Considering the shower is one of the most widely used fixtures in a bathroom, you want to be sure you make the right decision if you’re on the hunt for a new one. While you may just be thinking aesthetics, be sure to take plumbing and heating system considerations into regard first. From there, a variety of styles and options are available to perfect your shower. What do you need to consider upfront when buying a new shower?
It’s important to ensure that your new shower is capable of coping with your plumbing system and can regulate a safe level of water through the boiler. Most shower units today are compatible with different water pressures, but be sure to double check. What type of shower unit will work with your heating system?
Your heating system plays a large role in the type of shower that will work in your home. First, understand what type of heating system you have. Once you have that information, one of the following showers should be right for you: Electric showers:
These can be used within any domestic water system. They are generally connected to the main cold water supply, and the water is then passed through a heating element. Be sure your fuse board is capable of providing the current necessary to power the shower. Mixer showers:
Suitable for either low or high pressure systems, these showers mix existing hot and cold water in a special valve before it is available at the shower head. In order to work properly, both the hot and cold water need to come from a source operating at the same pressure, such as a mains fed system or tank fed water. Because this type of shower is connected to the same pipes used to supply water to other points, its flow rate may be affected if someone is concurrently running tap water or flushing the toilet. Thermostatic mixer showers:
These showers rectify dramatic changes in temperature through pre-set thermostats. Many have a temperature limiting device to prevent burning. However, this is the most expensive of the mixer options. Power showers:
Only able to be installed on low pressure, tank fed systems, this type of mixer shower increases the rate of flow from the shower head through integral pumps. A dedicated hot and cold supply is necessary. What size should your shower be?
Carefully measure the space you’re looking to place your shower before making any purchases. To measure for a corner shower, measure from the corner outward along both walls where the base will be installed. If you’re placing your shower in an alcove, be sure to accurately measure from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. Should you choose a prefabricated shower or consider custom?
Available in a wide range of colors and styles, prefabricated showers are generally made from fiberglass or fiberglass-reinforced acrylic and will likely be more affordable. Some require assembly while others are a single-piece unit. Custom showers let you have complete control over all fixtures and the finish of the enclosure, which may be more appropriate for your bathroom if your budget allows it. What type of prefabricated shower kits are available?
There are several ready-made styles on the market to fit your needs. Consider the following:
Corner showers: Shaped like a square, these are a great fit for smaller bathrooms or in master bathrooms where a separate shower from the bathtub is needed. Neo-angle showers:
These showers are roomier and have a distinctive five-sided diamond shaped base. Round showers:
These also fit in the corner, but have a rounded, finished edge. Framed showers:
Framed showers rely on traditional exposed framework and trim to create a strong enclosure. Water is collected and trapped in a track, which requires occasional cleaning. Frameless showers:
Frameless designs require no frame and are generally paneled in glass, allowing light into the shower. Without a track to collect water, they’re easier to maintain. Where should you place your drain?
If you’re replacing an old shower, you should match your drain configuration to the existing plumbing. However, if you’re starting from scratch, you really have free reign where you place it: though they’re typically located in the center, you may prefer the drain to the left or right.
Here is where you’ll find a variety of showers, from the everyday to the luxurious. Take a look to find what works for you.