How to Choose the Perfect Shower Enclosure
Shower enclosures combine great aesthetics with practicality to suit almost every bathroom layout. With all this choice however, it can be difficult to pick the right one for you…
To help you decide, PlumbNation has put together the Shower Enclosure Buying Guide. This will encourage you to consider the dimensions, shape and style of your bathroom so you can find the perfect match for your home.
Assess the area available
It is important to consider the type of room you are looking to create a shower enclosure for. Is it small, large, or full of obstructions? Are there any windows or doors that could protrude into the shower area? By considering these questions, you can determine where to place the enclosure, which type of shower door to go for, and where to fit your shower tray. Take a look at the tips and tricks below.
Types of glass
All shower doors and enclosures from PlumbNation vary in thickness and are made with toughened tempered safety glass to handle busy family use. When choosing your shower enclosure, thicker shower glass isn’t always necessarily better, as it all depends on the type of enclosure you desire.
Glass weighs a considerable amount, so 8mm and 10mm tempered glass is an ideal choice for wet rooms in the form of single glass dividers. Glass this thick isn’t usually used for other shower enclosure designs, as the weight of it would place unnecessary strain on rollers, pivots and hinges that are needed to support more complicated shower enclosure designs. Moreover, the larger the glass or the more curved it is, the less thickness it will achieve due to its design.
Thinner shower glass enclosures in 4mm, 5mm and 6mm options offer the same long lasting functionality and are perfect for busy household use. Due to their thinner build, they are available in more diverse and curved shapes for more dynamic shower enclosure designs.
To tray, or not to tray?
Shower enclosures are available with or without trays, but trays are preferential as they are specifically made to reduce leakage. Buying an enclosure and tray together gives you the luxury of not having to buy them separately and you wont have to worry about tray size. However, if you are planning a recess shower, you will need to carefully consider the sizes of the tray and shower door.
Is tiling essential?
Tiling is always essential for the shower area. When installing a recess shower, consider how much tile you need before installing the shower tray. When installing a wet room, all areas including the floor and tiles should be sealed correctly.
If you want to save yourself the hassle of tiling the floor, walk-in showers are brilliant alternatives that feature a large white rectangular shower tray that does not need to be tiled over.
Types of enclosures
Pivot door shower enclosures
Pivot shower doors provide an elegant and contemporary showering solution for corner installations and alcoves. A pivot door will require less clearance space outside the enclosure compared to a hinged door of the same width, and offers itself as an innovative space saver for smaller bathrooms. The door pivots on a single set of hinges and spins whilst staying in place. This means that part of it rotates inwards across the shower tray and part of it out into the bathroom.
Pivot shower enclosures can be right, left or centre pivoted to allow for generous entry in and out of the shower. Centre pivots maximise bathroom space as only half the width of the shower door will protrude into the room when opened.
Bi-fold door shower enclosures
These are a brilliant option for smaller bathrooms where space is at a premium. The bi-fold door is compatible with both recessed and fully enclosed enclosures and works by folding in on itself in a concertina fashion. A bi-fold door doesn’t require a large clearance space outside the shower area and gives you the room to place fittings such as a towel rail or vanity unit outside the shower entrance.
Bi-fold shower enclosures come in a variety of styles, sizes and finishes to suit every taste. Choose from reversible doors with sleek twin chrome handles for ultimate flexibility, or opt for a simple swing out design that blends seamlessly into any bathroom. Available with millimetre adjustments on each wall jamb for easy installation, you can achieve a unified look without having to fill in any gaps with an unsightly amount of sealant.
Sliding door shower enclosures
The sliding door shower is one of the most elegant bathroom cubicles available on the market. The pinnacle of simplicity, it features one fixed panel and one sliding panel that you move sideways to enter and exit with ease. With a wider berth compared to pivot showers and no clearance space required, this design offers a generous showering area for those who love to wash in luxury.
Sliding shower doors are mostly found on larger cubicles of 1000mm length or more, and are compatible with alcoves, walk-ins and full enclosures. For a more modern bathroom décor, frameless sliding shower panels offer a pared-back design and can be coupled with a tiled-over recessed shower tray for a truly minimalist look. Alternatively, a framed enclosure with a sturdy aluminium frame provides an attractive gleaming finish and acts as a stunning centre piece for any bathroom.
Quadrant Shower Enclosures
Designed for use in corner spaces, quadrant enclosures curve beautifully around the corner of the room and ensure no precious bathroom space is lost. They are two sided and feature a single or double curved sliding door to allow easy entry in and out the shower. Unless you opt for a larger model, most quadrant cubicles do not require side panels.
For those looking to maximise their showering area, an offset quadrant allows you to stretch your arms that little bit wider whilst you wash. For tighter bathroom spaces, a bow-shaped quadrant is a smart alternative that slots neatly into the trickiest of spaces.
Pentangle Shower Enclosures
As the name suggests, a pentangle shower enclosure is 5 sided and is designed for corner installations. It is similar to the quadrant model, but features a straight pivot door entry with two smaller glass side panels. A perfect option for when space is limited in your bathroom, a pentangle enclosure combines grand looks with neo-angled design for a more sophisticated décor. Made with toughened safety glass, it will resist the wear and tear of busy family use and often has no visible fixings or screwcaps for a clean and uncluttered look.
Walk- in shower enclosures
Walk-in shower enclosures offer freeform luxury and minimalist design. A walk in shower has no hinged door and allows you to simply ‘walk in’ for a soothing wash. Despite not having a moving door, a walk in shower uses fixed glass screens to shield the water spray from the rest of the room. This lack of hardware makes walk-in showers easy to clean and maintain, with the frameless panels contributing to a neat and minimalist look .
A walk in unit takes up the same space as a bath, so these contemporary enclosures are not exclusively designed for larger bathrooms. You can choose to have the enclosure with a visible raised shower tray, or to have the tray recessed and tiled over for a more wetroom style look.
All-in-one sealed shower cubicle
All in one sealed units are the ultimate choice for convenience and can be installed in any location within the bathroom. Otherwise known as ‘shower pods’, they require neither tiling, grouting or silicone sealant and are extremely quick and easy to install. Depending on the kind of work you need, you can expect to install a cubicle in the morning and be using it before bedtime once the door silicone has set!
These leak-free self-contained shower enclosures offer easy maintenance and are a neat and attractive solution for when extra showering facilities are needed. If you consider yourself a handy/practical person, you can install the shower cubicle yourself. However, we would always recommend you contact a qualified plumber to check the water supply, waste pipe work and all connections before use.