Posted by: Fonte Dei Marmi | September 29, 2010

Design options for shower enclosures…and a few things to avoid.

When it comes to designing your own shower enclosure, unlike shower cabins discussed last week, there are a lot more options open to you. Whether you want your shower enclosure to be recessed into an alcove, to go into a corner or extend the length of a room, you can have it.

Shower enclosures can come, or be made to measure, in an infinite number of sizes. The only limit is getting it into the room into which it’s going to be installed. (See Logistics:

Glass panels can vary in thickness. The ideal is between 5 – 8mm. Too thick and the glass looses its elasticity – if you fall or walk into it, it will hurt more and be more likely to crack than a thinner glazed panel. Thicker glass will be more expensive, heavier and less clear. All shower enclosures are made with safety glass. Even a 4mm thickness, 800mm x 2000mm panel will withstand 45 kg of weight thrown at it.

Doors for shower enclosures can be pivot, sliding, bi-fold or stable. Pivot doors take more space, so not ideal for small areas, where a bi-fold door may be the best solution. Sliding doors are often used for long areas. Stable doors are more commonly used for the carer market. Door panels should allow at least 500mm for the opening – you want to walk into your shower not sidle in.

Shower enclosures can be equally at home on a shower tray or directly onto a wet floor. They can be any height, with a rim or rimless.

There are a number of high quality shower enclosures where the hinges, handles and profiles on the inner part of the enclosures are completely flat making it so much easier to clean and wipe down after use. With minimal maintenance these can look good forever.

Avoid common mistakes:

• If you want etched glass – vanity panels – make sure order them. Shower enclosure panels are clear as standard.

• Make sure you know which way you want the door to open. Specify whether you want it left or right hung.

• Beware of cheaply made products. Cheap glass may be green tinged and/or wavy. Profiles are commonly plastic or a poor quality chrome effect, which will quickly flake.

• Make sure the guarantee covers everything, not just the glass.

• Stay away from white profiling or rims. Sunlight will discolour it. Choose chrome, everything else looks shocking.

• When you buy a shower enclosure remember you just get the panels. Shower trays, fittings and brassware will not be included.

• If you want a made-to-measure enclosure to fit a specific space make sure your supplier organises a template to be made before ordering bespoke glass panels. This may cost an additional £250 – £500 depending on the size but will avoid poorly fitting panel which may lead to leakage.

• When taking the measurements for your glass, remember to account for the tiles on the wall as these can change the measurements by up to 40mm.

• Choose a product where the glass is treated with a coating to avoid a build up of soap scum. Most good manufacturers provide this as standard.

• Do not use harsh abrasive cleaners, strong bleach or descalers to clean your shower enclosure. A build-up of limescale can be removed with acetic cleaners – vinegar, lemon juice etc. We’ll be focusing on cleaning in a later blog.

Next week we will give you the low down on shower fittings. Everything you need to help you choose the right shower.

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