In the bathroom design world, a walk in shower has come to represent a perfect blend of functionality, accessibility, and elegant aesthetics. A walk in shower is a shower enclosure or a showering area that is designed for you to walk into, without the need for doors or any significant barrier at the entrance. It often features a shower tray to collect water and typically enclosed with glass panels, usually made of toughened safety glass for added durability and safety.
Walk in showers can take many shapes and sizes, often defined by the shower space they occupy within the bathroom. The lack of moving parts, such as doors or curtains and the smooth transition from the bathroom floor to the shower tray create a seamless and minimalistic design, distinct from other types of shower enclosures. Instead of having to climb or step over a bath or a high threshold as is common with traditional showers, with a walk in shower, as the name suggests, you walk in.
The rise in popularity of walk in showers can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, they offer a contemporary, sleek look that adds a touch of luxury to any bathroom, regardless of its size. They are also easier to clean and maintain, making them more hygienic. Furthermore, they are easily accessible and safer, especially for individuals with limited mobility, as they eliminate the need to climb or step over. Lastly, walk in showers are flexible and versatile; they can be customised to suit a range of bathroom designs, from compact shower rooms to larger, more luxurious wet rooms. This blend of style, functionality, and versatility makes walk-in showers an increasingly popular choice in modern bathroom design.
Understanding the Walk in Shower Concept
Walk in showers, by definition, are shower enclosures designed to provide an easy access, typically barrier-free entrance for users. These shower spaces often incorporate a shower tray to collect and guide water away, while the remaining three sides are usually enclosed by glass panels or screens, sometimes with one side left open for access.
The primary difference between walk in showers and step-in showers lies in the level of accessibility. Step-in showers usually require the user to climb over a small ledge or step up to enter the shower area. In contrast, a walk in shower is designed to be easily accessible, with a level floor transition from the bathroom to the showering area. While appearing minor, this design detail can significantly affect the ease of use, especially for those with limited mobility.
Walk in shower enclosures come with numerous benefits. Primarily, their open design gives an illusion of a larger space, making them perfect for smaller bathrooms or for those seeking a minimalist aesthetic. Additionally, walk in shower enclosures tend to have fewer moving parts than traditional showers, which means less wear and tear and fewer parts to clean. The absence of a door also means less chance of water leakage, reducing the risk of water damage to the rest of your bathroom.
Safety features play a significant role in the appeal of walk in showers. The barrier-free design is particularly beneficial for individuals with limited mobility or those seeking an age-friendly bathroom design. For example, walk in showers often incorporate non-slip surfaces on the shower tray to prevent falls. Some may also include safety glass panels, which are toughened to withstand impacts and to break into small, blunt pieces rather than large shards in case of breakage. Additional safety features, such as grab bars or shower seats, can be easily installed in a walk in shower enclosure to enhance safety and comfort further. These aspects underscore the walk in shower as an option that combines aesthetics, practicality, and safety into a single, stylish bathroom feature.
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Comparison of Walk-In Showers and Wet Rooms
A wet room is a fully waterproofed or tanked bathroom with a shower area that’s at the same level as the rest of the floor. Unlike traditional bathrooms, where enclosures or screens distinctly separate the showering area, the wet room design opens up the space. It allows for seamless transitioning from the shower area to the rest of the room. Wet rooms often employ a gentle gradient or a slightly sloped floor leading to a drain, and the entire room is effectively the showering area.
The main difference between wet rooms and walk in showers lies in the layout and use of space. Walk in showers are specifically designated areas within a bathroom, usually defined by glass screens or panels and a shower tray. In contrast, a wet room transforms the entire bathroom into a showering area. The wet room design allows for a completely open and barrier-free environment, but it requires the entire room to be waterproofed, which is not a necessity for a walk in shower.
When comparing wet room showers and walk-in showers, each has unique benefits. They offer an excellent solution for smaller spaces as removing shower trays and enclosures can make the bathroom appear larger. On the other hand, walk in showers offer similar aesthetic appeal and ease of access without requiring the whole bathroom to be waterproofed. They give more control over the showering area and can prevent the spread of moisture and splashes to other bathroom areas. Deciding between the two often depends on personal preferences, the available space, and the desired level of openness and functionality.
The Ideal Size for Walk in Showers
A walk in shower can be accommodated in a surprisingly small space, given the correct planning and design. The smallest shower room size that can comfortably contain a walk in shower is typically around 4 feet by 6 feet. This provides enough room for a shower enclosure, the necessary plumbing, and sufficient space to shower comfortably without feeling cramped.
In the UK, the minimum size for a walk in shower to adhere to building regulations is slightly different. The smallest recommended size for a shower enclosure is about 800mm by 800mm, or approximately 2.6 feet by 2.6 feet. This small square space allows for basic functionality while adhering to regulations. See our guide.
As for the good walk in shower size for different types of bathrooms, this will greatly depend on the overall bathroom size and layout. For bathrooms with limited space, a compact walk in shower measuring around 3 feet by 3 feet can be a practical solution. For larger spaces or master bathrooms, a more luxurious walk in shower could measure anywhere from 4 feet by 6 feet to even larger dimensions. It’s all about balancing the available space with the desired comfort and functionality of the shower.
Walk in showers with no door, also known as doorless walk in showers, have unique size requirements. The main consideration is ensuring that water does not splash into the rest of the bathroom. Therefore, the showering area should be designed to contain water effectively. This is typically achieved by making the shower area longer or wider than usual. A no-door walk in shower should ideally be at least 6 feet long and 4 feet wide. This provides ample room for the water to remain in the designated showering area and for a comfortable showering experience.
Throughout this exploration, we’ve come to understand walk in showers as the epitome of practical elegance. From their definition as barrier-free, easily accessible shower enclosures to the distinction from step-in showers and wet rooms, walk in showers provide a level of versatility unmatched by traditional shower setups. Their minimalistic design can be tailored to fit small and large spaces, making them an excellent addition to a range of bathroom designs.
Emphasizing the benefits, walk in showers not only offer functional advantages like safety and easy maintenance but also bring a sense of luxury and sophistication to your bathroom. Their seamless design gives the illusion of more space, lending an open, airy feel to the room. The array of materials from glass panels to chrome fixtures allows for a personalised touch, ensuring a unique showering experience that meets individual preferences and needs.
Walk in showers are more than just a current trend in bathroom design. They represent a shift towards designs that cater to a wide demographic, with safety features suitable for individuals with limited mobility, and a clean, contemporary aesthetic that appeals to those seeking a luxurious bathroom space. Whether you’re renovating an existing bathroom or planning a new one, a walk in shower is a significant consideration. By offering a balance of design, safety, and functionality, walk in showers are truly a valuable addition to any bathroom, making every showering experience a pleasure.
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