Shower stall or bathtub? When both cannot be installed, perhaps due to space requirements, the choice should fall on the first. Here are some tips for choosing the best shower enclosure, a useful list of the types and materials used, and a price overview.
Shower box: the advantages
If you have two bathrooms, or just one but spacious enough, you don’t need to choose: you can install both the shower cubicle and the bathtub. If not, a decision must be made. So: shower box or bathtub? There are various reasons that tip the balance for the first rather than the second.
- Reduced space. The shower enclosure, this is also evident to the eyes of a layman, takes up less space than a bathtub, including those in the seat. The shower cubicle is ideal for small bathrooms, which can thus be enhanced with complete furnishing, the result of a freer choice.
- Quick cleaning. Washing the bathtub can be a strenuous activity, also because the materials with which it is made tend to form limestone. Conversely, cleaning the shower cubicle is really simple: a splash of water and a little detergent is enough, even once a week.
- Affordable price. Regardless of the cost of the shower enclosure itself, which can be more or less high depending on the materials chosen, the models, and the degree of refinement of the design, it is characterized by an easier installation process, which translates into a cost for clearly lower labor.
Shower enclosures: types and materials
The shower enclosure is a valid alternative to the bathtub, given the advantages listed above. However, the choices do not end there. You need to decide which shower stall to install. In fact, they differ in type and material.
These are the types.
- Niche shower enclosure. The cabin is recessed in the wall and creates a circumscribed and private space.
- Corner shower enclosure. The cabin is installed in the corner of the bathroom, in order to optimize space.
- Wall-mounted shower enclosure. As the name suggests, it is located close to the wall but in the center of the room.
- Open shower stall. This type maximizes the area reserved for the shower, is very simple to clean, and is characterized by minimal design.
- Shower cabin with hinged door. The door, which rotates on the hinges, gives greater comfort to the shower cabin.
- Shower cabin with sliding door. It is ideal for smaller bathrooms, as the door slides into the cabin walls and does not take up space.
The materials are these instead.
- Steel. Used naturally for the frame, it gives resistance to the structure and reduces maintenance requirements (it is stainless). On the other hand, being less malleable offers fewer possibilities in terms of design.
- Aluminum. This material, also used for the frame, creates a wide margin of discretion in terms of design. However, it requires maintenance as it risks oxidation.
- Plastic. Used for walls, it is characterized by a very low cost. The functionality is good. The possibilities from the aesthetic point of view are sufficient, but not exceptional.
- Crystal. The material used for the walls is ideal for those who want to give aesthetic value to their shower: it boasts a natural elegance and, in addition, can be decorated. However, it offers lower safety guarantees as it can break, although the tempered variant reduces the danger to a minimum in case of breakage (it breaks into small and not sharp pieces). It also costs more.
Shower box: which one to choose?
Choosing the right shower enclosure, in light of the many types in circulation, is not always easy. Here are some criteria to consider.
- Space. As we have seen, some types take up less space than others. If space is scarce, it is good to choose a sliding door shower enclosure or even an open one.
- Design needs. If the goal is to give aesthetic value to the bathroom even though the shower, it is good to prefer materials such as steel (for the frame) and crystal (for the walls).
- Economic possibilities. If we exclude the niche shower enclosure, prices change little from type to type — different speech for materials. If availability is low, aluminum and plastic models should be preferred.
Shower enclosure: the installation phases
The installation of the shower cubicle is an activity that is the responsibility of experts of specialized personnel. Unless you have real expertise and experience, DIY is highly discouraged. In any case, to reserve the possibility to supervise the works – and check their quality – it is good to know what the installation consists of. Here are the main steps.
- Positioning and fixing of U-profiles on the walls using self-threading screws.
- Inserting the corner joints in the profiles on one side of the cabin.
- Jointing of the two sides of the cabin. At the same time, they are interlocked in the corners.
- Profile drilling at the angle level.
- Screwing of the set screws on both sides of the cab.
- Inserting the gaskets on the fixed sides of the cabin.
- Positioning the cabin structure on the shower tray.
- Assembling the handles.
- Inserting the sliding bearings.
- Assembly of door release systems.
- Inserting the doors.