Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

Exposed brick in a walk-in shower... Good idea or bad?

bhiday's picture

We're about to start digging on a new custom home here in town.  This one will be pretty tricked out and one of the themes we have going is the use of interior brick (kitchen backsplash, fireplace surround, mudroom floor, etc).  We are planning on using General Shale's Thin Brick or a similar product for the afore-mentioned applications, but we have some concerns about the walk-in shower.

Now.... we always do our showers using the Wedi pre-formed pans and backer board.  We seal all of the seams using the Wedi-brand polyurethane sealant and have NEVER....EVER... had any of our showers leak.

My thought is to set the Thin Brick like I would normally set tile (using thinset mortar w/ a 1/4" or 3/8" notched trowel), seal them with a high end stone sealer, grout between the brick, and seal everything again.  

The house will be tied into city water and we plan on installing a water softener.  Thus, I think we'll be able to keep spotting and calcium staining to a minimum.  

What do you guys think?  Other than keeping it clean, do any of you foresee any problems? 

Could something like that be (post #205844, reply #1 of 4)

Could something like that be negatively percieved by the buyer?  I think it would work, but hard water and soap scum could be a problem.

Is there a glazed tile that looks like brick?  That would be my choice.

Found one online.

Essentially you're talking (post #205844, reply #2 of 4)

Essentially you're talking about Saltillo tile.  The main problem would be the porosity, but presumably careful sealing would take care of that.

Have you talked to the manufacturer?

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I'd pass (post #205844, reply #3 of 4)

I'd never do nything like that in a shower.

Obviously you know brick and grout are porous. But any sealer used in a shower should be a vapor permeable sealer. Moisture will always make it's way through in one form or another, and once it does, you want it to ba able to dry back out through teh sealer, thus the vapor permeable aspect of it.

There's also the texture on the brick. It'll hold soap sups, shampoo, conditioner, even it it's rinsed down. Eventually you'll have discolorations from the organic buildup.

Of course it can be scrubbed, but there goes your ease of maintenance, and your sealer. Bit by bit.

Any moisture that does get behind the sealer can discolor. There are a couple fo nasty cases going on now with crackle glaze tile that was used in showers. Water got through the "crackle" and then discolored/molded behind the glaze.

As cool as the brick would look in a shower, I'd not install it were it my work. The furthest I'd go with real brick would be a brick wall with a glass panel held just off it.

I'm not familiar with a really good looking porcelain faux-brick tile.

You could always use tile, but some sort of subway in a running bond to keep the brick theme. But instead of using "brick sized" tile I'd get away from it and use large format rectangulars.

Have porcelain tile on the lower "splash part" of the wall and transition to brick on the upper part of the wall, and vault the ceiling. A simple barrel vault or something fancier, then do a brick veneer on that too. A variation of the ceiling in the url below:

There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who do not.