Most people would now see a shower as a necessity in the home but not all properties have them installed. A cubicle would seem the ideal way of adding a shower but this is not always feasible but there are other solutions.
There are three methods of adding a shower to a room:
- fitting one over the bath
- creating a wet room
- installing a shower cubicle
There are many factors that will determine which option is taken, including cost, ease of installation and available space. A shower over the bath is a quick and easy solution while installing a wet room can be a very involved process. Fitting a shower cubicle is an ideal option if you have the space and the wide variety of shapes and sizes available on the market means there is usually one that is suitable for the room you have in mind.
A shower cubicle consists of a tray (which collects and directs the water into the waste pipe via a waste and trap) and an enclosure which prevents spray from the shower from soaking the rest of the room . There is more information on the varying styles, shapes and door options available on our shower enclosure and shower tray pages while this page concentrates cubicle installation.
The siting of your cubicle might be pre-determined by the available space in your bathroom. All but the very largest bathrooms will have a limited amount of places where the cubicle can be installed.
Some features within the room are fixed and cannot be moved or altered without extensive building work. Windows, doors or sloping ceilings can all influence the positioning of the cubicle. Other items in the room such as radiators, pipework and the components of the bathroom suite can all be moved but the work required can sometimes be extensive which will mean disruption and extra cost.
The main installation options are:
- corner shower cubicle
- shower cubicle in a recess
- flat wall installation
A shower cubicle can be fitted into the corner of a room (1 below) giving the frame or enclosure two solid walls into which the fixings can be secured. Cubicles are usually supplied with wall posts that are attached to the walls and will allow a reasonable amount of adjustment should the walls be less than perfectly flat and square.
If it is not possible to fit the shower into the corner of the room or the shower is not suitable for fitting against a flat wall (for example if you are thinking of fitting a quadrant cubicle) then a stud wall can be built to "create" a corner (2 above). A hollow partition wall will give a solid surface onto which the frame can be fitted and will also allow the supply pipework to be buried. A recessed mixer can also be used with a hollow wall , but the downside is that introducing an extra wall into a small bathroom design can make the room feel smaller (obviously if you have a large bathroom this is less of a problem).
A cubicle can also be fitted into a recess where the walls provide three sides of the enclosure with a door installed across the opening to provide access (3 above). A shower curtain could also be utilised but these can prove less effective - especially if a power shower is installed. Sometimes cubicles are sold as a package consisting of a shower tray, glass side panel and pivot door. This can prove to very a cheap way of buying a shower cubicle and can even cost less than buying a tray and door separately but be careful if you are thinking of utilising the door and tray from a package for a recess situation as the door is not always supplied with the necessary wall plates for this type of installation.
Some cubicles can be fitted against a flat wall but not all are suitable to be installed this way (4 above). Those that are suitable will be provided with special stabilizing brackets that fit on top the frame to bolster the rigidity. If it is to be installed against a flat wall, additional profiles should also be supplied to secure the frame to the wall. There may also be limitations as to which side the door can be fitted, depending on the profiles supplied. There are also some showers that cannot be installed in a corner or recess as they are specifically designed to be installed against a flat wall. D shaped cubicles have top and bottom rails that tend to consist of one complete frame with no joints, so as a consequence they are very rigid (5 above).
The rigidity of the installed cubicle is vitally important. Most enclosures are attached to the shower tray with silicone sealant and no mechanical fixings. This means that any movement in the enclosure in relation to the tray can result in these seals parting company and allowing water through. Leaking water can lead to quite serious damage, causing damp and mould growth problems that are not always instantly noticeable. As well as ensuring that the silicone seals remain intact it is also critical that the walls inside the shower cubicle are totally waterproof. Ceramic tiles are the most common covering used for cubicle walls but the grout must be waterproof and applied properly. Non-waterproof grout or badly applied grout (which results in pinholes or gaps) can allow water to penetrate behind the surface which will result in mould growth and can even cause tiles to fall off. Alternatives to ceramic tiles include shower wall panels which are installed without the need for grout eliminating many of the problems that can occur with a tiled surface.
See the following page for further shower cubicle help and advice
If you want to install a shower cubicle but the bathroom is too small to be able to house both a cubicle and a bath then there are two options:
- install the cubicle in another room - maybe by creating a small en-suite room
- remove the bath and install a cubicle in its place using one of the above methods
Click here to see a variety of cubicles in our shower cubicle gallery.