We have been thinking about our new ensuite in the loft conversion. We agree on one thing – it needs to be large, luxurious and have a really nice shower. Our current shower is a tiny 750 mm square with sliding doors – it’s a struggle to get in and out and shower. It is also high, which is not good. So, we starting thinking about wet rooms, then discovered cabins with jets. It quickly became clear that we could sink a lot of money into the shower room! So we sought some professional advice, and spoke to Dan Ware from RSF Bathrooms in Hornchurch. He gave us some pretty good, honest advice, and we think we have decided what to get.
This is what I learned – wet rooms, walk-in showers and shower cubicles all have their advantages and disadvantages. So here are the pros and cons of each type of shower.
The Wet Room and Walk-in Shower
Having a wet room can give your bathroom a contemporary feel. Wet rooms are a great way to utilise space in a bathroom, especially in small bathrooms where there is no room for a shower cubicle. Not only are wet rooms great space-savers, but they are also easy to clean. A wet room also leaves lots of choice for flooring types and can be a much safer alternative for those who have difficulty getting in and out of the shower.
But one major potential issue to consider is the spray. Because wet rooms have no shower curtains or full walls to block the spray of water, some items like hanging towels can become wet, especially if the wet room is located in a small bathroom. Installation of a wet room can also pose challenges, as there needs to be a slight slope in the floor towards the inset drain.
Another potential disadvantage is the slip hazard, especially if the wet room hasn’t been designed to greatly reduce or eliminate spray. The price to purchase and install a wet room or walk-in shower can also be prohibitive.
Walk-in showers are often installed as a compromise between a wet room and an enclosed shower. They have no shower curtains or door, allowing you to walk straight in (thus the name). The disadvantage is that water will spray beyond the tray and during winter, the shower area may feel cold as the steam escapes quickly. I am looking forward to an ensuite with a window rather than just an extractor fan, so this might not work for us.
A shower cabin with steam shower offers the benefits of a steam room and a shower. The main advantage of this particular product is that you can enjoy a steam bath, and then cool off in the shower without having to leave the enclosure. Of course, the cost of this product can be very high.
A shower enclosure with body jets is another popular consideration. While showering, the jets provide therapeutic massage to soothe sore muscles. But this is another option that can be costly. These are usually called shower cabins. One advantage of a shower cabin is that it is easier to install – you “just” need to plumb it in.
The Shower Tray and Surround/Shower Cubicle
The most popular choice when considering the building or renovation of a bathroom is to install a shower tray and surround. Likely at the top of the list for most UK homeowners, the shower tray and surround will contain water without the worry of splashing. It will also ensure that the heat generated by the water remains inside the shower. A shower tray or cubicle tends to cost less than its wet room counterpart, making it the more accessible option for homeowners.
The shower tray and surround or shower cubicle may not be the best option for all household members, however. A cubicle can restrict movement while showering for some. Because it’s smaller, a cubicle can become filled with steam quickly – some people like this, others do not. Finally, a cubicle requires more effort to clean, as the walls will need to be wiped down as well as the tray.
We have decided to get a sensible shower tray and nice glass door. Hopefully the builder will build a stud wall for the sides, so it will just need a door. The tray will be big, maybe 1200 by 900 mm. Maybe 1400 mm …. depending on space.
After a lot of searching the Internet, I cam across this photo of a loft room shower. it is from a review of the Cargo Inn in Southampton. It looks perfect – large tray, tiled walls, glass door – which is easy to get through and easy to clean!