Is Matte Or Glossy Tile Better For A Shower?


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Large elegant master bathroom with shower, and big bath tub.

When it comes to choosing tiles for the shower, the most common question will revolve around the tile’s size, color, and shape. However, an often-overlooked factor is whether to go with a matte or glossy tile. While picking between matte or glossy tiles might sound like an aesthetic decision, it is not. To help you figure out between the two, we compiled a list of the pros and cons of matte and glossy tiles. So, which tile should you choose for your shower?

While the option between the two is subjective regarding tiling the bathroom in general, the answer is pretty definite in the shower section. Glossy tiles can get extremely slippery when wet, so we advise you to install matte tiles for your shower floor. 

While you can still install a glossy tile on the shower wall, the floor must be able to provide decent slip resistance – hence, the matte tile decision. Now, we will further elaborate on the key differences as well as the notable pros and cons attributed to both matte and glossy tiles. Read on below to know more.

What is a Matte Tile?

A matte tile is easily distinguished by its rather rugged surface, which lacks the sheen of its counterpart. Due to a rougher surface, matte tile also provides higher slip resistance which is a crucial aspect to be had in the shower. 

In addition, matte tile can better conceal stains and dirt, which means matte tiles require less cleaning than glossy ones. Finally, in terms of aesthetics, matte tiles exude a warmer and ‘earthy’ vibe and create quite a relaxing environment. 

Below are the pros and cons that you can expect with a matte tile.

Pros:

  • High Slip Resistance

The matte finish used on the surfaces gives the matte tile excellent traction and pretty much eliminates the risk of accidentally slipping due to a wet surface. That said, matte tiles are not slip-proof, only slip-resistant. So, be sure to take all the necessary safety precautions still. 

  • Less Maintenance

Matte tiles manage to hide stains and dirt better, which means you won’t need to clean it daily. This is a great reason to go with a matte tile, especially if you prefer not to the clean bathroom daily.

  • Creates a Relaxing Vibe

Matte tiles create a naturally rustic look as their appearance closely mimics natural stone or even wood. So if you are aiming for specific bathroom décor, let’s say, a more rustic ambiance, then a matte tile will perfectly complement this style.

Cons:

  • Hard to Clean

While we did note that matte tiles require less maintenance, the moment you allow dirt and grime to set in, cleaning will become such a hassle. This is because matte tiles feature a more porous surface where dirt can embed itself in. Just remember to clean the matte tile at least weekly to avoid having to contend with tricky to remove stains and mold.

What is a Glossy Tile?

Wall of white glossy tiles with reflection

The natural reflective shine of glossy tiles can make a relatively small room appear larger. As such, a polished tile is ideal for small bathrooms to help make them look more spacious than it is. Also, the reflective surface of gloss tiles makes it act like a large floor mirror. As it bounces light around the bathroom, the area can effectively look brighter. 

The shiny surface of glossy tiles makes it a popular choice for bathrooms with little natural light. In addition, while gloss tiles require regular cleaning, it is pretty easy to do so, thanks to the non-porous and smooth surface. Sure, stains can be pretty visible on glossy tiles, but removing said stains can be done with just a simple wipe.

Is the glossy tile ideal for showers, though? Well, the shiny surface makes glossy tiles slippery when wet. Thus, we recommend you specifically use polished tiles for backsplashes and shower walls, not for shower pans or flooring. 

Pros:

  • Easy to Clean

Due to glossy tiles’ shiny and smooth finish, cleaning is considerably more manageable than matte tiles. In addition, the non-porous surface makes it hard for dirt and grime to stick to it, preventing stains from developing on tiles. 

  • Makes a Room Look Larger

As noted earlier, the reflective surface of the glossy tile pretty much makes it the second mirror in your bathroom. The highly reflective surface can make a small shower or bathroom appear larger at a glance. If you are looking for a way to make your bathroom look more spacious, installing glossy tiles should help you achieve this goal. 

  • Improves Bathroom Lighting

This is a big reason to install glossy tiles for those whose bathrooms lack natural lighting. Glossy tiles, especially when installed on the wall, can help bounce around the light throughout the room. If you feel that your bathroom is too dark, go with glossy tiles. You can significantly enhance the lighting of your bathroom without the need to install additional light fixtures.

Cons:

  • It Can Get Slippery

One of the most significant downsides and why we refrain others from installing glossy tiles on the shower floor is how slippery it can get when wet. This is the biggest downside of glossy tiles and the main reason why you should never install this type of tile in the shower. 

Combining Matte and Glossy Tiles

Texture mosaic tiles glossy and matte for bathroom

Of course, who says that we are restricted to one or the other regarding matte and glossy tiles? Combining the two is quickly gaining traction in the industry in terms of popularity. Utilizing both matte and glossy tiles of the same color creates a unique aesthetic to the bathroom, which is not achievable by either type of tile on its own. 

The fusion of rugged and smooth surfaces creates a unique, clever, and light aesthetic effect. In addition, you can balance both tiles’ strengths – the solid slip resistance of the matte tile and the room expanding capability of the gloss tile.

Conclusion

Matte tiles are the best options for showers due mainly to the safety that it provides. While glossy tiles can look luxurious or modern, they are unfortunately not designed for use in wet areas as they can get dangerously slippery. However, you can combine both if you want to add a unique and subtle visual flair to your bathroom’s aesthetics.