What do I need to know when considering a walk-in shower?

August 4, 2017
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The first thing many of us use in the mornings is our shower. It provides us with that wake-up call and acts as a welcome refreshment before we face what is often a busy day. Features such as instant hot water, user-friendly controls, ease of maintenance as well as space are key for a successful design. So, let us dive into the world of walk-in-showers.

The Cost Factor

The first thing we need to understand is that cost will dictate our choice when it comes to design. Therefore, it is good to know that walk-in-showers are a cost-effective way of utilizing areas where space is limited. A shower of this type takes away a lot of clutter as many designs use glass and floor to ceiling tile options. Design such as this allows light to flood around the room. Everything is watertight and streamlined and this an ideal choice for those who adore the contemporary style.

There are two main types of showers available. One is the off-the-shelf option where panels are available for most shapes and sizes. The other option is to go bespoke, and this will without a doubt raise the cost. When you choose a bespoke option, you have full jurisdiction as to what finishes you would like to see used. Options could include special heights and widths as well as gold trimmings, angled or notched panels, the list just goes on. Bespoke type fittings can be ordered and delivered for a DIY install if wished.

bathroom

The Wet Room

Many showers of this type are part of an overall wet room design which is becoming increasingly popular in contemporary home styles. Flush to floor shower trays along with seamless panels are designed in such a way that drainage is fast and discreet allowing no standing water. The advantage is that the whole room is protected against steam and wet ensuring that the surrounding house walls are kept dry.

Panels

Many manufacturers advise home owners on using toughened glass as well as panels no narrower than 6mm. The popular choice is usually between 8mm and 10mm. This is for strength and durability, particularly important where children and the elderly are concerned. If a DIY effort is planned, have at least two people involved in the installation process as glass heavier than 6mm is difficult for one person to manage.

Shower Options

If the look of a shower tray doesn’t excite you there is another option, the underfloor tray. The floor tiles flow over this creating a continuous design as well as an illusion of extra space. If your home is of traditional style, this is probably the way to go. Examine the tiles you are purchasing to ensure that they are suitable for a wet room style, as glazed shiny options would be too slippy when wet and therefore are unsuitable. To keep the grouting looking pristine, there are new products available in the market specifically for this purpose.

Shower

Where to place the showerhead is the next question. Do you want it positioned on a wall or coming down from the ceiling? A ceiling showerhead option is ideal if you need to contain the water flow. You could also add a handheld shower option to the side on the wall if desired. Just be aware as to the size of space you are dealing with to avoid over spray. Options for showers include rainfall showerheads, standard showerheads, steam shower fittings and hand-held sprays.

It is advisable to put shower controls about 48 to 52 inches above the floor. Place them in such a way that they can be accessed from outside the shower area. Shower heads should be no higher than between 69 to 72 inches above the floor.

Accessories

Special lighting may be needed and if so, take this into consideration. The great thing about glass panels is that light is not restricted. Ventilation is very important as this will stop the build up of steam and reduce the possibility of damp and mildew. There are many accessories available such as wall niches which can be used for bathroom products, shaving mirrors, grab bars for safety as well as shower seats or benches.

Maintenance

One major concern to home owners is maintenance. How to keep such large panels of glass clean is always a question. At the cheaper end of the market, glass panels have no coating to prevent water deposits. It probably is worth spending a little more to get that protection and to keep in mind that care routine is a good idea such as wiping with a soft cloth often will save hard labor later. This daily habit only takes less than a minute. There is advice in the market place as to the harsh effects of some cleaning products as they can dull the finish. So, try and use products that are gentle and environmentally friendly.

Waterproofing

Building walk-in-shower demands a set of skills that is quite different to that of a normal bathroom. To measure up costs against what would be a traditional approach is difficult as so many options are available in the market place. When considering a project of this nature, your bathroom may need to be tanked.’ This is the process of waterproofing an area in the bathroom, maybe even the whole room.

Space

Doorless walk-in-showers are possibly the most flexible designs as they can be installed with ease. Consider accessibility as the guideline in this design. All that is required is to decide where the division happens between the shower section and the rest of the bathroom. A division can be glass or a tilled free standing wall. Some bathrooms are partially tanked to have this type of shower which allows for a more traditional style elsewhere in the room. This would only be possible if there is plenty of space available. Design options such as a built shelf for soaps etc. Or even a seat to help those with mobility issues are great.

Professional Advice For Conclusion

Building costs can vary a lot as every situation is different when it comes to waterproofing the room and this is why professional insight is needed. Too many DIY’ers have run into trouble and mistakes have proved to be very expensive. For example, a major leak in a wet upstairs room could destroy the room underneath. When formulating a design, think long-term as it is an expensive undertaking. Do your research before you commence such a project.

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