Remodeling a bathroom involves making lots of decisions and a financial commitment. When deciding on an element like the shower curb, it’s essential to consider both form and function.
Your shower curb does not have to match the floor or wall tile exactly. The best choice for your shower curb is a waterproof, durable, easy-to-clean material that works with your budget and bathroom design.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss what factors to consider when choosing a shower curb, including design, durability, budget, and standard shower curb requirements.
Choosing a Material for Your Shower Curb
When choosing a material for your shower curb, it’s essential to consider both the curb’s form and function.
Since the curb serves as the transition point for the shower, you want it to look good in the overall scheme of the bathroom.
However, you also need to consider the primary function of the curb, which is to keep water off your bathroom floor.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Shower Curb Material
When considering what tile to choose for your shower curb, the aesthetics of how it looks is only one piece to consider.
Other factors to consider are how waterproof the tile is, how easy to clean it is, the durability, the design, and your budget.
1. Choosing Waterproof Tile
Not all tiles are created equally waterproof.
Some types of tile will allow more water to seep through than others.
As with your bathroom floor, water seeping through the tiles over time can cause water damage.
Porcelain and ceramic are two of the most waterproof materials you can use.
Tiles used on shower floors are usually more waterproof than other types of tile.
Double-check your options to ensure the tile you choose for the curb is rated to withstand a lot of water.
2. Ease of Cleaning the Shower Curb
Another thing to consider when choosing your tile is how easy it will be to clean and maintain over time.
The shower curb is one of your shower’s most highly trafficked areas.
Depending on your chosen material, dirt, oils from your feet, and some bath products could stain your shower curb.
Porous materials like travertine can easily stain if not properly sealed and maintained.
Choosing a material that is easy to clean, keep up with, and doesn’t stain easily is critical.
Another factor to consider in cleaning is the grout lines.
Choosing a curb that is one solid surface straight will prevent you from having to clean grout lines across the top.
If you choose pieces of tile for your curb that require grout lines, try to select the largest ones possible, so you have the fewest seams, or grout lines, to clean.
3. The Durability of the Curb Tile
Tile durability is another factor to consider when choosing your curb material.
Even when properly installed, less durable tiles will have difficulty holding up in this high-traffic area over time.
Tiles are rated for durability, so choose a tile that can withstand weight and foot traffic.
Porcelain is popular for showers because it is highly waterproof and durable.
4. The Design of Your Shower Curb
Taking all of these factors into consideration, you still want your shower curb to look good with the overall design of your bathroom.
Two things to consider are the size of your bathroom and how the shower fits in the space.
Matching the curb to the floor tile can make the bathroom appear larger in smaller bathrooms.
Not having a “hard line” where the floor ends and the shower begins can give the appearance of more floor space.
For this to work, however, the material you use for your bathroom floor will need to be waterproof enough to also serve as an appropriate material for the curb.
For larger bathrooms or bathrooms where the shower is in a corner or tucked away, it can work well to mark that separation with a curb material that does not match the bathroom floor.
The shower curb does not necessarily have to match the floor or shower tile.
The curb can match the bathroom countertop or a ledge inside the shower.
5. Working With Your Budget
Last but least, you need to consider your budget.
A material like ceramic is both budget-friendly and versatile.
Porcelain tiles can be more expensive than ceramic but are incredibly durable and waterproof.
Take all of the factors discussed into consideration, and make the best decision that works within your budget.
Requirements of Your Shower Curb
Another factor to consider is that your shower curb must meet specific requirements to be up to code.
Cities and states have different code requirements, so you’ll need to ensure your curb can properly pass inspection.
Being up to code is especially important if you plan to rent out your property or ever plan on selling it.
Standard shower curb requirements include:
- The slope of the curb needs to angle ⅛” to ¼” (3.17 – 6.35 mm) toward the drain. A flat curb will collect water on top, whereas a slope draining away from the shower will leak water onto the bathroom floor. The slope must angle in toward the drain.
- The height of the curb needs to be at least 2” (50.8 mm) higher than the drain. If, for example, the slope from the curb to the drain is already ½” (12.7 mm), your curb only needs to be 1 ½” (38.1 mm) to make up a 2” (50.8 mm) total height from curb to drain.
- The height of the curb shouldn’t be more than 9” (228.6 mm) from the top of the drain. For example, if the slope from the curb to the drain is already ½” (12.7 mm), your curb cannot be taller than 8 ½” (215.9 mm).
- You should line the area underneath the curb should with a moisture-resistant barrier. This barrier will help prevent mold, mildew, wood rotting, and other damage caused by excessive moisture over time.
While it’s essential that you like how your shower curb looks with the overall design of your bathroom, the curb’s look is just one factor to consider.
Waterproofing, durability, ease of cleaning, budget, and code requirements are all things to consider when choosing the material for your shower curb.
Cheers, tools owners!
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