Shower Enclosures, also known as shower cubicles are a key component of the modern bathroom. Whilst many of the ladies prefer a long hot soak in a bath, must men prefer a powerful shower. Whether it’s jumping under the water for a quick wash in the morning or enjoying the hot streams after a long stressful day. But unless you’re opting for an over the bath shower, you’re going to need a decent shower enclosure. Great aesthetics and practicality combine to create the ideal showering experience, and with a huge variety of sizes and styles available at Plumbworld they’ll be something that will suit every taste. If you need some help why not check out our shower enclosures buyers guide below
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All you need for a recessed shower enclosure is a door. It’s the perfect option for when you have an alcove in the bathroom. It uses the existing walls to create the shower, rather than taking up extra space elsewhere in the bathroom. You could always construct your own alcove if you really want a recessed enclosure, although you’ll have to weigh up the cost and time to do that too. Remember that there are adjustable shower doors available so you can get that perfect fit into your alcove.
The quadrant shower enclosure is the most popular option for UK homes, and that’s largely because UK bathrooms on average tend to be rather small. Where space is at a premium the quadrant enclosure is a great choice, slotting neatly into a corner and ensuring that you can still own a shower even if space is tight.
Similar to the quadrant but with one wall longer than the other. An offset quadrant is ideal when you want a larger shower area but still want to have your shower located in a corner. Remember that you need to choose left or right-hand options when buying an offset quadrant enclosure. This is something that confuses a lot of people, but is actually quite simple. The hand refers to which side of the shorter length when you stand in front of it. (i.e. the picture above is a left handed off set quadrant)
This is a popular alternative to the Quadrant enclosure for the corner of the bathroom. It consists of a door (Exactly the same as for the recessed enclosure) but comes with a side panel to make two glass sides. The remaining two sides are made up of the bathroom walls, which can be tiled or covered with shower panels. These come in much smaller sizes that quadrants, as small as 700mm x 700mm which makes them a good choice for smaller spaces. However be careful when choosing the door for a small space. Bifold or sliding doors don’t open outwards, but pivot or hinged doors will need additional clearance space in the bathroom in order to open.
If you want to opt for something that’s going to give your bathroom that extra special something than a walk-in shower is the ultimate statement. They come in a variety of shapes – you can experiment with magnificent curved screens instead of just sticking with straight – but are mostly made up of two separate panels and a shower tray (unless you’re going installing a wet room). They have no moving parts which is great for maintenance and cleaning, but they do generally require quite a lot of space as the showering area needs to be large enough for the screen to prevent water splashing into the bathroom, even with a gap big enough for a person to walk through!
This is the same type of door opening mechanism as most internal and external doors in the home. It is fixed to the wall with two or more hinges and swings open, rotatating on the hinges. A popular choice but since they open outwards with the full width of the door make sure that you have enough space available.
Often confused with the hinged shower door, they can look very similar. The difference is that a pivot shower door does not have the hinges fixed to the wall. It has hinges at the top and bottom of the door. This means that when opened part of the shower door rotates inwards across the tray and part of it out into the bathroom. This means that pivot doors require less clearance space than hinged doors of the same width. Pivot doors can be right, left or centre pivoted. Centre pivoted require the least clearance space because only half the width of the shower door will protrude into the room when they are open. They can look more impressive than a hinged door.
If you don’t want to sacrifice any external or internal space then a sliding shower door is your best bet. The sliding shower door is usually reserved for larger shower enclosures, and the smooth sliding action makes it a breeze to open and close at will. Sliding doors come in sizes up to 1600mm long, so if you have a lot of space and want a really large enclosure, then a sliding door is the one to go for.
Bifold shower doors open into the showering area with a folding action. Because the door folds there is no chance of the door encroaching into your external bathroom space, plus they retain ease of access thanks to a smooth and quick opening manoeuvre. A great choice for small showering areas where space is at a premium.
Corner entry doors are a pair of sliding doors, similar to those found on most quadrant enclosures, but straight instead of curved. A less popular choice but looks stunning in the right setting.
Another thing to consider when selecting your shower enclosure is the type of frame.
This is the most common style and has an aluminium frame around all the glass components. It has a solid look and has always been a favourite choice. This is the style most often used with thinner glass widths. 4mm – 6mm.
This is a “half-way house” style. The glass has some frames but not on the top and often not on the side which opens. This is a more minimalistic style that works very well in very contemporary bathroom designs. Usually found in thicker glass widths 6mm – 8mm
These have no frames at all. This is the most modern look and is usually only found on the most expensive shower enclosures with very thick glass 8mm – 10mm+. It is restricted to hinged doors as all other door types require some form of mechanism that needs a frame.
Shower enclosure glass must be toughened safety glass, manufactured to British Standard 6206 Class A with a CE stamp. It comes in a variety of thicknesses from 3mm to over 10mm.
Shower enclosure glass is designed to take a substantial impact
This video shows shower enclosure glass being tested with a 50kg weight
But in the event that it is broken it will break into lots of tiny pieces rather than dangerous razor edged shards!
As a general rule glass of 3mm or below should be avoided as this is the extreme cheap end of the market and standards of manufacturer and quality control can be mixed.
4mm is the standard glass width and is suitable for all applications. Perfect for ensuite shower rooms, guest bathrooms and rental properties, or if budget is tight and you want the best value for money.
6mm is a more luxurious choice giving the doors a heavier more solid feel, ideal for a main family bathroom or master bedroom ensuite.
8mm+ is the height of luxury and you should expect to pay quite a premium for this type of enclosure. Not just because the glass is thicker, but because the increased weight requires stronger hinges, rollers or other opening mechanisms.
However before getting too hung up on glass thickness just remember we are talking about a couple of millimetres which is hardly noticeable to the eye without a ruler!
The other dimension to consider with glass is patterned or plain.
About 95% of all shower enclosures sold today have plain glass. However it is possible to get other options:
An ideal choice if you are very shy!
Frosted glass has a pattern designed to hide the person in the shower completely from external view
Almost anything is possible with glass if you have the budget and there are specialist glass suppliers who can create almost any pattern or design that you might wish for in a custom enclosure.
Obviously the most important thing is to match the size of tray to the enclosure you are fitting. You can’t put a 900mm quadrant shower on a square 760mm tray!
However, that should go without saying and the only two decisions that you really have to make are the material that the tray is made of and the style of the tray which is to a large extent determined by the type of floor in your bathroom.
Slimline of Adjustable Height ?
These are very narrow and look very modern.
They are suitable for bathrooms where it is easy to fix the plumbing beneath the floor. For example wooden floorboards. The waste and plumbing pipes for a shower enclosure are quite big and it is only by hiding them under the floor that such a low profile shower tray can be used.
If you have shower panel with body jets or a very powerful pumped shower, a slimline tray may not be able to cope with the volume of water and can overflow. If you have this sort of shower you may be better off with a deeper adjustable height tray.
Solid stone shower trays are available from specialist suppliers but they are extremely heavy and difficult to fit. They are also prone to chipping or cracking if your home has even the tiniest movement. We don’t sell solid stone trays.
Acylic Stone Resin shower trays are made from a mixture of stone particles and a resin adhesive which is set in a mould. A gel coating is then applied to give the tray its smooth finish. They are usually built over an acrylic base. They are very strong and long lasting, but nowhere near as heavy as a solid stone tray.
Acrylic shower tray technology has advanced a huge amount over the last few years. If you think of “flimsy” or “bendy” when you hear the word acrylic, then think again! The Coram Coratech tray combines Acrylic with stone resin and not only 50% lighter than even a traditional stone resin tray it is highly scratch resistant and has a 10 year manufacturer’s guarantee.
Mira Flight Trays also Includes BioCote® to reduce bacteria and mould growth by up to 99.9%
Pure Acrylic Trays are at the cheap end of the market and can be quite flimsy and prone to discoloration. Suitable for a rental property or student let, but probably not the first choice for a family bathroom or the ensuite to the master bedroom.