Shower Cabins Buyers Guide
Shower cabins offer a complete showering solution in a single purchase, containing an enclosure, tray and the shower system itself. By providing the enclosure as a complete product, shower cabins are reliably watertight and sealed. They also mean you won't be required to tile your walls or floor as you can install them almost anywhere, so long as they can be connected to your water supply and drainage. There are a huge variety of different shower cabins available, ranging from standard enclosures to luxurious double cabins with body jets. At the higher end, a shower cabin provides the ultimate showering experience. Shower cabins are sometimes called “integral” or “one-piece” cubicles, referring to the fact that they integrate all of your showering requirements and extra features into a single unit.
Shower cabins are usually made using thermoformed acrylic, a strong material that is ideal for the tray area and forming sturdy walls. There are often a number of metallic details in more visible areas, including door handles and the shower unit itself. These metal pieces will usually have a chrome or brushed metal finish, for a gleaming or understated appearance depending on your preference. Glass sections are almost always made using thick safety glass, which is extremely hard to break and protects the cabin and, more importantly, the user. This glass usually ranges between 4mm and 10mm in thickness, with the thickest glass reserved for the most expensive cabins.
At the smaller end, shower cabins take up no more space than a standard shower enclosure. Larger units, such as the luxurious double shower cabins, will occupy a far greater area of your floor. This range of different sizes means that shower cabins aren't only suitable for larger rooms, though more floor space will obviously mean you can choose from a much bigger selection. Before investing in a shower cabin, take plenty of time to check that it can fit comfortably into your bathroom and, if it does, whether or not it will dominate the space too much. The variety of different sizes and styles means that there should be a shower cabin suitable for every reasonably sized bathroom, so take your time and find your perfect unit.
It's worth remembering that listed cabin dimensions are the external dimensions; these let you know how much floor and wall space they occupy but not necessarily how much room you will have to manoeuvre while inside. Take into consideration that you there will be slightly less space inside the cabin than the listed dimensions. Most shower cabins will require a minimum ceiling height of two metres, so be sure to measure this in addition to how much floor space you have to work with.
Also, remember to leave enough space in front of your cabin that you can enter and exit it without too much difficulty. Quadrant cabins are generally smaller and are ideal choices for bathrooms with less space, while rectangular cabins are usually luxurious and might even include two showers for sharing the cabin. The majority of shower cabins feature sliding doors, meaning they won't intrude into the rest of the bathroom when they're opened. Some larger cabins include benches, helping you relax and rest while in the shower.
Integrated shower cabins are available in the same variety of sizes as separate shower trays and enclosures. The shape usually refers to the appearance of the base when viewed from above, such as square or rectangular. A quadrant cabin's base looks like a quarter of a circle or oval, with one right angle so it can be placed into a corner and another curved side. Quadrants make the most of your space by fitting snugly into a corner and minimising the amount that they intrude into the rest of the bathroom, making them a popular choice for smaller properties.
An offset quadrant is similar to a standard quadrant but one straight side is longer than the other, resulting in more interior space and making them an ideal choice for narrow bathrooms. Square cabins have a square base, as their name implies, while rectangular cabins are longer and offer more space. Though rarer, D-shaped cabins are stylish curved units with one straight side at the rear that can be placed against a wall, excellent for use as a centrepiece in a larger bathroom.
Thanks to shower cabins including all shower systems in your purchase, higher-end cabins can also include a number of extra features. These include integrating multiple shower heads, for example, an overhead rainfall style shower, a standard mounted head on the wall and an extra shower handset for added manoeuvrability. Additional body jets offer a therapeutic, massaging clean while you shower and range from a pair of jets up to a dozen that spray high-pressure water from every direction for an intense wash.
Waterproof radios or Bluetooth speakers might also be included, letting you safely listen to music while showering. For an added dose of relaxation, some of the higher-end cabins might also feature soothing lighting and aromatherapy, converting your time spent into the shower into a sensory experience. If you have multiple body jets in your shower and use them for any sustained period, your hot water use will increase and it's worth ensuring you have a large hot water storage tank, ideally with a capacity of at least 300 litres.
If you don't have a storage tank and rely on instantaneous water heating, a cabin with many body jets will probably put too much of a strain on your system and impede performance. Certain body jets can be managed by an electronic control panel and these will need connecting to your power supply, as will the radio and any lighting if you choose a cabin with these. As with any shower, you may need to install a booster pump if your water pressure is low in order to supply the unit with water at a quick enough rate.
Shower cabins are a great way of adding a complete shower enclosure to your property and can offer an unmatched level of luxury.