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What Material Should You Use for a Shower Bench?

 

Wondering what material to use for your shower bench? Here’s everything you need to know!

A great summary of the different shower bench materials you can use, and great examples for when to use them. Including granite benches, quartz benches, marble benches, tiled benches, and wood benches. Beautiful inspiration for the bathroom!

When we decided to renovate our master bathroom, 99.9% of the reason was because we wanted a nicer shower. A nice shower is something that never goes out of style, and there’s nothing better than having a large, fresh space to warm up in after a long day’s work. For our new shower we knew we wanted tile, fancy faucets, more space and, last but certainly not least, a shower bench.

When done right, shower benches are really stylish and unique [see all of the amazing Bathroom Design Plans here]. I think they add just a little bit of more class and personality to a nice bathroom. On the more practical side, shower benches improve home safety by helping to prevent falls from happening in the shower. They’re also relaxing to use after being on your feet all day (especially if you’ve been chasing after children like I am!) and can be a great storage shelf to tuck away your shampoo and soap bottles.

I’m happy to report that my shower bench dreams are finally coming true! But through the renovation process, some hurdles were harder to get over than others and figuring out what material to use for a shower bench was one of them. I couldn’t find the information I wanted anywhere! I kept wondering: Why are people paying for more expensive materials? Is it just because of how they look? What type of materials have to be maintained? Which is the easiest to install? What are some of the more cost-efficient options? So after some research, I figured out some answers on my own and am happy to share what I discovered. Hopefully after reading this, you won’t need to stress about figuring out what material to use for a shower bench in the future!

What to consider when picking material for your shower bench:

A few things to consider when picking material for your shower bench include:

  • Budget (as always),
  • Esthetics, and
  • Maintenance

We had a little more wiggle room in our budget for a shower bench and knew we wanted a higher-end look that was easy to maintain.

Quartz shower bench with subway tile shower

When it comes to your shower bench, there are a few main choices (from what my husband and I could figure out!):

  1. Granite
  2. Marble
  3. Tile
  4. Teak (wood)
  5. Quartz

Granite and Marble

Granite and marble are both beautiful, but can get expensive too. They are both porous stones, which means they absorb liquids relatively quickly. If you use a porous stone for a shower bench, it would need to be sealed very well to begin with. Sealant also wears off over time, especially in a heavily used and wet place like a shower, so it would need to be resealed every now and then. Because granite and marble are expensive and high maintenance, we decided they weren’t for us. But both stones can really take the look of a shower to the next level.

Here’s an example of a beautiful marbled floating shower bench:

What shower seat material should I use.
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You can see a tiny bit of the beautiful black granite bench in this picture:

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Tile

Continuing the tile from your shower walls onto your shower bench is a great option, and fairly affordable if you have a reasonably priced main tile (like our subway tiles). Whether you want a full shower bench or a floating shower bench, using the same tile that you have in your shower can be a great option. However, we liked the idea of having some contrast with our subway tiles and decided that we wanted a solid colour for the top our shower bench. Also, tile can be hard to clean – so ultimately we decided that this look wasn’t for us.

If you were doing a tiled shower bench, you could do one just like this corner floating shower bench from My Life from Home:

Teak

Teak is another great, affordable option for a shower bench. Teak shower benches are not cold when you sit down on them and they are much cheaper than stone. Teak holds up very well to excessive moisture, unlike most other woods, and usually teak furniture stands up very well over time. Using teak, you could even opt for a bench that folds up or a mobile bench that you could pick up and bring into the shower. This is a great option for smaller spaces or if you’re looking for something that’s multi-functional. Teak also offers a fairly neutral look and can match with almost any bathroom and shower. The downside of using teak is that watermarks and stains can develop. Also, teak can patina (tarnish) and discolour over time, so you would need to sand and apply oil treatments every once in a while. We wanted something more permanent in our shower and something a little more low maintenance, so we decided against a teak shower bench. However, overall it’s relatively low maintenance and a great budget-friendly option.

Here’s a great teak shower bench that you can move in and out of the shower easily!

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Quartz

Then there is quartz. Quartz is manufactured, meaning it’s not a natural stone. But being man-made, it is also a non-porous material, so you don’t have to apply sealers or worry about re-applying later. We liked the idea of this low-maintenance feature. Plus, a solid surface such as quartz can also be less work then cleaning, for example, subway tile. And less cleaning is always a plus in my books!

However, quartz can get expensive (as much as granite sometimes) but as mentioned, we had a little bit of wiggle room in our budget. We also did a bit of hunting around and found a cheaper off-cut (leftover) piece from Mercanti Granite and Quartz! Mercanti Granite and Quartz is a local store that specializes in supplying and installing granite and quartz countertops, as well as sinks and faucets. They didn’t seem surprised when we talked to them about using an off-cut slab for this project and helped us find the perfect piece. Buying a leftover piece of stone is a great option that many people don’t know about when they’re shopping around, however most local retailers will offer it – you just have to ask! The only downside to this is that sometimes you might not get exactly what you want, but it’s always worth checking into.

The Shower Bench We Chose

We also really liked the look of quartz. We thought that a full, more solid colour would contrast nicely with the subway tile that’s in our shower and on the base of the bench. It was also a bit of a higher-end look for our bathroom.

Seeing as quartz was in our budget, low maintenance and what we wanted esthetically for our space, we decided this was the material we were going to use.

We opted for a quartz slab with a little bit of brown in it:

A great summary of the different materials you can use for a shower bench, with some reasons as to why you choose one over another. Beautiful inspiration for the bathroom!

Even though the bathroom renovation isn’t quite done, I think the subway tile shower bench with quartz looks amazing! I’m so happy with it and can’t wait to use it. I hope sharing this experience is helpful for you during your bathroom renovation process!

If you’re looking to install your tiled bench, here’s a great video for how to frame it in properly

What do you think?

Are you looking to install a shower bench in your bathroom? Or do you already have one? What were some of the challenges you faced when picking and installing one?

FIND MORE BATHROOM RENOVATION UPDATES HERE:

Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3 / Week 4
Week 5 / Week 6 / Week 7 / Week 8
Week 9 / Week 10 (Final Reveal!)

See our COMPLETED MODERN BATHROOM here.

A beautiful modern bathroom renovation with chrome and matte black faucets, sleek modern fixtures and natural wood accents. Beautiful transformation!

A great summary of the different shower bench materials you can use, and great examples for when to use them. Including granite benches, quartz benches, marble benches, tiled benches, and wood benches. Beautiful inspiration for the bathroom!

*This renovation was sponsored by The Home Depot Canada and Delta Canada. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. For more information, please read my disclosure policy*

8 thoughts on “What Material Should You Use for a Shower Bench?

  1. wow, that’s amazing. I did not notice that part of the shower. We recently bought a new house, and the whole shower has to go – but as soon as we remodel our bathroom, I’m going to look into getting one of this! Thanks for your useful info. I really love it.

  2. I think the quarts bench turned out really well.
    I’m a fan of teak, but it’s not the right material if you want a built-in bench like you went with.

  3. Just in the final stages of my bathroom remodel planning and this is one of my final decisions: tiled or solid surface bench seat?!! So at first I was think of cutting down my bench seat to for the 12×24 tile I am already putting on the walls, would fit and match perfectly. HOWEVER, even though 12×24 would serve its purpose and be plenty big for what it’s intended use, it just wouldn’t be symmetrical to the eye in a 32” wide shower. It decibels would look “off”. So then I was thinking, how could I tile the bench top with keeping within the grout lines of the wall tiles? But then that would be too many, as well as asymmetrical, grout lines on the bench top itself since I’m going vertical with the 12×24 tile. So the only option really, that would look and function best, is a solid bench top. And funny enough, my color scheme is exactly opposite of yours, I’m going Statuario marble on the walls and solid white on the bench top LOL
    You’re so right about this information being extremely difficult to find online, I honestly think they’re trying to keep it a trade secret of sorts. Making the tilers seem like experts and score points with their clients, the homeowner. Since I’m doing this remodel myself I needed to know the skinny for myself!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, really helped me make my final decision!
    I went with a solid white 12×48 by Swanstone (man-made “solid” stone) that is finished on all side so that you can cut it down where you need to. Stumbled upon it by accident on Houzz. So glad I did!! Best price too, I did try to find it at a lower cost but everyone else was selling it for at least $20 more than Houzz was. Here I am trying to find it cheaper when I’m already getting a deal at $144+tax hahahahaha I just never miss the opportunity to search for the lowest price offered though, you’d be crazy not too. This all adds up very quickly!
    Also found a 60” resin stone-look sill (meant for use as threshold saddles on windows in and out of wet areas, and for shower curbs) for a curb top in pure white to match the bench seat, I’m so excited about this especially. Normally these sold in batches of 5 or more, like wholesale, I think to ensure contractors are buying it and not direct to DIYers, in keeping in line with my theory of them trying to keep some things a trade secret… But I found a website that sold them in single quantity. This will ensure that my curb will mimic the look of my bench and really tie it all together. I can not wait to break ground in this bathroom!! I getting closer and closer to a real start date. This bathroom is 30 years old and only cosmetically updated by the last homeowner who thought they were DIY pros They obviously didn’t educate themselves enough to actually take on the project, we continue to have to patch things to stop leaks in our living room, the room directly below this bathroom… Its well past time this bathroom needs a complete overhaul…

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