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Tips For Choosing The Perfect Shower Enclosure
When it comes to choosing a shower enclosure, you want to make sure it is practical and durable, but also aesthetically pleasing. It is something that will be used frequently, and it needs to protect the rest of the bathroom from becoming soaked and prone to mould every time you have a shower. Here are some points to consider.
How much room is available?
Bathrooms are often quite small spaces, where the right layout is essential for the room to be convenient to use. If space is at a premium and there isn’t already a shower enclosure, you could consider swapping the bathtub for a shower.
If there is an old shower cubicle which you are updating, it is probably simpler to leave it in the same position, to avoid costly extra plumbing work. Consider the type of shower door; a sliding or folding one will need less space than a swing door.
What type of glass is best?
A shower enclosure should always be made from toughened safety glass, as wet areas carry a higher risk of slips and falls, which could be potentially very serious if the glass were to shatter on impact. A good choice is 8mm to 10mm tempered glass, which is durable and safe. Thinner versions of safety glass are available, if you do not want a heavy door.
The thickness and type of the glass you use will affect the frame and support needed. Most will require setting in a U channel for glass partition in order to stabilise the top and bottom edges of the glass, and protect it from developing chips and cracks. Be sure to choose the right size for the thickness of the glass.
How to choose a style of glass
There is no need to opt for plain clear glass if you don’t think this is the best look for your bathroom. Even standard glass will have a greenish tint, which is caused by the iron levels in the glass. In bathrooms, this is often not a problem, as the glass is primarily functional.
However, if you want to have extra clear glass for your shower, maybe to show off the bathroom tiles, or create a feeling of light and space, then look for low-iron glass, which is typically clearer than standard glass. The panes are manufactured with less iron oxide, meaning they don’t a have a green tint.
If you think a greenish hue might interfere with the rest of the colour scheme of the bathroom, but you still want a tinted glass, many manufacturers will offer blue or smokey options, for example.
You could also go for a pattern or design on the glass, to add interest and also create privacy, so the user doesn’t have to worry about closing the blinds every time they step in the shower. Patterned glass is easier to keep clean and will disguise signs of wear and tear more easily than clear glass.
There are many types to choose from, such as the popular etched or bubbled effect, to more elaborate swirls and nature-inspired patterns.
What types of shower enclosure are there?
Enclosures can be a range of shapes and sizes, depending on the space available. In a small bathroom, quadrant enclosures, which have curved panels fitted across a corner of the room, are popular. They are aesthetically pleasing, and make good use of space.
Larger bathrooms may use the extra space with a rectangular shower enclosure. If access is an issue for a person with limited mobility, a walk-in enclosure which has no shower tray will be necessary. Alternatively, the bathroom could be converted to a fully sealed wet room, where the flooring is designed to be fully drainable.
What type of doors are available?
For smaller bathrooms, sliding doors are a good option, as you don’t have to worry about the clearance of a swing door. Bi-fold doors, which concertina when opened, are another good space-saving alternative.
If space is not an issue, you may want to opt for a conventional swing door. Consider whether it would be best right or left-hand pivoted; this may depend on the layout of the bathroom, where the main door is, or just personal preference. The door can also open inwards, but unless the cubicle is very large, it will probably be too inconvenient.
If your bathroom has a vintage feel, pivoted doors provide a good opportunity to add interesting details with the handles. For a more contemporary look, you could consider frameless glass, which creates a very spacious feel.