Even though I’ve been around, though in and out, of this business for a few years now, sitting down to write this article made me realize that I know almost nothing about shower enclosures. My lack of knowledge has forced me to seek out absolutely anything and everything to do with showers so that I could compile the most helpful list of the top five things every homeowner should know about shower enclosures.
- Glass Last – Even though it is tempting to rush the shower installation process to hurry towards the beautiful finished product, you have to be patient and wait until everything else in place (that’s right you have to wait until after the tile guy gets his job done). The difficulty is that every little thing that is installed before the shower changes the measurements just a little bit. So you have to wait to even measure until after everything else is in place. While this is true, it is also a good idea to start deciding what kind of glass and the budget for glass well before the measuring time approaches.
- Glass, and Frames, and Handles, and Designs – Oh My! – Every shower is unique because of all the different options and all the different combinations of those options. There is clear glass, design glass, etched glass, and all kinds of different patterned glass. There are frameless shower enclosures, neo-angle enclosures, and corner enclosures. There are single door showers, sliding doors, swinging doors. It’s amazing all the choices.
- Space – Sometimes the shower enclosure design has to be dictated by the layout of your bathroom. The other day a couple came into the showroom and argued this exact point. The gist of this half an hour argument was that she wanted the swinging door and he wanted the sliding. Once we got down to the bottom of it, we realized that a swinging door would hit the toilet if it opened to the right and the sink to the left. So taking the layout into consideration is key, even if it means changing your ideal shower.
- Splash Control – No shower is water-tight. Whether you choose sliding or swinging doors, some water will be able to escape the confines of the enclosure. However some enclosures control the splash zone better than others. So while deciding which design to choose, keep in mind how important splash control is to you and your bathroom floor.
- Vocabulary – In Shower Enclosure Land, there are tons of new vocabulary words that you should probably know before finalizing a design. To make vocabulary fun, I will explain in pictures.
- Framed vs. Semi-Frameless Swinging Door Shower Enclosures
- Framed vs. Frameless Sliding Door Shower Enclosures
- Buttress Panel – a side of the shower that is not the same length
- Neo-Angle Custom Units vs. 90 Degree Units
- Butt Joint or Mitered Corners vs. Frame corners
- Operable Transom – to vent the steam out of a steam unit shower
Lastly, while researching all this lovely information for you shower-frenzied homeowners, I came across a fun fact I’d like to share. Kevin “Catfish” McCarthy set a world record on April 12, 1985 by completing a 341 hour long shower at Buffalo State College. So the longest shower is over two weeks long. I hope you have learned everything you want to know about showers (or at least most of the kind-of-basics). Enjoy your shower enclosure design time.