A new shower provides a great way to makeover your bathroom, but with so many different types available, it can be difficult to choose the right one. From shower baths to shower enclosures and shower valves, there’s a lot to consider when shopping for a new bathroom shower. So, to help point you in the right direction, we’ve created this handy buying guide.

Shower baths

curved shower bath

Shower baths are a great option for small bathrooms that don’t have enough room to install a separate bath and shower enclosure. Available in a range of sizes and designs, shower baths provide a stylish and practical space saving solution as they combine enough room for both bathing and showering. They feature one end that’s wider than the other so you can enjoy a more comfortable showering experience.

Before buying a new shower bath, there are a few things to consider such as the available space. If you are planning a new bathroom, you may want to make a scale drawing of the space so you can see the best position for the shower bath. You will also need to decide if you require a left or right handed shower bath, so the easiest way to work this out is to imagine standing at the end of the bath and look down the length, the widest part will be to one side and the furthest away. If the wide part is on the left, then you will need a left hand shower bath, and a right hand one, if it’s on the right.

There’s also p-shaped and square shower baths. P-shaped baths are a popular option and work well with any bathroom scheme, while a square design is a great choice for creating a contemporary look. To complete your shower bath and to ensure the bathroom floor is protected from spills and splashes, you will need to fit a suitable screen.

Cheap shower baths are ideal for those who are on a tight budget, and just because the price is low, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality is poor, in fact some offer fantastic value for money. So, it’s definitely worth keeping your eye out for bargains and shopping when the sales are on.

Shower enclosures

shower enclosure

Whether your bathroom has plenty of space or is on the compact side, there’s a shower enclosure to suit your requirements. Quadrant shower enclosures are well suited to small bathrooms, as the curved design and sliding doors helps to save space. Bi-fold shower doors are also perfect for small bathrooms, as the door folds back on itself so no valuable space is taken up.

Sliding, bi-fold and pivot/hinged shower doors can be fitted between two walls or with a compatible side panel. They come in a wide range of sizes to suit your bathroom design.

If you want to create a designer look, then opt for a walk-in shower or a wetroom glass screen. A walk-in shower features a spacious showering area at one end, with the opposite end used as a drying area that’s open to the room. As there’s no door to open or close, a walk-in shower is ideal for those who are less mobile.

Some shower enclosures are supplied with a tray, which means you don’t have to look for a tray separately, and it also ensures a perfect fit.

When choosing a shower enclosure, it’s worth checking the thickness of the glass, as the thicker this is, the more money you can expect to pay. 4mm glass is the most affordable option and is the minimum glass thickness for a frameless shower enclosure. 6mm glass is a safe, sturdy and durable option, and is ideal if you’re after something more robust than 4mm glass. 8mm toughened glass is a premium option that’s the most expensive. It’s extremely tough and robust, and offers the highest level of structural integrity for a frameless shower enclosure.

Shower heads and shower valves

modern shower kit

Choosing the right shower head and shower valve is an important factor to get right, as the last thing you want is a poor performing shower system. Before buying a new shower, it’s essential to find out if the water pressure in your home is low or high and what the flow rates are like. Once you know this, you will have a better understanding of which type of shower is the most suitable.

If you have a cold water tank in the loft and a hot water cylinder fitted elsewhere, then you will have a low pressure system – this is known as a gravity fed system.

Homes with a combination boiler have a high pressure vented water system, which is suitable for use with most shower systems.

If your home has a hot water tank but no cold water tank, this means you have a high pressure unvented water system, and is therefore suitable for the majority of shower systems.

Shower heads

Fixed shower heads and handheld shower heads are the two main types of shower heads, and they come in modern and traditional styles, as well as sizes.

A fixed shower head is fitted to the wall or ceiling with an arm, and is ideal for creating a luxury look. A hand shower is typically supplied as part of a slide rail kit, and is a popular choice as the head can easily be adjusted to the desired height. Connected to a flexible hose, a hand shower can be removed from the holder allowing you to rinse and clean around your shower enclosure with ease.

Shower valves

There are two main types of shower valve – manual and thermostatic. A manual shower valve has a single lever that controls the temperature and the flow of the water. It has no thermostatic control, so if someone turns on a tap in another bathroom for example, the water can turn freezing cold or scalding hot.

Thermostatic shower valves are designed to maintain the temperature of the water, so if there’s a sudden change in the hot or cold water supply, the valve automatically responds and will compensate for this change. A thermostatic shower valve will shut-off if the cold or hot water fails. There’s also one, two and three outlet options available.

  • A one outlet shower valve supplies water to a single outlet such as a shower head.
  • A two outlet valve supplies water to two outlets such as shower head and body jets.
  • A three outlet shower valve supplies water to three outlets such as a shower head, body jets and a shower handset.

In addition to this, shower valves are available in an array of styles, which means you’ll have no trouble choosing one the perfectly enhances the design of your bathroom.

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