Buying a shower enclosure for your bathroom or ensuite isn't always as straightforward as it may seem. In this expert buying guide, we'll take you through your options so you can make the right choice for your unique space.
Before we begin, it might help to explain what a shower enclosure actually 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 60 second overview of shower enclosures:
There’s a wide choice of shower enclosures to choose from, including large walk in enclosures, wet rooms and additional enclosures such as quadrant shower enclosures. Take a look at our handy guide on everything you need to know about buying showers and find the perfect model for you and your bathroom.
6 things to consider:
1. The space in your bathroom
Decide whether or not you want a regular shower enclosure, walk in shower, a wet room or a shower bath.
Other points to consider are the actual type of room you are looking to create a shower enclosure for:
- Is it for an ensuite?
- Is it for a main bathroom or a 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.
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, the centre of the wall, 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 opt for a central position against a wall you may require a D shape shower 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 drainage, cold and hot pipes 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, we ensure products are at the highest quality, so you can be sure that whatever glass you choose for your shower enclosure will meet the highest possible 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.
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
- When installing a recess shower don’t forget that you may need to tile the inside walls of your shower area. So think about what tiles you actually want and how much to tile before you install the shower tray as you will need to tile down the tray only.
- When installing a wet room you’ll need to ensure all areas including the floor 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 because you can use a tray.
6. Left or right hand fitting?
To work out the best place to put your shower enclosure, sketch the layout of your space (there is a page in our FREE catalogue which you can use for this purpose) 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.
Wet rooms and walk in showers
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 which makes wet rooms a great option for those with mobility problems.
10mm glass panels create a clean sharp image within 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.
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 that will provide you with everything you need to create a cool and contemporary walk in shower. Victoria Plum offer a range of walk in shower packs that are contemporary in style, incorporating a polished chrome profile, modern chrome horizontal fixing bar and clear glass panels.
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. Once you’ve decided where your shower enclosure will go, tile the inside walls in preparation for your shower being fitted.
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 with sliding shower doors and protective shower door seals is ideal, especially for small bathrooms or an en suite.
Fitting snugly into the corner of your room, this 6mm sliding door quadrant shower enclosure from Orchard Bathrooms is a great space-saver
Frameless shower enclosures and doors
A sleek and compact frameless shower enclosure is ideal for contemporary bathrooms. Our range of frameless shower doors and enclosures are minimally styled to maintain a light, open and airy feel. The Frameless enclosure creates a distinct feature whilst offering the best you could want in terms of shower enclosure manufacturing.
Hinged shower enclosures and doors
A sleek and compact hinged shower enclosure is ideal for contemporary bathrooms, especially as a chrome bar handle is used to complete the ultra-modern shower enclosures designer look. Our range of hinged shower doors is minimally styled to maintain a light, open and airy feel. Like the Frameless option, the hinged shower door enclosure also creates a distinct feature whilst offering the best you could want in terms of shower enclosure manufacturing.
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. The frameless sliding shower door with clear glass is ideal for those looking for a light and open feel to the bathroom.
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. The Bifold shower door 760, for example, is a great space-saving shower range. As the door folds within the shower area, it reduces the clearance space that is required at the opening of the shower enclosure.
Space-saving shower enclosures
A D shaped shower enclosure design is a compact option that can work well in tight spaces as the D shaped tray and glass doors allow for more room around the shower. The D shape shower enclosure from VictoriaPlum.com is a delightful design, with the smooth curved polished chrome profile that complements the clear sheen of the glass perfectly.
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.
The glass-backed quadrant shower cabin comes with sliding shower doors, body jets and an integrated shower system
To make selecting a shower enclosure even easier for you, we have arranged all our designs by glass thickness—you can buy 4mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm thick shower enclosures and glass panels online with VictoriaPlum.com. So whenever you select a product you will immediately know the type of glass it contains, from the measurement in its name. Choose from the following:
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.
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, 30mm adjustability for out of true walls and chrome plated fittings, these enclosures will add a stylish, long-lasting design statement to any bathroom or en suite.
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.
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.
Something to bear in mind is extras such as body jets. Body jets add a little bit of luxury to your new shower enclosure. At VictoriaPlum.com you can choose from a round or square design. All body jets come complete with easy clean rubber inserts.
Square or round shower outlets
Another area to think about is a shower outlet. A square or round shower outlet can be used with any slider rail kits available from VictoriaPlum.com, so you can benefit from having both an overhead rain shower as well as a handheld shower for rinsing purposes.
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Now you're in the know, why not find your perfect shower enclosure?