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What Do I Need to Know When Choosing a Shower Enclosure?

Updating your bathroom can be as complex as a total renovation, or as simple as installing one of the better quality shower enclosures. Whether your bathroom is grand and expansive, or tiny and functional, your quality of life can be affected by how fresh and clean the atmosphere and the fixtures are in that one room.


Even in new home construction, bathtub shower surrounds are a popular choice, providing cost-effective, attractive fixtures that will look new for years to come, with easy-to-clean shiny acrylic surfaces and built-in accessories like the soap dish. Shower wall units are a relatively simple and inexpensive way to instantly improve the look and feel of a dated, aging bathroom. They can be adapted to different space needs and bathroom configurations, and are an achievable project for the average DIY home remodeler.


Choosing a Shower Enclosure


Choosing the Type of Shower Enclosure


If you are installing a new shower enclosure for the first time, start by assessing the amount of space you can comfortably dedicate to the shower. It is important to have a detailed floor plan of your bathroom, and position the unit where all the necessary water hookups will be available. Note where windows and doors are placed, and be sure to allow for all necessary clearances—if you open the bathroom door, for example, you don’t want it banging into your shower entrance.  


If you are replacing an old, pre-existing shower, your easiest approach is to work with the space already dedicated to it, and choose a unit accordingly. Be sure to select enclosure walls that are trimmable, to achieve the most precise fit, and look for the option to order customized dimensions that suit your space.


The two most popular, basic options are a two-wall or a three-wall shower enclosure. Two-wall enclosures are ideal for a corner position, while the three-wall fits a larger footprint.


What About Shower Doors?


If you are going for simple, straightforward, low-cost solutions, there’s always the good old tension rod with a colorful shower curtain. It provides an opportunity to introduce or tie in a color scheme. A more permanent choice is to install shower doors, which means doing a bit more thought before deciding on the right approach.


A corner shower usually requires a single hinged door, which can swing in or out, depending on space. You can achieve a super-clean, modern look with a glass door that features minimal hardware—just hinges at top and bottom, and perhaps a handle. Notice the color of trim and specify the one that will best match other trim in your bathroom—usually chrome. Some styles allow you to choose a left or a right swing, which is a huge help in adapting to tight corner spaces.


A sliding door is a good option for a larger space, like a 3-wall or tub with shower enclosure. If you are struggling with limited space, the sliding door is a great option, as it doesn’t need a swing space to open out or in. A framed sliding door is sturdy, although cleaning the track takes a little extra effort.


Step-In and ADA-Compliant Shower Enclosures


The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, mandates standards for accessibility of public and government facilities, as well as commercial ones, for use by people with various disabilities.1 The proper kind of shower enclosure observes some key aspects of ADA regulations, making access barrier-free for people who are aging or who have difficulty stepping over a raised threshold.


Choosing a Shower Enclosure


Originally conceived for public and commercial spaces, the ADA regulations have filtered down to all aspects of life, and influence the design of newer homes and renovations. As a result, the benefits available to residents of senior living facilities, for example, are now available to homeowners and rental dwellers who can purchase and install ADA-compliant shower enclosures.


These enclosures tackle two primary issues: safety and accessibility.  If your family includes, or may soon include, an elderly person or someone with limited mobility, it is important to eliminate the need to step up into a shower, and to allow for wheelchair accessibility. An awkward, sticky, or heavy door handle may be an obstacle as well. The type of door you choose is key to assuring barrier-free access. The door should be wider than a standard one, and should eliminate the need for a bottom track.1  


Once inside the shower, there should be height-adjustable shower heads, easy to adjust faucets, and sturdy grab bars in key locations. It should also include a built-in bench for safe and comfortable seating, ideal for small tykes that must be supervised in the shower, or for elderly and disabled individuals who cannot safely use a bath, but who cannot remain standing in the shower.


The right kind of compliant shower enclosure can meet all these needs and still be used by the whole family, at almost any age. Acrylic, glossy finish bathroom shower enclosures. like one supplied by American Bath Enterprises, offers easy maintenance, with an attractive, modern design. Features included for safety and convenience enhance the showering experience, creating a feeling of luxury.


Bath and Shower Accessories


Add to your enjoyment and feeling of comfort in the shower by personalizing the room with convenient, attractive accessories. If you’re adapting your home with an easy-to-install shower enclosure, make it a more functional space by adding a matching corner shelf, simply installed with two-sided tape.


Increase the functionality and comfort of a small bathroom with just a few carefully chosen decorative accessories that also serve a purpose. A two-tiered storage shelf or cart in glass and chrome, for example, can carry out the look of your other fixtures and hardware. If floor space is too limited, there are numerous choices in wall shelving units that provide additional storage space and a touch of decorative flair at the same time. Either approach provides a tidy way to contain the necessary items that everyone uses on a daily basis, like a hair dryer, neatly rolled up wash cloths (good for color accents), or hand towels, and extra rolls of toilet paper, always within easy reach.




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