Walk-in showers can give your bathroom a European feel or simply provide easy access for your daily bathing. The best shower stall is the one that suits your needs and is durable, so consider how you will use the shower and who will be using it as well as the setup of your bathroom and the space you have available. Your personal taste for materials and styles come into play, as well as your preferences for luxury and utility features.
Video of the Day
Prefabricated One-piece Stalls
Prefabricated shower stalls are a good choice for do-it-yourselfers without a lot of experience. If your bathroom is large enough that entry points and maneuvering are not a problem, consider a one-piece unit molded from sturdy fiberglass or acrylic. One-piece units install quickly and you do not have to worry about sealing gaps between pieces or in the corners of a surround, limiting the possibility of water leaking or seeping behind the stall. Choose a unit that fits snugly into your available space without requiring any changes to the walls. If you are new to bathroom remodeling, consider an all-in-one unit that includes a door assembly, as well. Corner and wall units are the most common in home improvement stores, but freestanding units for large, open bathrooms may be special ordered. Experienced do-it-yourselfers may enjoy setting up prefabricated stalls with wall jets for a luxury spa experience in the shower.
Smaller bathrooms may require shower stalls that come in multiple pieces, such as a separate basin and wall unit. Purchase a style with as few pieces as you can easily install, as this will help you minimize leaks. As with one-piece styles, choose molded fiberglass or acrylic rather than simple sheet surrounds. They are easier to install and hold up better over time. Thinner sheets can bow and warp, pulling away from the walls and sealant. Consider your needs for built-in shelving when choosing a unit. Some styles offer interchangeable wall pieces to customize your shower with soap dishes, shampoo shelves and places to hang washcloths.
If a person with limited physical capabilities uses the shower, consider a roll-in or barrier-free design. Developed for wheelchair access, roll-in showers are also good for anyone with limited range of motion, knee injuries or limited eyesight that makes seeing changes in floor height difficult. Regulation roll-in showers must be the same level as the bathroom floor surface, with no lip to step over. Add safety rails for improved accessibility, even if no wheelchair users are present. Roll-in showers generally require site-specific installation, although prefabricated units are available from some manufacturers. Nonslip tile is the best flooring for beauty, safety and durability. Textured tile throughout the shower surround can add continuity and style. Leave the shower completely open in a large bathroom for a European feel or add a shower curtain hanging on a track to block the spray from reaching other areas of the bathroom. Because this type of shower generally requires custom installation, you can add luxury items as you choose, such as wall jets, multiple showerheads and built-in shelves.