There are many reasons why you may be considering remodeling a shower in your home. Perhaps you’re wanting to change a tub/shower combo for a walk-in shower, or your existing shower setup simply isn’t working for you anymore! This can happen after a number of years of living in a home, and it’s perfectly normal to be considering smaller changes than a complete bathroom remodel.
Recently, someone asked about remodeling their shower in their primary bathroom and was looking for inspiration from other homeowners as to what sort of shower layout or arrangement that works for them. One of their biggest problems was that currently, they have a steam shower, and with less-than-ideal ventilation, it gets gross pretty quickly.
Naturally, I wanted to share some of the bathroom projects I’ve designed and offer advice on what to look out for when remodeling their shower with them. While writing up this advice, it sparked an idea for this article! So I’m going to share with you the best tips and tricks when considering a remodel to a shower.
Let’s explore some practical considerations and design ideas for remodeling a shower!
Ventilation is extremely important for bathrooms, and it needs to be thought out properly to ensure good ventilation is achieved. Very often I see homeowners adding a fan as an afterthought, which is why so many people have problems with their bathroom ventilation!
It’s also important to consider the age of your property. If you’re living in an older home, then standard building practices back then were very different from what they are now.
This is why when remodeling a bathroom or shower, it is important to bring your ventilation up to the current building standards and not settle for the bare minimum. If your bathroom isn’t ventilated properly, biological growth can occur quickly causing damp and less than ideal living conditions.
While the person I was chatting with currently has a steam shower and wants to get rid of it, I want to share some ways you can make a steam shower work for those that are interested in one.
The main aspect that needs to be addressed is the ventilation for a steam shower.
Firstly, it’s important to answer these questions: what is above your shower? And how high is the ceiling in that room?
If there’s an attic above the primary bathroom or shower area, then a higher CFM fan can be used that’s positioned in a central location (or closer towards the shower depending on the layout of the bathroom) with a direct vent through the attic to an exterior cap in your roof. This will direct the moisture outside of the home instead of it getting directed into the attic. To encourage this, a pivot panel at the top of the steam shower should be included to encourage the air movement so the steam doesn’t get trapped when the shower is done.
Don’t worry if there’s no attic space above the shower or bathroom, provided you have adequate ceiling height you can create a duct in the ceiling that will do a similar job.
Standard Showers – Walk-in or Door?
When it comes to designing standard showers where steam jets aren’t included – the world is your oyster!
The size of your shower is going to dictate the best practices for the glass, no glass, walk-in, door, etc. The larger your shower area, the more options you have available.
Many people complain of the shower being too cold if there’s no door. My glazer has told me he often has to return to jobs to install doors to help with the warmth issue later on because someone decided not having a door was chic, but later realized that it’s not practical. This is because many times people omit a door without understanding how they need to provide additional warmth to make it work.
When I design a doorless shower, I address the heating of the space as well to ensure that the shower area isn’t freezing for my clients. When we commit to the design being doorless, we also commit to other means to retain heat.
Zero-entry showers are nice, but you also have to make sure that your space supports them. The floor has to be pitched specifically for drainage, and many zero-entry showers pitch below the floor level. This can be problematic if your shower is on the second floor above another space. You can also “fake it” though by making a portion zero entry and building a curb on part of the shower so that a drain pitch can be accomplished. This is a no-fuss way to achieve zero entry for a remodel.
Glass overall is great. There are various treatments that you can apply so it repels water. This is not foolproof and will still need to be cleaned regularly. If you have hard water, then the glass will still show the buildup from the minerals. Glass is now also available in low iron which means there is less of a green tint to it which I always recommend to my clients! It’s definitely an upgrade, but I’ve never remodeled a bathroom for a client with “green” glass where they’ve told me they liked it.
Extra Luxuries to Consider
When you’re considering a shower remodel, some extra little luxuries are worth considering! Many of these should be considered and decided upon before any work starts so that plumbing can be added where necessary.
Handheld showers are really popular and are a great feature to have. They make cleaning much easier, especially for larger showers, and allow for more concentrated and directional spray.
Wall niches are another luxury that are great for hiding shampoo bottles too. If you don’t have a bench in your shower, then think about shaving. A lower shelf or smaller shaving niche could come in handy.