Steve Shinn, owner of Homework Remodels, in Phoenix, was looking for shower options to allow him to complete bath projects more efficiently. His research led him to ForzaStone, a stone panel product. “Putting up a few panels is going to take way less time than hundreds of tiles,” he says.

A few past clients had opted for stone slab showers, but these were about four times the cost of ForzaStone, Shinn estimates — Forza­Stone panel installation costs about the same as a porcelain or stone tile shower. “ForzaStone didn’t give me a cheaper option,” Shinn says, “but I can offer clients a comparable shower and have my own production people do the work” — a plus in a tough economy where Shinn was seeking ways to use fewer subs and keep his core crews busy.

Mighty Light

The panels are comprised of a 5 millimeter layer of stone and a 4 millimeter backer made of recycled plastic ply laminate, between two layers of metal alloy. At 3 pounds per square foot, says Jarrod Streng, Forza­Stone co-president and co-founder, the panels are 85% lighter than 3-centimeter-thick slabs of stone.

Since he began offering ForzaStone, about 50% of Shinn’s clients choose it for a shower, in contrast to the past, when 66% chose a stone tile and 33% opted for porcelain or ceramic tile. The lack of grout lines “brings real value to the table,” Shinn says.

His crews use a circular wet saw with a guide for long, straight cuts, and a diamond wheel grinder for small cuts. They waterproof the enclosure just as they would for tile showers, use a polyurethane adhesive to attach the panels, and finish the seams with silicone sealant. A 72-inch-by-60-inch panel fits the back wall of a tub surround, and crews can cut a second panel in half for the side walls. “Our offerings minimize waste and simplify our inventory, which [in turn] helps us deliver better cost to the marketplace,” Streng says. —Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING

ForzaStone Fact Sheet

  • Standard sizes in inches: 96x60, 72x60, 96x40, and 96x50. Custom sizes available.
  • Selections include several shades of travertine and marble.
  • The installation price is 20% more than stone tile and 50% less than 2-centimeter-thick stone slabs, ForzaStone’s co-founder Jarrod Streng says.
  • Panels are pre-sealed, but the manufacturer recommends sealing after installation due to on-site cuts.
  • Available through distributors in some regions or by mail order from the company.
  • Matching accessories include floor tile, niches , pencil trim, and silicone sealant.

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Lava Lure: Pyrolave Volvic Lava Stone Surfaces 

Hard Rock — Granite is the headliner in most kitchen remodels. Should quartz get more than second billing?