Updating Your Bathroom Shower

From on February 07, 2007 in Bathroom Remodel

Update: We added the first articles to our Bathroom Shower Library. There is lots of great information including Popular Shower Doors, Six Bathroom Shower Stalls to Consider and Curtains vs. Doors

The shower can be the most relaxing part of your home, so take the time to think about what you want.

Here is an example remodel from our friends at Budget Bath, Baltimore Bathroom Remodeling:


Any surface material for a tub or shower surround should be applied on top of water-resistant or waterproof wall material. The most common type is water-resistant drywall, sometimes called “greenboard” because of its color. Cement board is more water-resistant and may be more expensive than greenboard, but the added expense affords you the peace of mind of knowing that your walls can stand up to the bathroom’s moist environment.

Prefabricated surrounds come in myriad materials and are available in one-piece and multi-piece kits.

Solid-surface materials are made with an easy-to-clean, long-lasting smooth acrylic surface. Installed, solid-surface materials start from $40-$75 a square foot.

Ceramic tile is waterproof, durable, and easy to maintain, but has one drawback—GROUT!—which if not properly cleaned can grow mildew. Save on installation cost with small mosaic tiles (about 1 inch square) bonded to sheets of fiber mesh. These sheets go up faster than loose tiles, because you don’t have to set each piece individually—though for many that’s half the fun! Tiles usually run from 17-40 cents each (without installation), but can easily escalate in cost.

Fiberglass is waterproof, durable, and simple to clean. Many companies manufacture three- and five-piece shower/tub surround units in various sizes. These are the cheapest units on the market with a range of $200 to $400.

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Shower Doors:

When installing any type of shower, your first priority should be to make sure the water stays in the shower area. This can easily be done by using either a shower curtain or shower door.

Curtains offer a quick (but not always efficient) way to enclose your shower. While you may like the idea of being able to change them—say seasonally—for a new look, you’ll probably be changing them more frequently because they tend to get dingy and can rip easily. If you’re not careful about fully and properly (use those magnets) closing the curtain, water will easily escape.

Sliding doors use the least amount of space because they glide on a track, either mounted to the tub or the floor in a stand-alone shower. They are available in two or three sections, but the track can be difficult to clean.

Bi-Fold/Curved Doors come in folding sections that open like an accordion and use minimal space, while providing full access to the shower. The downside to using this door is that it can bind up in the track after excessive use and it’s difficult to clean. Like the bi-fold door, curved shower doors offer the advantage of “zero clearance” and are the perfect solution for corner installations. The door itself is a curved glass panel attached to a frame at both the top and bottom for stability and smooth operation. The door is reversible for right or left access.

Swinging Doors can be hinge-mounted or pivoting and secured with magnetic catches, and must be narrow enough to clear other bathroom fixtures.

Glass Options

Glass is offered in a variety of styles, but they generally come clear or opaque. For a more unique look you can get a glass door that is obscure, fluted, etched, beveled or even stained.

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The most common types of showerheads are the fixed, handheld, and body heads. A fixed head sits on the wall or ceiling and may have adjustable water direction and spray styles. Handheld heads are versatile and have hose connections of varying lengths. You can mount them to a shower wall or sliding bar and they usually have two or more adjustable spray styles. A body head is usually installed below your shoulder, in groups of two or more. The direction of the water and the number of spray styles varies from each unit.

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Custom Showers

Current state-of-the-art shower systems are quite elaborate, so they require a lot of additional plumbing. You must decide whether you want a high-tech shower before construction begins and discuss your plans in detail with your plumber. Be sure your water supply and pressure is plentiful, because these units use up a lot of natural resources. There are two main types of custom showers - full body spas or carwash showers and shower towers.

Note: Some well and septic systems can’t handle these units.

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Carwash showers/Full body spas

Full body showers consist of multiple mounted spray nozzles, designed to spray the body from head to toe under adjustable volume and pressure. ‘His-and-her’ temperature-control valves and arrays of as many as 6 or more water sources are common.

A body spa is a re-circulating stand-up whirlpool with a waterfall, but you may prefer an electronically controlled shower system that consists of pulsating and pivoting body sprays. Most spas and carwash showers use about 80 gallons of water per minute (that’s more than the combined delivery of 25 standard showerheads).

Note: If you like steam, then you can add a steam generator to your system, but be sure your electrician knows about this in advance so he can include the additional wiring when laying out your bathroom.

Shower Towers

These mighty fountains are an integrated one-piece custom shower that combines valves, body sprays, handheld sprays, and water jets using a single water line connection. Multiple units can be installed to create a unique and luxurious custom shower, without complicated plumbing design considerations.

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Tile Ready Shower Pans

Tile Redi Ltd. manufactures shower pans which have established new industry standards for the installation of leak free tile ready showers bases and shower pans.

Bathroom Design - My-Bath.com offers the highest quality infrared saunas, home steam showers, whirlpool and walk-in bathtubs at wholesale prices!