Shower, bathtub, or both – we take a look at the complete range of possibilities for your bathroom.
Despite the multitude of characteristics that separate us in terms of personality, creed, or ideology, we all tend to live our lives in very similar ways – the experience of starting and ending each day being similar for most people, albeit with some finding it easier to endure than others. Most of us probably find ourselves in our bathrooms at the start and end of each day, but the subtle effects of our fixtures on the experience of opening or closing a big day often go unnoticed.
While having the most spartan of fixtures to satisfy the most basic of needs is adequate for civilized life, we believe that a full life is not lived without at least a decent shower or a bathtub. To help you sort through the multitude of options available, we analysed the landscape of bathtub and shower stall designs to bring you the following guide.
Drop in Bathtubs
Where bathtubs in alcoves make for a comforting sanctuary, the drop-in variety of tubs are intended to take advantage of breathtaking views and do not require the addition of walls, with slightly higher skirted rims to reduce splashing. Drop-in tubs require similar attention to architectural detailing as alcove tubs, on account of their commonly lacking finished sides and requiring a built- up section of the bathroom to fit into. Some variations of drop-in tubs are equipped with shower heads, requiring configurations where one side rests against a wall, while other designs without a shower head may be placed centrally – with the necessary pipe connections embedded in the floor.
Typically available in both drop-in and freestanding designs, corner tubs provide the option of a soak in a luxurious orientation with a space-saving design that fits into corners only slightly larger than the space required for wall-hugging varieties. The more opulent designs of the corner tub are made for two, with some varieties equipped with whirlpool nozzles for a spa experience or a surface to act as an impromptu shower bench. As corner tubs are typically low- profile and ideal for uninterrupted views, the option of a shower occurring within the same footprint is more of a rarity – requiring the installation of separate inlet piping to connect with a shower head.
The freestanding variety of bathtub is reminiscent of tubs before the age of indoor plumbing – paradoxically, it is also the most common design of bathtub being sold out of any modern bathroom fixture store. The freestanding tub is typically made with a curved rim; it is completely finished and sloping on all sides, making it ideal for central placement in a broad space without the addition of any architectural detailing. However, the lack of structural support provided by enclosing walls entails a greater degree of consideration in ensuring sturdy placement to preserve the integrity of pipe connections.
Getting a completely prefabricated shower stall is the simplest way of segregating wet areas from dry areas and providing the most compact showers in the smallest of bathrooms. Prefabricated shower enclosures consist of a floor tray connected to surrounding walls and a sliding or folding door – all typically composed of affordable plastics. The most space-efficient designs are made to fit into corners, with more extravagant versions fielding rounded corners and curved sliding doors.
While prefabricated enclosures are the preferred solution for bathrooms in high-rises, those with a creative streak and space to spare may be afforded with the option of customizing their own shower enclosures. The most common configuration of shower enclosures in landed properties consist of a tiled floor constructed in combination with a wide variety of opaque or transparent materials for walls and doors. A shower stall can be built up to fit a space of standard dimensions, but a space with unique proportions may require frames and panels for walls and doors specially made to measure.
The simplest shower – and likely the first to be encountered in any new property, consists of a shower head attached to an inlet pipe embedded in the bathroom wall. The consideration of segregating wet and dry areas in the bathroom is lacking, but a shower can be had without any frills or additional expenditure – however, the downside of keeping to the configuration that came with your property is a perpetually wet bathroom floor that requires daily housekeeping.
Although quick showers require far less water, nothing provides an intimate and indulgent experience quite like soaking in a tub. The most prevalent form of bathtub is equipped with a shower head to provide the option of showering in the same footprint, and designed with a skirted edge around the rim to fit over architectural finishes. Building up walls around the exposed sides of an alcove bathtub prevents splashes from wetting the rest of the bathroom and creates a cosy grotto that enables placement of the tub against a wall to occupy a space similarly required of built-up shower enclosures.
Article by Kevin Eichenberger