To be fair, most of us get along just fine with our shower over the bath. You can add a good shower curtain or glass door and you have the next best thing to an actual shower enclosure. For small bathrooms this is the ideal solution.
But if you have the space or you are adding an ensuite, a shower cubicle alongside your bath is a great idea. The warmth and security of a shower which is easy to step into cannot be underestimated. Plus, a shower tray is easier to clean than your bath, making keeping your bathroom clean even easier.
So what sorts of shower enclosures are available and how do you make the right choice for your needs?
Shower enclosure packs
The simplest way to buy your new shower cubicle is to buy it as a pack. This means that you get the shower tray, the doors and the waste system all in one. This is ideal as it will help you to save money. All you will need to add is the shower itself.
You can choose a system which works best for the area you need to enclose. This may mean that you need doors which open in or out, bi-fold doors, double opening doors or even a sliding door. Some will come with two sides which are perfect for corners and some will come with no side panels which are designed to fit into an alcove. Clearly the less glass which is required, the cheaper your shower enclosure will be.
Doors and glass panels are also available in a number of different sizes and combinations. You could have several panels of glass or just two and each panel can be a different height and will fit into different shower trays.
A walk-in shower enclosure can be a real luxury statement. The shower is often substantially larger and usually does not have a shower tray, or at the very least the tray is larger and less intrusive in terms of depth. Some of the shower trays will have parts set aside for drying off or even a small seat for getting dressed.
Walk-in showers which are part of a wet room will have no shower tray. It is very important in this case that the sealed and tiled floor is angled towards the drain to ensure that water does not run into the rest of the bathroom. In this case, the glass panels are fixed to the floor and the wall and may not even have a door as such.
If you have decided to buy your shower screens and your tray as separate items, you have a couple of different options to choose from.
Adjustable height shower trays are useful for floors which are not level. The four feet on the bottom of the tray can be individually adjusted to ensure that the water runs in the right direction. Each one comes with plinths to hide the feet.
Low profile shower trays look more modern and are just deep enough to catch the water run-off from your shower. It is important to keep your drains clear as these types of trays could easily overflow.
Shower trays do not necessarily have to come in white only. In fact there are a number of different colours to choose from. You could opt for black, cream, grey or even natural stone.
Keep safe in the shower is just as important as it is in the bath. While the surface of a shower tray is less slippery, it may be prudent to invest in a shower mat if you have children or are elderly. Shower mats are usually square and fit to the shower tray in the same way as a bath mat does.
There are plenty of options when it comes to your shower enclosure and deciding what is right for you might take longer than you think.