Walk In Showers
Walk in showers are the ultimate in luxury and convenience. They can be configured in many different ways and included many different showering options. But what they all have in common is that there is no door and you simply walk right into your shower. When designing a walk in shower you need to consider the following: the type of barrier or entry into the shower; the number and type of shower valves and shower heads; the material for the walls of the shower; and whether or not to use glass as an enclosure for the shower. We will discuss each of these options below.
Some showers have curbs at the entry and some are flush with the bathroom floor and have no barrier. Curb free or barrier free showers have shower floors that are level with the bathroom floor so there is nothing to step over, or wheel over in the case of wheelchairs to get into the shower. These showers provide the ultimate feel of luxury and ease of use, while being very practical for those who may be aging in place or are planning for the future. These curb free showers can be completed with all the same materials and finishes as a typical shower so there are no limitations to the style or design of your shower.
To construct a barrier free shower the concrete has to be prepared in such a way that the shower floor is adequately waterproofed and has sufficient slope so the water goes down the drain. Typically this is accomplished by first removing all the concrete in the shower floor area. Then the new shower drain is plumbed to the new lower level and centered in the shower. Next you remove all the extra soil below and pour a new slab of concrete below the level of the existing slab a few inches. Finally you build a new waterproofed concrete shower pan up to the level of the existing concrete. After the shower pan is set the rest of the shower can be built to any layout or configuration, offering a multitude of no barrier shower possibilities.
Most walk in showers are built up on top of the existing concrete slab and are not barrier free. But they can still have a similar feel to a barrier free shower. This is accomplished by having a dry off area where the shower pan is level with the curb of the shower so all you have is a small step into the shower. Most walk in showers typically incorporate these dry off areas that are level with the curb.. The wet area simply begins by starting a gradual slope of the show pan from the dry off area down to the drain.
Shower Valves and Shower Heads
Walk in showers are finished off by choosing the right showering options. There are many brands, finishes and options to choose from, and making the right selection is very important. Using the wrong finish, size or options can make an otherwise perfect shower look poorly designed. For larger walk in showers multiple shower valves and shower heads are often incorporated. A single shower valve with a multi-port diverter can also be incorporated to provide one temperature of water to multiple locations including body sprays, handheld showers or rainshower heads. Your shower designer should have the experience to make the right suggestions for the space.
Shower Wall Material
The walls around the shower are called the surround and can be made out of many different materials. Some options include natural stone tiles, porcelain tiles, glass tiles, pebble stone, mosaics, full slabs of granite or quartz, ledge stone and more. While getting the look you want is very important, it’s also important to consider the durability of the product and ease of cleaning that is desired. Some products are hard while others are soft. Some are porous and others are not. New micro-particle sealers can penetrate deep into porous products such as natural stone and grout to make them more waterproof and even easier to clean than non-porous materials like quartz and porcelain tiles. These sealers are hydrophobic (water repelling) and can last 15 years or more, making overall maintenance a fraction of what it used to be. Whatever material you choose make sure your installer is using the best practices for waterproofing the walls and shower pan and sealing all porous materials and grout.
The enclosure is the part of the shower that usually consists of the shower glass. But the enclosure can be glass, tiled walls, or a combination of the two. Or sometimes there is no enclosure and the shower is wide open. Using large sheets of structural tempered glass can keep the look and feel of a walk in shower very bright and open. However, many people try to avoid shower glass because of concerns about cleaning, spotting and potentially permanent damage. If a solid wall is desired in place of glass, the wall can be tiled just like the rest of the shower to keep the maintenance down. A half wall ,call a pony wall, with a shorter panel of glass on top is a very good compromise that limits cleaning while keeping the feel more open. And new glass protectants have been developed that are applied at the factory and help keep water spots from sticking to the glass. So even though squeegeeing or cleaning the glass may still be necessary, the worry of permanent water spotting and damage have been greatly reduced.
At Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath Remodeling we have designed hundred of walk in showers and are your premiere stop for luxury walk in showers. From snail showers to barrier free walk in showers we know just how to design and install the perfect walk in shower for your needs. We only use premium waterproof membranes to guarantee no leaks. We use only the highest quality shower valves and fixtures with lifetime warranties. We use premium surround materials to add beauty and longevity to your shower. We use a 15 year micro-particle sealer to protect the porous surfaces and make it the lowest maintenance possible.. And we use factory treated shower glass for protection and ease of cleaning. Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath Remodeling is your premiere company for walk in shower designs and installations..