Bathroom Shower Enclosures
Far more people choose to shower each day than take a bath, which means that any bathroom remodel you might be planning should definitely include a shower of some kind. Whether you’re remodeling your bathroom on a shoestring budget or you have grand plans to upgrade the bathroom, you’ll have a staggering number of decisions to make regarding what kind of shower to buy, which materials are best and which accessories will pull the whole look together. This guide gives you all the basics to help you get informed and make the best possible decision for your bathroom remodel.
Get to Know Shower Enclosure Varieties
When it comes time to choose and buy your dream shower, perhaps the most important issue to address will be what kind of shower enclosure you want. After all, the enclosure is what people will see, while the showerhead itself is a relatively small part of the equation.
The standard and most affordable option on the market will be a shower and tub enclosure. Typically, this combination shower and tub comes already made in a single piece and merely needs to be installed and hooked up to existing plumbing.
If you want to shower regularly but still have the option of a bath in the future, this enclosure is your best bet.
A dedicated shower stall will have a completely flat surface, and these come in many sizes and shapes. A small square shower stall with a metal-trimmed glass door, called a frame, on swinging hinges is a popular variety when space is in limited supply.
These occupy a very small footprint, making them a suitable addition to a tiny bathroom. If space and budget permits, you may prefer to upgrade to a large shower stall with three tiled walls as a surround and a large glass panel serving as the door.
Another upscale option is to build the shower stall in the corner of the bathroom, using two tiled walls and two glass walls. Frameless designs, where glass meets glass directly, look beautiful, modern and very luxurious.
Finally, you can choose a glass block tile, which is not completely transparent, giving the user additional privacy, and it can be shaped into a rounded design rather than the traditional square or rectangular versions.
Custom or Stock Shower Options
One big decision you’ll need to make about your shower is whether to choose a stock option or a customized option. A stock option is, just like the name suggests, one that you can find already made and in stock in a store or online.
A stock shower is typically much cheaper than any other choice on the market, making it a relatively easy choice for anyone who wants to stick to a limited budget when remodeling their bathroom. However, there are also plenty of upsides to choosing a custom shower option.
Custom showers let you pick your choice of materials and door, and they allow homeowners to decorate in the color scheme of their choosing. Plus, you can create a shape that takes full advantage of your bathroom's layout, and you can accommodate any specific needs you or your family have in the process.
Shower Tile Material and Color Choices
If you opt to have a custom shower made for your bathroom, you get to choose the materials for construction as well as the colors of the design. Most showers built in this style will have at least half of the surrounding walls made from tile, which is easier to install than a solid piece and easy to keep clean and hygienic in a wet and humid environment.
You can also choose to tile the entire shower floor, but buying a solid floor panel may be an easier and cheaper in the long run. If you choose tile for your shower, you'll have virtually every color and size imaginable available.
You can install the tiles in a unique pattern, have a thin strip of mosaic glass tiles at shoulder-height for a burst of color or stick to a single color for a neutral design. Other materials that can be used for showers, either in tile or solid slab forms, include glass, acrylic and natural stone.
Keep in mind that tiles will always be cheaper than slabs or blocks, simply because they are much lighter, easier to ship and easier to install.
Accessibility Concerns for Your Shower
Depending on the physical needs, you might need to take accessibility into consideration when building or buying your shower. To start with, most accessible showers have a very low threshold, which makes it easier to enter and exit.
Some showers can also have ramps for wheelchair access, if needed. Adding in a seat can also make it easier for individuals to shower comfortably, and one or more hand rails can ensure stability on a wet and slippery surface.
Textured rather than slick tiles are a smart choice for anyone with physical disabilities, children or seniors, all of whom may be more prone to slips and falls when showering.
Picking a Showerhead
The shower fixtures are small in size compared to the total enclosure, but they still deserve your attention during the bathroom remodel. The more common showerhead is the single spray nozzle showerhead, which usually has an adjustable spray.
A rain shower offers a gentler spray and typically has a large, flat head. A handheld showerhead is attached to a hose and allows the user to hold and direct the spray while in the shower.
While many showers have just one showerhead, larger versions can have multiple showerheads. Showerheads come in finishes including chrome, silver, stainless steel, brushed nickel, platinum, brass, black and white.
Considering the showerhead, accessibility, the enclosure and the materials should give you a rough idea of what kind of shower will work best in your remodeled bathroom.
Don't forget that you can also add in luxurious extras – built-in speakers, waterproof lighting and a digital thermostat to adjust water temperature from the shower, all of which will upgrade your shower experience.