Many homeowners think shower choices for remodeling a small bathroom are very limited and that they cannot have the features they want in a shower that will fit the available space. There is great news for these homeowners. You can actually have everything you want in a shower and still make it fit a small bathroom – maybe even with room to spare. With some careful planning, a little imagination, and some attention to decorating detail, your remodeled small bathroom can include a shower that incorporates everything you want.
Chances are that the small bathroom you are planning to remodel has a bathtub/shower combination at one end of the room. This bathroom is probably about five feet wide and the tub/shower combination is installed against three walls. Or, you might have an old free-standing tub at one end of the bathroom. If your home was built at just the right time, you might have a square tub/shower that fits into a corner of the bathroom. You might think your choices are restricted to a newer model of what you had.
These kinds of apparent limitations are frustrating to many homeowners who are seeing large luxurious, full-featured tubs and showers in model homes, remodeling books and magazines, and even in the home improvement stores. But these are not the only options available. What you see in the stores might be extremely popular. They also might be very expensive or very inexpensive. But they do not represent all of your shower choices for remodeling a small bathroom.
The lowest-cost most common shower installation in a small bathroom is a tub/shower combination. If you have used these, you know they can be hard to clean and both inconvenient and less safe to use. Some have the old-fashioned doors that leak and collect mold, not to mention making them even more inconvenient. Shower curtains and their drawbacks are another conversation entirely.
The first decision about a shower when remodeling a small bathroom is whether you want a custom designed and installed shower or a pre-fabricated shower. Here are the major things to consider in making this choice:
— Cost: custom design and custom installation usually translates to higher cost.
— Materials: if you want custom stone, metal or tile work in your shower, you need to look at custom design and installation. If you are considering fiberglass or acrylics, you might be able to save time, cost and work by considering a pre-fabricated model.
— One-day Installations: There are several companies that advertise heavily on television and will install a shower or tub liner in a day. Most of these companies use high-quality acrylics, which can be molded into any shape and size. They can also be finished in ways that mimic ceramic tile, stone, or other materials in a wide variety of colors.
— Water supply: As you add on special features in any shower, you need to think about the amount of water they require. You might want to consider either a larger water heater or an additional water heater dedicated to supplying your shower. A booster pump might also be necessary to move enough water to the shower fast enough.
— Eco-friendly considerations: Are you concerned about using a little water as possible? If so, you will want to look into a low-flow showerhead. If you want some of the special jets but you also want to conserve water, you might need to look into a low-flow body spray option. If you are very serious about using little water and power, you might want to install a separate solar-powered water heater that will draw rainwater from a dedicated rainwater collection device.
Some homeowners hear the word pre-fabricated shower and end the conversation. If you are one of these homeowners, you need to know that pre-fabricated showers have come a long way in recent years. Some of these pre-fabricated models are very inexpensive and very basic. This might be exactly what you want. But you also need to know that some pre-fabricated showers have all of the luxury features of custom showers. Many of these higher-end pre-fabricated showers can match many decorative styles and enhance the appearance of a small bathroom. If you want to consider these pre-fabricated models in either fiberglass or acrylic, you can base your design on a height of 73 inches, depth of 36 inches, and widths of 32, 36 or 48 inches. In fact, there are affordable prefabricated showers that include all of these features in a size that is perfect for a small bathroom.
You can enhance the appearance of the shower and make the small bathroom look larger by considering such options as plate glass shower doors, glass enclosures, glass block enclosures or colored glass surrounds. Luxury features available for your small bathroom shower include multiple showerheads, body sprays, multiple massaging jets, steam capabilities, chromotherapy options, in-shower TVs, DVD players, radios and CD players.
There are also a number of installation options ranging from a step-over lip about four inches high, to a one-inch or two-inch lip to hold water in, to a completely flat entry that simply dips slightly at the drain. There is also some variety in the types of seats, grab bars, etc. that can be included for accessibility or safety.
In short, shower choices for remodeling a small bathroom are surprisingly large. In most cases, a homeowner can find a high-quality pre-fabricated shower that offers all desired features at a lower cost than a custom designed and installed shower. But if you are planning a thing of particular beauty and luxury, the custom design might be perfect in your small bathroom.