Buying Shower Cubicles
When buying shower cubicles it pays to carry out a little research prior to parting with your cash to make sure the product you end up with suits your needs.
There is a bewildering array of shower cubicles available these days so this guide aims to provide the extra information to help you make your purchase - especially if you aim to buy online.
Shower Cubicle Frame Colours
With today's trend toward minimalist designs many shower cubicles are of a frameless design. This gives them an open appearance and makes them less obtrusive within the bathroom. Many showers still use a frame around the glass components. Most frames are made from aluminium with one of two finishes: white or polished silver. Gold effect cubicle frames are now few and far between as this colour has fallen out of favour, partly due to the fact that gold effect finish on components such as taps and wastes were never as robust as chrome and suffered adversely from strong bathroom cleaning products. The decline in the popularity in this colour for bathroom components has led to the current situation where gold effect cubicles are now difficult to obtain. White frames are ideal if you have white or very light coloured ceramic tiles as they blend in with the walls. If you have any other colours then polished silver would be a better choice as it tends to reflect any surrounding colours and looks clean and modern. Although not exactly the same finish as chrome it is pretty close and is the best match for chrome fittings
Shower Door Hinges, Pivots or Rollers
Shower doors open in a variety of ways and each have merits and also some downsides. Cheap shower cubicle packages will usually consist of a standard size square shower tray (750 or 760mm) a fixed side panel and a pivot door. Rather than a hinge on the edge of the door there is a pivot slightly inboard from the edge on the top and bottom rail. Hinged doors tend to be used on more expensive showers with thicker glass. Rollers are used on sliding doors, both straight and curved, and usually run inside the top rail. Avoid sliding doors that do not utilise rollers as the channels the doors run in can get clogged up with soap and prevent the door from running smoothly.
Shower Cubicle Trays
Shower cubicle trays come in a wide variety of shapes sizes and materials. The standard size tray is 750 or 760mm square (equivalent to the old 30" trays) but shower trays can be much larger - especially those used for walk in showers. Always try and fit the largest size cubicle that the room will accommodate comfortably as small cubicles can feel claustrophobic especially those less than 760mm square. There are many rectangular trays available so if you are limited for space in one direction but have more room the other way a rectangular tray can be an ideal way of maximising the available space. As well as square and rectangular trays there are also quadrant, pentagon (sometimes referred to as pentangle or pentagra) and D shape cubicles.
Shower Trays With Upstands
Shower cubicles need to installed properly or leaks will occur which can result in serious water damage if left unchecked. A common cause of leaks is he joint between the shower tray and the ceramic tiles. Grout should not be used in this joint unless the shower tray is chopped into the wall and plastered into place making it as solid as the wall itself. Grout will not tolerate any movement - even slight movement will cause it to crack. Silicone sealant should be used for this joint as it is slightly flexible and does not crack. Both surfaces need to be clean, dry and dust-free to ensure a good bond between the surfaces. One innovation that aids the sealing process is the addition of upstands to the shower tray. These are thin lips moulded on top of the tray surface that are then tiled over. As the upstand fits up behind the tile so if the tile/tray seal breaks water cannot escape as the upstand creates a "dish" effect that contains the water within the tray. Upstands are available on 1, 2, 3 or 4 sides of the tray. Be careful if you are thinking of using upstands on open sides of the shower (i.e. not the wall sides) as they can hinder the correct installation of the enclosure components.