More and more homes are choosing to shun traditional baths in favour of shower units. For a young family a bath can be essential, but as children grow to teenagers a bath can take up unnecessary space. Showers can be practical, space saving additions that save time and water and are perfect for the time restricted, eco conscious consumer.
Showers also prove more accessible than baths and are a good option for the elderly or those with limited mobility – particularly with some designs now including built in seating. Showers can also be a great design element too with newer, more modern designs turning them in to a centrepiece in some bathrooms.
The type of shower you choose is heavily dependent on the type of boiler you have in your home. The boiler will dictate the water pressure available and this will have an impact on the type of shower you can fit into your bathroom as certain models will not work with low pressure. Establish this before you start designing and investing. If unsure, you should check with your plumber or bathroom designer.
The space available in your bathroom will heavily influence your shower purchase decision. Showers tend to take up less space than baths and are a great solution for small bathrooms and can usually be fitted into corners for maximum space saving. Make sure to measure your space accurately to help you decide on your model size. Look at the shape and size of your room and think about how you would like it to flow. Everything needs to be accessible and you must leave enough floor space to move freely within your bathroom. This can be difficult within homes in England and the UK especially within older houses where the size or existence of bathrooms was not prioritised. Try and avoid baths and showers jutting out into the room leaving awkward wasted space.
Some showers can be framed into alcoves to ensure they are discreet whilst, for more square rooms they can be freestanding and placed within corners with 3 sides pronounced.
The style of your shower is chosen on practicality, accessibility and design. The most popular types of shower are ‘enclosure’ styles – which consist of an enclosure, tray and shower unit. These are traditionally ‘framed’ with metal or plastic but can come ‘frameless’ for a sleeker, more aesthetically pleasing look. There are also walk-in style enclosures available which consist of glass panels (usually 8 or 10mm) and a tray (underfloor or otherwise) leaving open space for entry – making them more accessible and meaning door space doesn’t need to be accounted for.
For less spacious bathrooms – the ‘quadrant’ style shower, with a curved design in contrast to traditional square models is proving popular for its sleek appearance.
And finally, what about showers with no enclosure whatsoever? Wet rooms are becoming more popular with whole bathrooms becoming a shower and drainage coming through the floor. Wet rooms can be restrictive and require certain flooring styles to be fitted. Concrete floors leave no space below and mean that drainage would be unavailable, so make sure to check your subfloor before making your decision.
For enclosure showers – the type of doors you choose can impact the space and practicality of the design. Many come with traditional pivot doors –coming in single or double designs. Pivot doors, whilst easy to operate, mean that opening space needs to be accounted for in the design so this and the opening direction should both be taken into account when planning. Sliding doors are a popular option with no outward opening space needed and are a great option for accessibility reasons but may require more width as they consist of at least two panels. A more pricey option, but with a lot of advantages when it comes to space, are ‘Bi Fold’ doors which fold inward to create more entering and exit space.
The style of the bath you choose comes down to a lot of factors – functionality, space and design. The bath you choose needs to suit your lifestyle, space and style so can vary in size and design depending on your circumstance and how you will use it. Bath material can vary from more common acrylic to cast iron, steel and even traditional stone. With a bath being such a large element of the room, it is worth considering from the get go whether you are looking for a more traditional or modern look to your bathroom.
For those who want a standout centrepiece to their bathroom (space allowing) freestanding models can be a great option if you have a larger bathroom with space all around. These kinds of baths mean you can access the tub from all the way around. Freestanding baths can vary from traditional style tubs with feet for a timeless look compared to more modern designs which give a contemporary feel. Freestanding baths are, however, more expensive to fit due to the drainage needed – some floors will be much more accommodating than others and can mean a lot of pre-work to the floor and piping before fitting.
Usually placed against a wall or in a corner, fitted baths are the most popular option for most homes – taking up less space and requiring less work before fitting. The downsides of fitted baths come in their lack of entry points compared to freestanding models as the sides fitted in to walls mean less points of entry. Fitted baths also come in a corner option with a more rounded wall, these fit perfectly into the corners where walls meet and are great for space saving but can mean a more cramped bathing space.
Single or double ended?
When fitting your bath, you need to consider your bathing requirements and preferences. Single ended baths with taps at one end mean only one option for laying, whilst double ended models with centre taps give more variety as you can vary your position when bathing.
Many traditional designs come with deck mounted taps – fitted into the edge of the unit either end or in the middle.
These come with plumbing hidden within the wall and the taps hanging over the tub to fill, freeing up space on the bath edges.
Another, more contemporary option is a ‘floor mounted’ style which are particularly well paired with freestanding baths. Floor mounted taps are fitted from the floor with piping exposed and sit next to the bath with the facet hanging over for filling. These can be placed anywhere in the room depending on plumbing position.
Want to know more about different types of taps? Check out our buying guide:
Why not add the practicality of a shower with the relaxation of a bath and combine the two? Shower Baths make a great addition for those who need a quick, convenient shower but also enjoy a long soak in the bath from time to time. With a wall or floor mounted shower unit fitted these types of baths are becoming more popular to accommodate smaller bathrooms and can come with or without enclosure panels.
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