I’m always so surprised when I talk to builders and architects about shower stucco. It seems it is very hard to find and not widely known. Shower Finish was first made many years ago as a substrate for tile or in locker rooms and industrial kitchens. It was an effective way of stopping water; the concept was to have a durable waterproof material to paint or tile over. Through the years people have found the product on our website and it is now most common as a “finished product”. I think people are tired of cleaning ugly grout in tile, and marble and granite are very expensive. With the resurgence of contemporary and “loft style” homes in the city the cement look inside has gotten very popular. Of course, some people add color to shower finish to match existing counter tops and décor. Super Shower Finish is a polymerized cementitious coating that can go over scratch and brown (typical underlayment for tile). It can also be easily retrofitted to make a bath into a shower or just upgrade existing. As with any other cement product there needs to be some suction for bond. A base coat over a cement board is typical and works well. When I did my daughters house we screwed Durock (USG) to the studs (3x5 sheets at 3/8 or ½ inch thick) and meshed the joints (2 inch drywall mesh works fine). Then a base coat of a polymer modified cement for extra strength (like Merlex Basex) and then two coats of Super Shower Finish. This is typically troweled smooth. The material can be carried out into the entire bathroom if desired. Be advised that when the material is wet you can see streaks as the water tends to absorb a small way by not evenly. When it dries it gets pretty consistent again. Also, as any other smooth cement based stucco expect some color mottling and variation. Of course, this is what most people want.
Any cement material is extremely high Ph so it is a natural biocide. Soap scum doesn’t build up and it’s as easy to clean as any smooth material. There are no joints or areas that require scrubbing. People often ask if a sealer is recommended over the Super Shower Finish. I actually tried that myself just to make sure it was water tight. I used MicroSeal II but couldn’t get it to go in. The answer is: “if it makes you feel better to seal it go ahead”. It works just fine without it.
I am convinced that if more people knew about this it would be used extensively. The material lasts for decades and is virtually maintenance free. Color is open to the imagination as some people add multiple “blend over” colors and get real creative. There are bathrooms that are now part of the “outside” that are carried into a private garden or courtyard. This works great as it can match the existing exterior stucco seamlessly. Design professionals and architects are really excited about using this product and I have been working with some designers in New York that just love it. It certainly is a different look so be sure it’s what you want. Most people do their own color. Although, Merlex will make matches and provide the color as well. It is highly recommended to experiment with the color and get the approval of the customer by using a mock-up before proceeding.
There is a frequently asked questions technical sheet at the Merlex site so if you’re interested in this product look at the Technical Data Sheet on Super Shower Finish and the FAQ.