Pros and Cons of Onyx Shower: Better than Marble?

When it comes to choosing a natural stone, onyx is one of the most beautiful options you can choose. However, the appearance alone makes it look expensive, especially when you figure out it’s a gemstone. But what are the pros and cons of having an onyx shower?

Below, we will delve through the pros and cons list in detail so you can decide whether having an onyx shower is ideal for you.

What is Onyx?

To understand why onyx is suitable for bathroom enclosures, you need to understand the material. Onyx is considered a natural and solid stone ideal for bathrooms due to a lack of grout.

Pros and Cons of Onyx Shower

Unlike other bathroom materials, onyx stone is unique in that it is also used in jewelry. While you might think that makes this stone easy to scratch, it has a Mohs rating of 7. This rating makes it tough to scratch, making it suitable for everyday use.

Most “Onyx” includes solid surface material. We will discuss how this impacts the pros and cons listed below.

The Pros of an Onyx Shower

1. Ease of Installation

The first layer of professional installation is cheaper than other options because of prebuilt shower bases. The Onyx Collection, one of the more famous examples, has various options they sell at hardware stores like Lowes.

The stone isn’t incredibly easy (after all, it’s a big slab), but it is easier than most other stone options.

2. Onyx is a Long-Lasting Material

You’ll find that many Onyx bathroom fixtures come with anywhere from a 10-year warranty to a lifetime warranty. Much of this comes from that Mohs rating mentioned earlier, making it tougher than the average gemstone.

As a natural stone, you can expect it to last about as long as marble. However, some forms of onyx come with solid surface applications, which might reduce longevity under some circumstances.

3. Onyx Comes in a Variety of Colors

Onyx is a translucent and natural stone in many cases. This translucence gives it great flexibility, resulting in numerous color options.

Through the right contracting company, you will have access to onyx that comes in almost any color you can dream of. Don’t be afraid to be picky when you are using Onyx materials.

4. You Don’t Need To Worry About Grout Lines

Onyx is made of solid stone material, meaning that it comes as a complete unit. Even the solid surface portion involves no grout lines, as it is made in a fabrication facility.

The fabrication element means you don’t have to worry as much about standard-size pans for your shower. There is a drawback to this we will discuss in the next section.

The result means you don’t have to use as much caulk, making it a more seamless experience. This advantage comes with it being non-porous, meaning air or liquid cannot pass through it as easily.

5. It Is Easy To Clean

Those familiar with solid surface countertops and other non-porous materials know that they are easy to clean. Much of this comes from the natural resistance to bacteria with a surface that doesn’t collect materials. 

Other natural stone surfaces are close but not quite as good as onyx shower bases when it comes to being resistant.

The Cons of an Onyx Shower

1. Material Costs are Higher Than Other Options

While better than a marble shower (from $900 to $2400), onyx isn’t cheap. Compared to alternative shower options, your bare minimum cost for onyx is usually about $700.

Of course, this assumes that you need a standard shower size. Custom millwork and other issues result in this cost rising.

Remember that having a solid surface component to your onyx typically makes it cheaper than other natural stones.

2. Repairs are More Expensive

It isn’t easy to repair if you need to worry about cutting down onyx panels and finding replacements. Onyx is a unique material that many households don’t use, meaning that finding someone who handles it can be a challenge.

The result is that you end up paying a premium for getting someone to your home for repair. While installation is easy and relatively inexpensive, repairs are far more expensive than other options.

3. Onyx Panels Are Fragile

While the opening installation process is more straightforward, Onyx panels are still thin and easily breakable material. The surface won’t scratch easily with the toughness rating, but onyx will break easily when cut into panels.

These panels are best for bathroom wall installations, a unique aspect of onyx. If you only plan on putting down an onyx shower base, you might not have to worry about this.

4. The Hot Water Takes Longer With Onyx

Onyx is more environmentally friendly compared to plastic alternatives. The curse of using such an unusual material comes back with hot water usage.

Onyx is a material that maintains heat well, meaning that it is easier to heat a shower. This results in greater energy efficiency and longer shower waits.

For those who live in a house where they can’t wait for the shower, they might end up going to work a bit stinky a few times a week.

5. You Need To Be Careful With Maintenance

Over-the-counter bleach cleaners are not suitable for use on Onyx surfaces. The recommended cleaning process involves warm, soapy water, no harsh chemicals.

You can also choose to get specialized natural stone cleaning supplies. These supplies can add up in costs but make it a bit easier for maintenance.

However, you can also clean onyx with vinegar, which might save you time and money overall. Regardless, remembering to clean that one part of your bathroom with special stuff can get annoying.

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Is Onyx Good For Other Parts of Your Bathroom?

Onyx is not suitable for floors due to the fragileness of the material. You’ll find that they are ideal on shower walls, backsplashes, and as your tub base.

You’ll find onyx better used in situations that involve less physical contact. This makes backsplashes in most spots the more suitable choice.

Why Don’t More People Use Onyx?

More people do not use onyx because it is relatively expensive and fragile. It is a luxurious stone in the right situations, but people who don’t know its proper placement have learned costly lessons.

As a result, many of those long-term warranties come with caveats in their use. So while the material is solid and scratch-resistant, it is still fragile and tricky to work with.

Two Alternatives To Onyx Showers

Two alternatives to onyx include solid surface and granite.

Solid surface is the low-maintenance and relatively inexpensive option. They are a part of many existing Onyx applications because they are easy to clean. By removing the Onyx component, all you are left is a resin material that is easier to repair but known to be less good-looking.

Granite is the alternative to onyx. When misused, it is an uglier overall stone but is far more durable than onyx. Be prepared to pay a bit more for the extra durability.

Conclusion – Is Onyx Worth The Trouble?

When it comes to creating your dream bathroom, onyx is a beautiful and luxurious addition to your home. But if you don’t want to take the time to maintain it, you might not like it.

Onyx is a beautiful addition to your home when selecting your dream bathroom. So if you want it, be sure to respect its limitations, and you can keep it thriving for decades.

We hope this helps you decide on the best part of your bathroom. Thanks for reading.

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