The use of separate shower enclosures and units has gone through a period of rapid growth over the last decade.
A wide variety of designs, methods of construction, glass thicknesses, shapes and dimensions are now available and the choice for the consumer is better than ever before. Most bathroom sizes and layouts can be accommodated. Different enclosure shapes and door closings are available and the most recent designs of ‘walk in’ or ‘walk through’ products together with ‘wet rooms’ and ‘wet zones’ further broaden the choice. Enclosures and screens can meet a broad range of consumer requirements and budgets.
Features and Benefits
Hinged screen and/or panels. - Provide easy access in confined areas. Ease of maintenance and cleaning.
Outward opening door. - Wide and easy access to shower area where bathroom space is not an issue.
Rigid screens/panels. - Strong permanent structure giving added use to baths and enclosures.
Sliding or inward folding door. - Easy access to shower with no loss of floor space in the bathroom. Doesn’t infringe on the rest of the bathroom.
Shower cabinets. - All in one showering units which combine all parts of the shower - integrated as one purchase. - All factory fitted. Provides a complete showering facility.
Shower screen with a shower head mounted over the bath. - Uses existing facilities so there is no requirement for a separate tray. Inexpensive and good for confined spaces. Toughened safety glass Essential. In the event of an accident the glass will shatter but stay whole so no sharp slivers of glass are revealed.
Two-way opening door. - Opens inwards and outwards, offering complete flexibility for access.
Adjustability – how much adjustability is in the design to allow for out-of-true walls? How fine is the adjustability?
Bath screen – does it pivot through 180 degrees for easy cleaning and access?
Bounce out – what seals are provided to minimise ‘bounce out’ of water from a powerful shower?
Cleaning – do the door panels swing back with clip-out hinges to allow cleaning?
Cleaning - Glass surface – does the glass have an easy-clean high-gloss glass coating? (sometimes called nano-technology)
Cleaning – how easy is the product to access for cleaning?
Cover caps – do the open ends of the extruded aluminium profiles have cover caps?
Customer service – what does the manufacturer and retailer offer?
Door closure – what mechanism is supplied? Is it magnetic or mechanical? How good is the water seal?
Door handles – how are they designed, are the practical or purely decorative and can they been cleaned easily?
Door hinges – what material is used in manufacture? Stainless steel, alloy, brass, steel? Door seals - what seals are provided to maximise water tightness, particularly when used with a powerful shower?
Fixings – are they visible or invisible for a sleeker look?
Frame finish – is it chrome, silver matt, silver pearl, polished silver, white? Other finishes? You will need to know the finish for cleaning purposes.
Frame type – is the enclosure fully framed, semi framed or frameless?
Glass decoration – is the glass available with modesty decoration?
Glass quality – What British or European Standards is the glass manufactured to?
Glass thickness – what are the dimensions? Is glass thickness engineered to the support frame?
Guarantee – what length of warranty and what conditions does the manufacturers give?
Panel height – what are the glass dimensions? Are they suitable for your household? Will the enclosure fit in your room?
Sliding door rollers – how are they designed: metal roller bearings, nylon bearing, sliding metal on metal? How are the sliders lubricated?
Spare parts – what is available and for how long in the life of the product?
Water seals – how good do they do their job and are they replaceable in the future if they wear out?
Water tightness – is the enclosure good enough for a power shower?
Where do I start? There is such a wide variety of designs, styles and prices. How on earth do I start to look for a new enclosure?
It can be daunting – but it can also be fun and very rewarding when you have chosen a new shower enclosure. First work out how much space you’ve got in your bathroom and where do you plan to put the new enclosure? Then decide what style of enclosure is best to fit your space. Then set a budget. Next find local showrooms and go and look and feel the enclosures on display. You will soon get to know the differences between the models available and the respective price ranges.
I have an opening between two walls of 830mm - What width of door do I need to purchase?
Telescopic profiles fitted on the frame of most enclosures allow you to achieve minimum and maximum widths. Check the width of your opening carefully at floor, waist and eye level to determine the tolerances necessary. Your retailer will guide you to the manufacturers’ brochures which conform to these dimensions.
I have obstructions to the left of the door opening of our proposed shower enclosure. Which type of door would be suitable?
Any obstruction makes it advisable to purchase an enclosure with either an inwardly folding door or a sliding door. Neither of these open outwards and will therefore not be affected by the obstructions.
I have a pumped shower and I’m considering purchasing a bath screen. Would this be sufficiently watertight for a powerful shower?
No - it is not advisable to use a pumped or powerful shower over a bath with a simple bath screen. Owing to the volume of water and spray created there will always be spilled water in your bathroom. For a power shower over a bath you will need to purchase a special over-bath enclosure which is more water tight.
My bathroom is tiny and has a sloping ceiling. I would like a shower enclosure but nothing seems suitable to fit the available space. Any ideas?
Yes. Although a standard enclosure may not be suitable, some manufacturers will build a special or bespoke enclosure for you. Unusual dimensions and awkwardly shaped glass can be accommodated.
Are frameless enclosures safe?
Provided that the product is engineered correctly with the correct glass thickness, robust hinge mechanisms and other supports you should have no issues over safety.
What do the words ‘framed’ and ‘semi-framed’ mean? A The terms describe how much of the enclosure is encased in a frame, typically aluminium.
fully framed enclosure will have a frame around the four sides of the glass. A semi or part framed enclosure will usually have a frame only on the vertical sides of the glass.