Invigorating and efficient, showers are one of the most convenient options when it comes to getting ready in a hurry, and that makes them a highly desirable bathroom feature. However, with so many different shower types and styles to choose from, it can be tricky knowing where to start. At The London Bath Co., our experienced professionals will work closely with you to understand your requirements and ensure we find the shower that’s right for you. Alternatively, you can find all the information you need to choose your perfect shower below in our comprehensive guide.
How To Pick A Shower To Suit Your Bathroom Layout
When planning your bathroom layout, trying to squeeze too many features into a small space can leave your interior looking and feeling cramped. An over-bath shower can be a great space-saving solution, alternatively, you might consider getting rid of your tub altogether in favour of a spacious and luxurious walk-in shower or wet room. You can find more advice on whether to replace your bath with a shower by clicking here. There are plenty of showers available in a variety of styles and dimensions to suit a range of bathroom layouts, below are some of the most popular options.
Shower cubicles are one of the simplest options when it comes to installation. They commonly include a watertight shower tray and doors and can even come with wall panels, so you needn’t invest in costly tiling. Though they are available in a range of shapes and sizes, they are generally a standard height of 185cm, so you will need to check your ceilings are high enough to accommodate your chosen design. While they make a cost-effective and convenient solution, the shower tray is usually raised off the floor which can be a problem for people with mobility issues and will also result in a less sleek and streamlined interior design.
Over Bath Showers
The simple over bath shower is a fantastic option if you’re looking to maximise space in your bathroom. Pairing a stylish bathtub with an elegant shower kit or built-in design can create a luxurious effect. You will likely want to include either a curtain or screen alongside your shower to prevent water from damaging your floor.
A walk-in shower undeniably adds a sleek and luxurious feel to any bathroom. Since the size and shape are determined purely by how you arrange the shower panels, you can have complete flexibility to customise your shower as you wish. You can even create a stylish wet room by doing away with the enclosure altogether. For a completely seamless and sophisticated effect, consider choosing a shower tray that’s designed to be tiled over, or alternatively, opt for an elegant flush-fitting design.
If you need some inspiration for your project, you can view some of our beautiful shower designs by clicking here.
Choosing A Shower To Suit Your Water System
Your water system will have a significant bearing on the type of shower you are able to use, and it’s important to make the right decision if you don’t want to be left showering under a lukewarm trickle of water. Furthermore, there are other practical aspects that may impact which shower type best suits your needs. You can find everything you need to know about the three main shower types below…
Electric showers operate by heating cold water over an element much like an electric kettle. They don’t rely on your water system for heat, making them a good option for busy families where hot water is often in high demand. They are also ideal for use in areas of your home that may be difficult to reach with your existing plumbing or in outbuildings supplied with cold water from the mains. Since they only heat the water as it’s being used, they make a great energy-efficient choice. Electric showers are also often cheaper and quicker to install, making them a good cost-effective option.
Unfortunately, electric showers with a low 7.5kW (kilowatt) rating tend to perform poorly when it comes to pressure. High 10.5kW showers require at least 1.5 bars of mains pressure, which is above the average in the UK. A more powerful electric shower will also require more substantial wiring. Regardless of the type of electric shower you choose, you will need a qualified electrician to check your electrics are up to standard in order to have an electric shower installed.
Another point to consider is the look of each shower type. Electric showers require a box containing the heating element to be fixed to the wall. You might find this detracts from the overall look of your design.
Mixer showers must be plumbed into your existing hot water system. They mix the hot and cold water together in a cartridge within the body of the valve. Mixer showers tend to deliver better pressure than electric showers, however, they require at least 1 bar of mains water pressure. This is not usually a problem if you have a combi boiler or unvented mains system, but you might find that a gravity system struggles.
Mixer showers are available in a variety of stylish designs ranging from sleek built-in valves to mixer bar and rail systems. Their clean looks and effective pressure make them a popular choice. The only downside to choosing a mixer shower is that the pressure and temperature can fluctuate when water is used elsewhere in the house. Most good quality mixer showers come with thermostatic control to prevent potentially dangerous temperature fluctuations.
Power showers offer the ability to boost your shower pressure. Like a mixer shower, they rely on hot water from your existing supply and are designed to complement low-pressure gravity systems. They should not be used with high-pressure vented or unvented water systems.
While power showers are great for delivering a luxurious high-pressure showering experience, they are more expensive upfront and require more water and energy to run – not ideal if you have a water meter! The pump is usually built into a wall-mounted box, similar to that of an electric shower. You may find the look less visually appealing than a sleek in-built design.
Digital showers work in the same way as a mixer shower but use digital rather than manual controls. You can select a precise temperature and flow rate either by using an LCD screen, remote control or via an app on your phone. Most digital showers allow you to save a number of presets so that all the family can quickly select their perfect settings. Digital showers are one of the most expensive options and, with the added technology, they can be more challenging to fix if they go wrong. That being said, digital showers do make a truly luxurious and superbly convenient choice.
Choosing Shower Features & Styles
Once you’ve figured out which type of shower is right for you, there is a range of other practical and stylistic features to consider.
Shower Tap Systems
If you’ve decided to go for a traditional mixer shower, you will have a variety of tap designs to choose from. Choosing your shower controls largely comes down to personal taste, both in terms of functionality and style.
As well as selecting a tap design, you will also want to consider whether to opt for a concealed shower valve (the tube where the hot and cold water is mixed). It’s worth giving some thought to the logistics of this as if you’re mounting your shower on a solid brick wall, the space for the valve will either need to be chased out or a stud wall may need to be installed. These two options, of course, come at a cost. However, hiding any unsightly plumbing and creating a sleek and sophisticated finish, concealed showers can beautifully complete the look of a minimal modern bathroom.
Available with a concealed valve or external mixer bar, a single lever design is easy to use. Simply raise the lever to control the flow and turn to adjust the temperature.
Also available in both concealed and exposed designs, a sequential mixer is simply turned clockwise to gradually increase the temperature to the desired setting. The flow cannot be adjusted.
Bar mixers are only available in exposed designs. The mixer valve is combined with two dials at either end that control the flow and temperature.
Concentric dials are always combined with a concealed valve. They comprise of inner and outer wheels that can be turned to control the temperature and flow.
Another built-in option; dual controls feature two separate dials, one to adjust the flow and one to adjust the temperature.
Shower Heads & Mounting Styles
One of the biggest features affecting the look and functionality of your shower is the type of head and how it’s fixed to the wall. Shower heads can either be in-built, with the pipework concealed behind the wall or mounted on a vertical rail which allows you to adjust the height and angle of your shower. While flexible mounts can provide added functionality, a wall-mounted fixed shower head will create a sleek and stylish clutter-free look. They also offer you the potential to opt for a luxurious waterfall shower head design.
You can achieve the best of both worlds by adding a diverter (second shower head) to your design. This can be installed on a rail for optimum manoeuvrability, or alternatively, a hand-held version can be mounted to the wall.
There are hundreds of beautiful modern and traditional shower head designs to choose from, many of which offer a range of different spray settings and even water-saving capabilities. For more information on choosing the right shower head, you can read our dedicated blog by clicking here.
There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a shower, and we appreciate that to the uninitiated, the variety of options can initially seem overwhelming. We hope our comprehensive guide has helped to demystify the shower buying experience. If you’d like any further advice or guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team. You can call us on 020 7127 5235 or email us at [email protected].