Shower stall enclosures may be all in one bath/shower combi units or separate cubicles. Separate shower enclosures are much easier to fit in any bathroom refit you plan to do
The all in one bath and shower units are best suited to a new build rather than a bathroom makeover project. They are very bulky and easily damaged while trying to fit them through narrow doorways and up stairs.
Shower Stall Enclosures - Different Shapes & Sizes
Decide where you want your shower stall to go before you decide on what shape of shower tray you prefer. Draw out a scale plan of your bathroom floor on squared paper. Make cut outs for sink and toilet. Put the toilet cut out on your floor plan because that is the most difficult to move from its current position.
Make different cut outs for five or six shower stall enclosures. Try out the shower stall cut-outs in different positions on your squared scale plan. Remember to leave room to step in and out of the shower.
Try to use a large shower enclosure because of the extra comfort and flexibility of use that it offers. This is essential if someone in the family needs to sit down in the shower or has limited mobility.
You can buy shower enclosures designed to accommodate two shower heater units and two people showering at the same time.
Putting a shower enclosure in a corner usually works best, opening up the rest of your plan to put the sink and any cabinets you want to install. Consider a custom-built shower enclosure and tray, especially if your space is limited.
Square shower stalls are common because they make excellent use of your space for a reasonable price. They also have a spacious feel to them, provided you do not choose the cheapest, smallest size available.
You can consider rectangular shower stall as a useful alternative if fitting in a square shower tray is not possible.
'P' and 'J' shaped shower trays are eye-catching and if you have the space they are great.
Shower Stall Enclosures-Side Panels
You can choose a shower enclosure with tempered glass on all three fixed side panels. This is the most common option because it is very convenient, but there are other ways of constructing your shower enclosure.
You can use PVC panels or tiles over the existing walls, especially if you are putting the enclosure in a corner. You should bear in mind that these are more difficult to clean than glass panels.
You can build a solid wall, especially if you are a handyman, so a corner shower would have three solid walls and just the tempered glass door. Remember to allow for the width of the wall in your calculations and to check that the wall is well supported from below.
You can build walls from glass bricks, which will give a lighter feel to the shower. Glass bricks are hollow, so they are lighter than you would expect.
If you have decided on a curved J or P shaped shower tray then most people choose a curved glass or acrylic side-panel to match.
Different Door Designs
Choose your shower tray bearing in mind the door options you will be able to use with it. If you want a wide opening door then avoid shower enclosures designed for a corner door.
Doors may slide or be hinged. Sliding doors will protrude from the shower enclosure and are unsightly as well as taking a lot of space,
Hinged doors may be hinged at one edge or may be bi-fold doors with a second hinge running down the center of the door. You may also have a single door or twin door options. Bi-fold doors are very awkward for older family members and children to use. The best option is the simplest one, a hinged door that opens outside the shower against a wall. This gives a good, wide access doorway and takes up less space in your bathroom, as well as being the easiest to use.
Shower doors also come in different thickness glass; 4mm, 6mm, 8mm 100 and 12mm. The thicker tempered glass doors are more rigid and feel very substantial. The thickness of the glass on the shower door you choose is the largest variable in the overall cost of your shower
Consider a shower enclosure that has no door like a P shaped one to cut costs. The shower unit is in the round part of the P. The leg of the P is an open walkway into the shower enclosure. If you have no shower door, then there is less cleaning and less mess in your bathroom.
Shower doors come in framed, semi-frameless and frameless designs. Frameless designs must be made from thicker glass because they need to be rigid. Frameless doors have hinges and door fittings attached at the factory, either by drilling the glass or by using a suitable adhesive.
Framed doors have the metal frame attached to all four door edges, meaning that the frame gives rigidity, so thinner tempered glass can be used.
Door frames and any metal frames for your shower enclosure may be made from aluminium or stainless steel.
Aluminium is attacked by the alkalis found in soap and cleaning products and is not really suitable for this application. Aluminium may be coated with a white polyester coating and it might be anodized with a yellow dye to give a gold-plated effect. There is not usually any gold on gold colored shower enclosures. If there was it would rub off with the constant cleaning that any shower enclosure requires. The yellow anodized finish on the aluminium will not rub off easily, but a white polyester coating is easily damaged and scratched.
Stainless steel is the best choice for shower and door frame trims because it is resistant to cleaning solutions and does not deteriorate over time.
Semi-frameless doors have a metal strip along the vertical edges of the door. Semi-frameless designs are very striking.