The Ultimate Shower Enclosures Buyers Guide

The Ultimate Shower Enclosures Buyers Guide Logo

In today's fast-paced world, we now consider past luxuries as standard home features, including the bathroom, which has now attained a much more prominent place within our homes. After all your entire bathroom is a room that you and your family will use each and every day, almost as if it is the epicenter of your family's social life, similar to the kitchen. That is why it is very important to make your bathroom as comfortable and as stylish as possible because you will be spending an awful lot of time in there.

Here at Plumbworld we consider the bathroom as being a place of Zen-like tranquility; a retreat where you can relax, recharge your batteries, contemplate and indulge in a little bit of “me” time. There is something therapeutic and soothing about the sound of water dropping down from a shower head or filling a bath for a nice long soak. For others the bathroom has become a place where they come up with some of their best creative ideas, so that's why having a stylish shower enclosure is crucial, as its seamless design will help you to unwind and allow more ideas to flow.

But how do we go about choosing the correct shower enclosure? How do you know what’s going to best fit your busy lifestyle? The answers lie in our ultimate shower enclosures buyers guide.

Determine Your Budget

Budget Coin Pot Logo

First off is the obvious one; what budget do you have? Thankfully you've got the advantage of a huge variety of shower enclosures on the market today, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a shower enclosure that will fit both your budget and style tastes. However, the important thing to remember is that the quality may suffer if you're getting one dirt cheap. It's not always the case, of course, bathroom retailers are constantly engaged in slashing prices to attract new customers, so finding a bargain doesn't automatically mean the shower enclosure will fall apart within a matter of months.

Top retailers like Plumbworld may command a higher price for shower enclosures than some other retailers out there, but they'll also tell you that saving money isn't always a good thing. When you're considering using a retailer you should carry out some research that will no doubt uncover other customers experience with the product you're thinking about buying. The fact of the matter is that these retailers don't get such a good reputation from flogging shoddy goods, so you can be assured that each shower enclosure will be built to the highest standards and stressed test to ensure that the quality remains sound.

Aside from the quality you should always make sure what exactly you're getting for your money before you pay a penny. Look at everything the product offers; hinges, bearings, handles, quick release wheels and more may not mean much to you if this is your first ever shower enclosure or home fitting, but they're all important in the process of making sure you can enjoy a quality – and even a low priced – shower enclosure for years to come.

How Much Space Do You Need?

Hydrolux 1200mm Sliding Door Enclosure Logo

Whilst you're worrying about budget and style to suit your bathroom it's easy to forget one of the most important steps – finding how much space you have for a shower enclosure. You could find the perfect shower enclosure, only to get it home and attempt to install it to find out it won't actually fit where you want it. It seems like such a simple part of the process, but time and time again products get sent back because people haven't worked out the right size they require. All you have to do is measure out the space where you're going to put and make a note of it to use when you're researching which enclosure to buy.

Remember to include room for any surrounding fittings so you don't end up with that outwards swinging door you wanted constantly bashing against the sink. Do this step before you start browsing for shower enclosures, as while generally your ideal shower enclosure should have a size suitable for you, it won't always be the case, and even if so that size could be out of stock.

Types of Shower Enclosure

Hydrolux 760mm Hinged Door Shower Enclosure Logo

Recessed shower enclosure – 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, although admittedly this is a strange shape that's probably rare. 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.

Hydrolux 900mm Quadrant Shower Enclosure Logo

Quadrant shower enclosure – The quadrant shower enclosure is the most popular option amongst UK homes, and that's largely because UK bathrooms on average don't exactly come with a lot of extra space. Due to this the quadrant enclosure is one of the best space saving solutions, slotting neatly into a corner and ensuring that you can still own a shower even if space is tight.

Hydrolux 1200mm x 800mm Offset Shower Enclosure Logo

Offset quadrant shower enclosure – Similar to the above but with one wall longer than the other. An offset quadrant is ideal when you want a larger shower area but still need or 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; otherwise you won’t be a happy bunny!

Hydrolux 900mm Corner Entry Shower Enclosure Logo

Corner shower enclosure – Aside from your quadrant enclosures you can also slot a rectangular or square enclosure into the corner. This is a combination of a shower door and side panel, along with two existing walls. Again, it saves space and looks neat in the corner of your bathroom.

Hydrolux Walk in Shower Enclosure Logo

Walk -in showers – 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).

Choosing a Shower Door

Choosing a Shower Door Logo

Pivot shower door – The majority of pivot shower doors swing outwards from the shower enclosure, saving space in the showering area. Because they open outwards you have to be aware of anything around your shower enclosure and ensure that there's enough space for the door to swing freely without hitting anything. Pivot doors can be right, left or centre pivoted.

Essentials 1000mm Sliding Door Logo

Sliding shower 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.

Hydrolux 760mm Bifold Door Logo

Bifold shower door – 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.

Shower Trays

Hydrolux 700mm Square Shower Tray Logo

When it comes to shower trays your options are obviously limited to the size and shape of your enclosure, so you need to be doubly sure which one you require before purchasing to avoid any upset. As with shower panels there are a wide range of sizes available and you should easily be able to find the correct size, and sometimes the retailer will include them in a pack or at least point you in the right direction of the right shower tray for your enclosure.

It's not always possible to fit a shower tray directly to the floor, so If you happen to have a bit of an awkward plumbing setup under your floor then you can get hold of riser kits that will raise the height of your shower tray. This ensures easy access to the plumbing and pipework underneath.

Deeper trays are ideal for people who have power showers, and non-slip surfaces are a good idea for safety and peace of mind.

Anything Else?

There are a few more features you should look out for when you're looking for the perfect enclosure. First off, take a look a look at the glass thickness and whether or not it's toughened safety glass to avoid any nasty accidents. The vast majority of shower panels today are, but it's best to make sure.

If you can't find the right size of panel or shower tray for your enclosure then make sure to check if it's adjustable. Many allow a slight adjustment to compensate for out of true walls, or if you haven't got your measurements exact.