While every home has to have at least one bathtub for bathing children and for resale reasons, nothing says luxury by today’s standard like a really wonderful shower. There are many ways to create a shower from pre-made units to custom showers. Custom showers, while more expensive give the best flexibility to choose exactly what is wanted. What is perfect for one person isn’t necessarily another person’s ideal shower. Here are some things that I think will make a great shower:
* A comfortable shower should be somewhat larger than the minimum recommended 36’ x 36”. Even 36” x 48” to feels more spacious. And believe it or not, a shower can be too large. It needs to be large enough to accommodate the users but not so large as to be awkward. If a roll-in wheelchair shower is needed the dimensions change considerably.
* Every shower should have grab bars. Why? Because you never know when a guest or family member will need something to grab. Oh it might be the flu, a pregnancy or Aunt Tillie’s visit but, grab bars are a practical addition to any shower. At the very least, blocking should be put in the walls for their future installation.
* Well-placed niches for soaps, shampoos etc. take thought. The more people that use the shower, the more space you’ll need. Speaking of well-placed, I prefer locating everything but a soap holder on the wall opposite the plumbing. One reason is that the pipes supplying the shower will make recessed areas nearly impossible. Surface-mounted shelves work though. The other reason for locating them on the opposite wall is that the user is stepping away from the water to grab the shampoo and I think that makes sense.
* A seat in the shower is a practical plus to any shower. It should be about the same dimensions as a chair. In other words about 18” high and 15” deep. Besides sitting, seats come in handy for washing feet and shaving legs.
* Wall material is a big decision. Most showers today are tiled so selecting the largest tile possible reduces the number of grout joints to clean. There are also new stone paneling materials on the market that combine the beauty of stone with the convenience of a solid slab.
* Clear, frameless shower doors are all the rage and since there are good cleaners today to keep them looking spectacular, it isn’t an impractical choice at all.
* Consider one of the new channel drains. Instead of a round drain in
Photo courtesy of Quick Drian USA
the center, this newer concept has a one-way slope in the shower pan. It makes a cleaner installation and requires less cutting of tile. And it’s perfect for wheelchair accessibility.
* Add a hand held shower. I like a hand shower primarily for cleaning the shower walls but honestly, they have lots of other uses. From helping children transition from tub baths to showers to limiting the shower spray for someone with an arm or leg in a cast. Hand held showers are also handy when members of the family are different heights. Most are installed on a rod with a significant amount of adjust ability.
Photo courtesy of Kohler
* Add a luxury or two if the budget permits. One of the new fun products from Kohler is the Moxie shower head. You aren’t going to believe this but The Moxie shower head syncs with any Bluetooth-enabled device—smart phones and mp3 players—and streams music directly into the shower. So, not only do you get a first rate shower spray but you have the music of your choice right in the shower with you. You have to love this idea.
A perfect shower may mean one thing to one person and something entirely different to another. While the basics of size and safety never change there is lots of room for individual choices.