom bacteria could lead to generalized infections, and they can be potentially life-threatening.

Are Pebble Shower Floors Hard to Clean?

Pebble shower floors are a pain to clean, no matter what kind of pebbles you opt for. Tiles are relatively easier to maintain and clean, but natural pebbles can gather a lot of soap scum. Stagnant water can cause mold and bacteria to grow in your shower but also attract pests, such as drain flies, gnats, ants, mosquitoes, and more.

Pebble Shower Floor Reviews

Pebble shower floor reviews reveal a positive consensus regarding the aesthetic value of this flooring option. These floors are unique and create a connection between your interior and the outdoors. The stones also integrate with success in all interior design, from rustic and traditional to ultra-sophisticated or contemporary.

Another positive trait regards the installation costs and installation ease. This flooring type is an excellent choice for anyone, from the DIY beginner to experienced contractors.

There are mixed feelings about the health effects and benefits of walking or standing on the pebbles. Some like their massage effect; others downright hate it. Some homeowners don’t mind it but aren’t overly enthusiastic either.

If you’re unsure whether this floor is for you, think about it. Do you like walking barefoot along a riverbank? Do you prefer a pebble beach over a fine sand one? Are you constantly buying footwear with massaging soles? If yes, pebble shower flooring might be right for you. Otherwise, steer clear.

When it comes to complaints, the top negative trait is the high maintenance and difficulty to clean the floor properly. Removing all soap scum is near impossible, and the floor might lose its allure over time due to soap and hard water residues that you haven’t managed to clean.

Homeowners also confirm that this flooring requires constant maintenance. Not only will you have to reseal the surface periodically, but you might also have to repair cracked or chipped grout.

Regarding the floor’s lifespan, most users claim that it doesn’t last long. However, as explained above, you can expect it to last for quite some time if you maintain it properly. And as long as the whole concept doesn’t get on your nerves and you decide to replace it with a more practical alternative.

Is Pebble Stone Flooring DIY-friendly?

Pebble stone flooring is incredibly DIY-friendly, and anyone can install it. That said, beginners might have trouble with the finishing touches.

The actual installation of the floor is easy and straightforward, whether you use tiles or real pebbles. As long as you work on small patches at a time, you won’t have issues with hardened adhesive.

Applying the grout after you’ve installed the stones is also fairly easy. Leveling it could be more troublesome, but there is a trick. You can cover the entire surface in the grout and then remove a superficial layer, letting the pebbles protrude only a bit.

If you like the effect of exposed stone, we recommend hiring a professional to install it – keep in mind that not all contractors know how to install pebble floors, so find someone who has worked on similar projects before. Otherwise, you’re better off saving money and installing it yourself.

FAQs

Pebble shower flooring comes with lots of mixed feelings. If you have more questions before deciding, here are a few answers.

What is the best grout to use on a pebble shower floor?

Epoxy grout is undeniably the best grout to use on a pebble shower floor. Compared to cement grout, epoxy is more durable, easier to maintain, and much more resistant. Used in high-traffic areas, this grout type doesn’t chip or crack and maintains its beautiful finish for longer. It doesn’t need sealing either (even though you’ll have to seal the stone).

Its main downside is the cost. Epoxy grout is ridiculously expensive and will have a considerable impact on the final cost of your project.

Cement grout is a more pocket-friendly alternative, but it requires more maintenance and is messier to apply. You also have to seal it regularly and expect it to crack or chip over time. If you have the budget and can’t say no to pebble flooring, we recommend epoxy grout.

What do you use to seal a pebble stone shower floor?

You should use a waterproof sealant formulated for natural stone. There are dozens of products on the market, so you’ll be spoiled with choices.

Apply the sealant at least 24 hours before grouting the floor, especially if you decide to use epoxy grout. In this way, you can prevent dirty water from soaking into the porous surface and becoming a home for mold, bacteria, and an array of pests.

Final Verdict

Pebble shower flooring is a unique choice for traditional and modern homes alike. The small river stones can be used to create a rustic bathroom, to add modern charm to your interior, or even to create an oriental oasis where you can unwind after a rough day.

Installing pebble floors is easy and cheap. Maintaining them not so much, though. Keeping these floors dry and clean is a true challenge. Furthermore, you may or may not like to stand on it.

Whether or not pebble shower flooring is the right choice for your home is down to you. We hope this guide can help you compare the pros and cons so that you can make the best possible decision.

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