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Shower enclosure buying guide
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Shower enclosure buying guide

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 10 months ago 14 min read

Buying a shower enclosure can be a bewildering experience. To help you make all the right choices, we’ve used all our expertise to create this handy buying guide.

Before we begin, it might help to explain what a shower enclosure is. Sometimes referred to as a shower cubicle, a shower enclosure usually comes with one or more glass panels which enclose your shower area, protecting the rest of your room from splashes. Sometimes supplied with a door, which can either slide, pivot, swing or fold open, or featuring a walk in design without a door, shower enclosures come in all shapes and sizes, with or without a shower tray.

Why not take a look at our quick overview of shower enclosures:

Click on any of the links below to jump to a relevant section:

6 things to consider:

1. The space in your bathroom

It may seem obvious, yet the very first thing you’ll need to consider is whether you can actually fit a shower enclosure into your bathroom. If you’re making a like-for-like change with an older enclosure or swapping a bath for a shower, this should be relatively straightforward. However, if you’re fitting an enclosure into a space for the very first time, you will need to carefully consider the dimensions and layout of your room.

Other points to consider are the actual type of room you are looking to create a shower enclosure for:

  • Is it for your main bathroom?
  • Is it for your ensuite or separate shower room?

If so, then it may influence the type of shower enclosure that is right for your exact needs. With planning. it’s possible to fit a shower into a tight area and make life a little easier in your household. Consider exactly how much room and height are available. For example, if you want to squeeze a shower into a tight spot like a recess, opt for a pivot or a folding shower door.

Handy tip: Find out how to measure for your shower tray.

2. The wall and positioning

It is important that you think about where to place the enclosure. Will it be in the corner or in a separate enclosed area? This will impact on the type of shower tray and the type of enclosure door you require. For example, if you are fitting in a recess, you may only need a shower door, rather than a full enclosure.

Also, if you are replacing an old shower enclosure, if possible, place your new shower in the same position as your old one as this will require a lot less plumbing work, as your water pipes and drainage will already be in the right place.

3. Types of glass

The types of door that can be used for different shower enclosures vary, but whichever glass type you choose you can expect the same high quality when you buy from Victoria Plum.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • 8mm or 10mm tempered glass is highly durable, long-lasting, safe and also easy to clean making either a perfect choice
  • Toughened safety glass is always a good choice for a wet room or shower enclosure
  • It’s worth remembering that thicker glass will need more support due to the extra weight
  • Depending on the shape, the larger the glass or the more curved it is, the less thickness can be achieved due to design
  • If cost is a concern, or you do not like the look of thicker glass, then 4mm or 6mm glass are great alternatives
  • Look out for glass with an easy clean coating which helps reduce the build-up of soap, grime and limescale
  • Edge protection—glass which does not have a protective framing can be more easily chipped and broken, especially in busy family bathrooms. A shower enclosure with strong aluminium framing will support the glass and keep it well protected

At Victoria Plum, you can be assured that the glass you choose for your shower enclosure will meet all relevant British and European safety standards.

4. Tray or no tray?

At Victoria Plum, you'll find a range of shower enclosures that come with or without trays. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, buying with a tray is a better option, as the tray will be designed specifically to fit that precise enclosure, which reduces the chances of leakage.

Buying an enclosure and tray together means you don't have to think about tray size, however you will need to carefully consider the sizes of the tray and shower door when planning a recess shower.

Walk in shower enclosures

Some enclosures come complete with matching tray, guaranteeing a good fit

5. Protecting your walls

The interior walls of your shower enclosure will need added protection from water, and this can be achieved using shower wall panels or tiles.

Shower wall panels are fast becoming a popular alternative to tiles, due to the following benefits:

  • They are quicker and easier to install, with no tricky grouting or shaping required. Simply cut your panel(s) to size and fit
  • They are more cost-effective, commonly costing less per sq. metre than tiles
  • They are easier to maintain, with no grout lines where mould can develop
  • They offer a seamless finish, with joins virtually invisible
  • They come in a massive range of colours and patterns, including stone and wood-effect designs, to perfectly suit your decor

Wall tiles are also a popular choice, due to their stylish appearance and hardwearing nature. When tiling the walls in your shower area, here are some points to consider:

  • When installing a recess shower, think carefully about your choice of tiles and how much to tile before you install the shower tray, as you will only need to tile down to the tray
  • When installing a wet room, you’ll need to ensure all areas, including floors and walls, are tiled and sealed correctly. Although, you can opt for a walk in shower which reduces the amount of tiling for the floor area

6. Left or right hand fitting?

To work out the best place to put your shower enclosure, sketch the layout of your space (or, better still, make use of our Bathroom Design Service) and think about whether your enclosure needs to open to the left or right. A good tip is to mark out where any windows, doors or other obstructions are too. That way you’ll be able to see where to place your shower tray and calculate exactly how much space you have.

Types of shower enclosure

There are various types of shower enclosure that you can choose from depending on your tastes and the size of the space that you have. When considering shower enclosures, it’s also important to take the type of glass you want to choose into account. You can opt for various glass types including toughened glass, safety glass and glass that has been coated in easy clean solution. At Victoria Plum, we don’t sell flimsy or unsafe products, so you’ll only find glass designed to be durable and long-lasting.

Quadrant shower enclosures

There are various types of shower enclosure available that will suit different areas. In tight spaces, notably corners, a quadrant shower enclosure, which features a curved shape, is ideal, especially for small bathrooms or an ensuite.

Orchard 6mm sliding quadrant shower enclosure

Fitting snugly into the corner of your room, this 6mm sliding door quadrant shower enclosure from Orchard Bathrooms is a great space-saver

The offset quadrant shower enclosure is a variation on this model. With a longer curve, this type of shower offers additional room in which to shower, which is great for larger bathrooms.

Mode Harrison 8mm left handed offset quadrant shower enclosure

For those with more room to spare, the Harrison offset quadrant enclosure from Mode Bathrooms, is a great option

Another variation is the pentagonal shower enclosure, which, as the name suggests, has 5 sides to it. The door entry is straight, rather than curved.

Rectangle or square shower enclosures

Another very popular choice, rectangle shower enclosures may not offer the space-saving capabilities of a quadrant design but do offer a roomy experience when showering. Square shower enclosures, whilst fairly compact, are great for smaller bathrooms and ensuites.

Mode Adler 8mm framed sliding shower enclosure

Rectangular enclosures, like the Adler framed sliding door design from Mode Bathrooms, are ideal where saving space isn't a primary concern

Shower cabins

If you’re looking for the ultimate showering experience then a shower cabin is ideal. Moulded from high quality acrylic as a single piece, you’ll find a slider rail shower kit, adjustable body jets and, in some cases, even an internal towel rail, mirror and seat—perfect for creating a luxury spa bathroom right in your own home. You'll even discover a wide range of luxury steam cabins, with aromatherapy options and chromotherapy lighting, not to mention integrated Bluetooth connectivity and a whole host of incredible features.

Mode quadrant black glass backed hydro massage shower cabin 900 x 900

The black glass-backed quadrant shower cabin from Mode Bathrooms comes with sliding shower doors, body jets and an integrated shower system

Walk in shower enclosures

Head straight to our walk in shower enclosure section to find out more.

Types of shower door

The type of door opening you choose will depend on:

  • The space you have available
  • The type of shower enclosure you want

Let’s take a closer look at the most common shower door types.

Hinged shower enclosures and doors

Hinged shower doors are simple to use and look great in contemporary bathrooms. Our hinged shower doors and enclosures are minimally styled, to maintain a light, open and airy feel. However, you will need to ensure the door isn’t obstructed by other fixtures in your bathroom.

Sliding shower enclosures and doors

Sliding door shower enclosures are ideal for saving space in any bathroom and are easy to manoeuvre, so getting in and out of the shower is effortless. A frameless sliding shower door with clear glass is ideal for those looking for a light and open feel to the bathroom.

High quality sliding shower doors

Browse our range of high quality sliding shower doors

Pivot shower enclosures and doors

Pivot shower doors are probably the most common type of shower door available. They are either right or left pivoted and the type of hinge used depends on the shape and configuration of the bathroom. Most pivot doors open outwards away from the shower so it’s always important to consider where the rest of your bathroom suite will be before deciding on a configuration. The pivot shower door and pivot door shower enclosure also come with beautiful chrome profiles and universal-handed doors, making them excellent choices.

Bifold shower enclosures and doors

Bi-fold shower door enclosures are good space-saving options, as the doors concertina—so there’s less space needed for them to open out.

Wet rooms and walk in shower enclosures

Wet rooms and walk in showers are both popular choices for modern bathrooms and both have their benefits. A walk in shower still uses a tray, like a conventional shower, but offers more space to the user. Walk in showers are a great alternative in spaces where a wet room isn't recommended.

A wet room is an entirely waterproofed room, generally equipped with a shower and usually clad entirely in tile. A wet room needs to be tanked or fully waterproofed before it can be used but once it has been sealed it can help eliminate moisture problems from your home. As there’s no need for a shower tray there’s no step to get into or out of the shower, making a wet room a great option for those with restricted mobility.

Find out exactly what a wet room is and how a wet room is installed.

10mm glass panels create a clean, sharp look in any size room. Wet room designs include placing one or two panels on different planes to create a brilliant-looking open enclosure. A "return panel" (also known as an "end panel") is usually not included with the main wet room panels, but can be purchased separately, available at a standard 250mm width. This offers added protection from splashes.

Mode 8mm black framed wet room glass panel

Black framed shower screens are proving very popular at the moment

Walk in showers are an effective way to maximise the space you have. You can even purchase an entire walk in shower pack from us, providing you with everything you need to create a cool, contemporary walk in shower.

Glass thickness

When selecting any shower enclosure, panel or door at Victoria Plum, you’ll find the glass thickness is included in the product name, so you immediately know the type of glass it contains. If you’re unsure which glass thickness you should choose, we’ve provided a few pointers below.

Clarity 4mm shower enclosures

Our Clarity 4mm shower enclosures offer fantastic value for money by combining high quality aluminium frames and 4mm safety glass. A generous adjustability range allows for easy installation and will give you a good-looking, sturdy enclosure that you can buy with confidence.

Quality 6mm shower enclosures

Thanks to a large selection of shower enclosures and sizes, our 6mm range is designed to cater to your space. With a minimum of 6mm glass, thick polished profiles, generous adjustability for out of true walls and chrome plated fittings, these enclosures will add a stylish, long-lasting design statement to any bathroom or ensuite.

Luxury 8mm shower enclosures

Our luxury 8mm shower enclosures have been engineered using premium components, delivering a high level of style and affordable luxury. Each enclosure comes with 8mm glazing, strong cushioned magnetic seals and solid brass, chrome plated handles and fittings. The aluminium profiles are the thickest in our range and have a highly polished finish. This ensures any 8mm shower enclosure will maintain its superb look even with regular family use.

As part of our 8mm category, you'll also find a range of elegant, frameless walk in shower enclosures. Manufactured with minimalist design in mind, this range offers all the premium benefits of our 8mm enclosures, whilst providing an open-space feel to your bathroom—the latest in contemporary living.

Premium 10mm wet room panels & shower enclosures

The premium 10mm series, our flagship range of shower enclosures and glass panels from Mode Bathrooms, is the pinnacle of sleek, frameless design and allow for a great range of space configurations through a wide selection of sizes. The solid brass support arms and floor locators are chrome plated to the highest standards, and the 10mm glass offers a luxuriously substantial wet room, walk in or shower enclosure installation.

Styles of shower enclosure

Framed or frameless?

The most common type of shower enclosure comes with a frame, usually made from aluminium, which holds the glass panels and doors in place. However, for a more designer look, why not choose a frameless shower enclosure? With just a wall profile and sometimes a wall support, this type of enclosure will help make your bathroom feel more spacious.

Contemporary or traditional

Whilst the history of showers stretches back into the mists of time, shower enclosures only really gained popularity relatively recently. That’s why most enclosures are modern, or contemporary, in style. However, if you do want design which fits with a traditional style bathroom or ensuite, we offer a superb selection of traditional shower enclosures, with vintage details, like finials and handles.

The Bath Co. Camberley 8mm traditional framed quadrant enclosure

Complement a traditional style bathroom with this Camberley traditional quadrant enclosure from The Bath Co.

Additional extras

There are other extras that you may want to consider for your shower enclosure, some of which are covered in more detail in our shower buying guide.

Body jets

Shower body jets add a little bit of luxury to your new shower enclosure. At Victoria Plum, you can choose from a round or square design. All body jets come complete with easy clean rubber inserts.

Grab rails

If you’re in need of extra stability when showering, or simply need a bit of assistance when getting in and out of your enclosure, a grab rail could be a good idea.

Shower seats

If you find showering in a seated position a little easier than standing, why not browse our range of shower seats? You’ll discover a variety of designs, including flip-up models which are ideal for shared bathrooms.

Shop shower enclosures

Now you're in the know, why not find your perfect shower enclosure?

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More shower enclosure ideas

If you’re in need of some added inspiration, why not head check out our latest shower ideas or browse the other inspirational bathrooms on our blog to see how a beautiful shower enclosure can fit seamlessly in your space.

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 10 months ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

Sales Line 0344 264 4141 Track order Design Service Trade account

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