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Why not fit a shower instead of a bath

Why not fit a shower instead of a bath

Showers are more economical than baths - they're quick and easy, they use less hot water and they take up less space. A shower room is also easier and less expensive to install than a bathroom, and children love showers.

The shower

There are several different types of shower available, the most common ones being mixer and instantaneous. A mixer shower can be plumbed in from the existing hot and cold water system. The drop from the bottom of the cold water tank to the shower head needs to be at least 90cm to give you sufficient pressure of water (this distance is known as the 'head'). lf the pressure is too low, it may be worth fitting a booster pump or raising the cold water tank.

An instantaneous shower, powered by gas or electricity, takes cold water directly from the mains supply, heating the water while it is running. This type of shower can be very economical because it only heats the water you use, so there is no need for a hot water supply or even a tank. Because you can adjust them to the height of the user, handheld shower heads are more flexible than, but not as neat as, fixed ones.

With thermostatic controls, the water temperature is maintained even if other taps in the house are being run - most important in a large family or multi-occupied house. Controls which maintain the pressure of the flow of water are also available.

Cubicles

Shower areas need to be fully waterproof. They must be enclosed on two or three sides, with a door or shower curtain on the remaining side(s). Cubicles come ready-built, but for more versatility, there is a wide selection of self - assemb|y showers. Made of toughened glass or plastic, these comprise of back and side panels with a choice of corner opening, bi-fold, sliding and curved corner door options. lf you want to fit a shower into an oddly shaped space, it is worth considering tiling the entire area, including the floor (using non-slip tiles), and using a shower door or curtain over the entrance.

Shower trays are usually made from ceramic, enamelled steel or acrylic and come rm a range of sizes, the most common being 762mm, 815mm and 900mm square, although there are also rectangular and corner models.

Practicalities

You need to consider plumbing, safety and ventilation. So ask your local authority about the regulations governing the installation of showers and drainage connections before starting any work. It is usually fairly straightforward to run water to the shower but connecting the drainage can be more difficult. The length and slope of the waste pipe is not as critical as with a toilet but placing the shower cabinet against an outside wall and near to other plumbing units makes things easier.

Flooring

ln a shower room, the flooring should be water resistant as well as good looking. There are plenty of choices. \/inyl tiles or cushion flooring is comfortable to stand on and is easily cleaned and there are hundreds of styles and patterns to choose from.

Cork tiles sealed with polyurethane varnish are warm and practical and their neutral tones it in well with most colour schemes. Ceramic tiles are a traditional bathroom or shower flooring; they are beautiful and very hardwearing but are expensive and feel cold and hard. If however, you prefer the warmth of carpet, it is best to go for the ridged, rubber - backed kind made specifically for use in bathrooms.

Ordinary carpet eventually rots if it is continually splashed with water.

Stylish simplicity

This rectangular room could have been fitted with a bath but the owners preferred the idea of a luxurious shower room, using the extra space for twin basins. The fully tiled shower area has a corner tray. The angle of the pair of frosted glass doors across the entrance is echoed by the diagonal floor tiles.

Towel radiator

A single heated towel rail is rarely sufficient to heat a bathroom or shower room, while a conventional radiator doesn't give many towels hanging space. An alternative is to fit a stylish towel radiator with horizontal bars, available in a variety of heights.