Shower rooms and wet rooms are important. Why? Well because of the time we all spend in them. According to research by laterooms.com, reported in the Daily Mirror, on average we shower on 227 days a year, bath on 4 and take 111 days without washing! Now, while these figures are a bit shocking, they do indicate the overwhelming preference for showering over bathing.
“The vast majority of women (71%) apparently take showers of 10 minutes or less and a quarter of women (26%) manage to take showers of five minutes or less. This is only slightly below the number of men who do so (75% and 30% respectively). There are also intriguing differences on age, with time spent in the shower decreasing with increasing age. The 55s and over (mean shower time: 8 mins, 41 seconds) are five minutes faster than people aged 18 to 24 (mean shower time: 13 mins 26 seconds) with well over a third (39%) of people aged 55 or over even managing to shower in five minutes or less”. (source Guardian and Shower Power campaign 2014)
If we spend around 8 minutes in the shower for 222 days a year and live to about 80 years that’s about 100 days in a lifetime or over three months. That’s why you need to take showers seriously and, like beds, invest in a good one.
In the old days, if you wanted a shower then you had one on your bath taps or went out and bought a shower cubicle; tray and sides. No one thought much beyond that. Things had often not progressed from attaching a rubber hose to the bath tap but many had a gleaming glass (or plastic) box with its own shower head fed directly off the mains.
Showers over the bath aren’t a bad thing. Despite being viewed as a poor alternative to stand-alone showers, over-the-bath showers are the only option for some bathrooms, especially those too small to take a separate enclosure. For these showers damp, unsightly curtains are giving way to modern glass and chrome dividers. The baths themselves are also adapting to containing showers by having flatter, non-slip, bottoms to make it easier and safer to shower.
The range of showers available today is wider than ever, but the fittings are such that people want to mix and match their particular preferences and many people come to professionals like us to get their bathroom designed around their tastes.
What is also important as the design is the practical performance of the shower and by that we mean water pressure. It’s all very well to have a beautiful shower room but if the water comes trickling forth then you won’t enjoy the bracing joy of a jolly good shower.
1. A quick solution to purchase a special low pressure shower head. It will work better than a standard shower head as it is designed to perform better in low water pressure situations
2. Install a pressurised cylinder – replace your cold water storage tank which feeds the hot water cylinder with a pressurised cylinder that takes its feed directly from the mains. Expensive but should last a lifetime
3. Fit a cold water accumulator – with an electric shower or ordinary shower this can generate a good pressure with no noise
4. Fit a booster pump or power shower – again, a good solution but can be noisy and is subject to certain rules regarding fitting. Best to use a professional plumber for this, 2 and 3.
This is the one used by most people. It is mounted on the wall and is adjustable as to which angle you prefer. Because it has to project water sideways it has to work that bit harder but popular none the less in a multitude of styles and adjustable. Some even come off the wall so you can spray those hard-to-reach areas. Most shower heads are adjustable as to spray width and strength.
This is also fixed to the wall, but extends further out and over your head. This gives an opportunity for a larger rain style of head; simulating warm, tropical rainfall. The water simply has to fall. These shower heads are becoming very popular and usually have few adjustments as they are pretty thorough.
The same as a wall-mounted overhead shower head but fixed to the ceiling. This is almost all about style – they can be suitable for wet rooms but it’s a matter of teste.
These are usually strong jets aimed at the body to add an invigorating massage effect to your regular shower. Although more complex to plumb in, and therefore more expensive, these appeal to those that worry about their cellulite and generally want to get even more from their shower.
More and more people are electing to have wet rooms as traditional shower rooms are seen as unnecessary. Modern materials mean that waterproofing a room is much easier to do so new houses and refurbishments frequently feature them instead of a bathroom with a shower cubicle.
Because that’s what a wet room is: – a modified shower room where, instead of a shower standing over a shower tray to drain the water, water is allowed to fall onto the floor of the room.
The water can do this because the room has a tiled floor that has been waterproofed (where tiles are laid onto a waterproof membrane). The whole room can be waterproofed in this way so there’s no need to have as many screens or any floor trays. The room’s floor has a gradient so that water drains into a drain and is taken away.
Of course, good as this modern open-plan feel is, you will not have the benefit of isolating the shower area, with its steam and condensation, from other parts of the wet room so do bear this in mind. Towels, flannels, loo roll, lampshades and mats will become damp.
A wet room does have to be tiled from floor to ceiling so, a lot of tiles. It may well be necessary to employ a professional tiler with the added expense that will bring. In addition if the only bathroom in the house is a wet room, it may reduce your chances of selling at the right price.
And they’re not slippery, although a wet, tiled floor may seem daunting and dangerous, with non-slip tiles correctly fitted, a wet room can provide a completely safe shower area. Without having to step in and out of a bath or shower, the risk of tripping is also decreased.
Steam Showers – A steam shower looks like a normal shower, although it may be larger. It’s designed to handle steam (heated water vapour) from a humidifying steam generator. They can be larger as a steam shower can be a social event for more than one person. They are usually instead of rather than as well as a conventional shower and therefore have many additional features including a regular shower.
Sun showers – As the name suggests these are booths where you can get a sun tan while having a shower. They use carefully measured amounts of UV light to tan your skin and argue that you get a nicer complexion by regularly taking a well-balanced sunbath. Manufacturers argue that it’s healthier and less stressful to one’s skin to tan in this way.
Home Spas, hot tubs and more – we begin to digress here but as technology advances and our requirements become more exotic then designers are creating new ways to enjoy water and the bathing process.