Buying Guide: How To Buy A Shower Enclosure

Are you tackling that long-waited reno or building your bathroom from scratch and not sure which shower enclosure you should buy?  You are not alone!  We know it can be quite overwhelming and with so many options available, it is hard to choose or even know where to start!  

We thought it would be good to start with the basics, so what is a shower enclosure?

A shower enclosure or a shower cubicle is usually made of acrylic, or glass and it features one or more panels that enclose your shower area, therefore protecting the rest of your bathroom from water splashes. Shower enclosures come in many shapes and sizes, they can feature a walk-in design or be supplied with a door, which can either slide, pivot, swing, or fold open. Shower enclosures can come with or without a tray.  

Important things to consider before buying a shower enclosure

1. Space

One of the very first things you will have to consider before choosing your shower enclosure is how much space you have available in your bathroom. This is a crucial step in your planning. Getting the right size and fit for your shower enclosure, will ensure you don’t have a big headache later on. We recommend you always double check your measurements, including the length, width, and the height of your shower. Choosing the right shower door type is another crucial step, and that is because you need to make sure you are able to open your doors fully. 

If you have a small bathroom, sliding or folding doors may be a better solution for you. If you are unsure, just give our expert team a call on 0508 639 5463 and we will discuss the best shower enclosures options for your bathroom layout. 

 

2. Location

Be thoughtful of where you will place your shower enclosure, as this will affect what type of shower enclosure and consequently the size of your shower tray. For e example, if you are going for an alcove or a shower recess, you may just need one shower glass door or a rollaway door. If you are renovating your bathroom and cost is a concern, then we recommend you maintain the same position as the former shower enclosure, this way you will avoid a lot less plumbing work, meaning less cost. 

1. What Types of Shower Enclosures are available?

There are several options of shower enclosures available that you can choose from depending on your taste, budget, and the space available in your bathroom. Acrylic Shower enclosures come in as 2-sided and 3-sided/alcove which can either be square or rectangular, as well as curved and neo shapes. If you are choosing a tile shower enclosure, you will have all the options available as the acrylic and more, as you are able to customise your tile shower to your size requirements.  So, let’s dig into the shower enclosures options available: 

2-Sided Shower Enclosures

A 2-sided shower enclosure displays a front and side of two side finished by walls. Therefore, this type of shower enclosure needs to be installed in a corner.  These shower enclosures come in a variety of sizes and its tray can be either squared or rectangular.  The shower waste location can be either centered or offset.

See some examples below:

3-Sided Shower Enclosures

A 3-sided shower displays a front and two sides finished by a wall.  As for the shower waste location, they will either be centered or offset as well. See some examples below:

Samara 3 Sided Corner Mould White
Curved Shower Enclosures

Curved Shower Enclosures are great space savers, and as per their shape they need to be installed in corners. As for the shower waste location, they will either be centered or offset as well. See some examples below:

Rhine Curved Side Mould White
Neo Shaped Shower Enclosures

Neo Shower Enclosures are also great for smaller bathrooms as they occupy a smaller footprint. As for the shower waste location, they will either be centered or offset as well. See some examples below:

Rhine Curved Side Mould White
Wet Rooms

A wet room shower tray is a sturdy waterproof base that allows you to tile over it once it is installed. They can be installed in most floorings, but their installation is more complex than a standard shower enclosure.

 

 

The main benefit of a wet room is its accessibility, because by for example, removing the bath you maximise the space and open a lot of room.  For people having mobilities issues, this type of shower set up is ideal. In addition to the practical side of things, wet rooms look quite sleek and contemporary and give a touch of luxury to your home.

 

 

 

On the other side, as the name suggest, Wet Rooms – can get, well ‘wet’! That means that it might be challenging to keep towels, toilette paper and other furnishings dry due to the water that might splash from your shower and the dampness. Because things can get quite wet, it increases the chance that your floors will get wet and therefore, slippery. 

 

Devon 2S Chrome Recessed Channel LH
Walk In Showers

Walk-In Showers and Wet Rooms are very similar.  The main difference between a wet room and a walk-in shower is that with a wet room the space is an open plan, meanwhile a walk-in shower displays one or two glasses screens. 

 

2. Choosing the best shower door

As mentioned, there are several options of shower doors available such as hinged, sliding, pivot and folding. You can also choose from acrylic to glass shower doors. See below some examples:

Different types of shower doors enclosures
Pivot Door Shower Enclosure
Sliding Door Shower Enclosure
Hinged Shower Enclosure Door
Curved Shower Enclosure Door
Walk In Shower Enclosure
Bi-Fold Shower Door Enclosure

A few key points when deciding on the shower door:

Pivot Shower Doors: Pros x Cons 
 
  • Easier cleaning, as pivot doors do not have a track at the bottom. 
  • Not usually suited for small bathrooms, since the door opens outward. 
  • Water may spill out onto the floor once you open the door. We recommend you have a bathroom rug to avoid slipping. 
Sliding, Curved & Bifold Shower Doors: Pros x Cons 
 
  • Suited for small bathrooms, as the doors don’t open outward. 
  • Water does not drip onto the floor once you open it. 
  • Timeless design, offer an appealing aesthetic to your bathroom.
  • Hard to clean due to the tracks & higher maintenance than other shower doors. 
Hinged Shower Doors: Pros x Cons 
 
  • Simple care, cleaning and maintenance. 
  • Easier to install then most shower doors, and often offer easier access with people with reduced mobility due to the potential of the door opening wider than other options like bi-folding shower enclosures. 
If you want a more in-depth comparison article, check out our co-written article with NZ Bathroom Ideas on the Pros and Cons of Sliding Doors x Hinged Shower Doors. 

3. Left or Right Hand Shower Enclosures?

You will have to decide if your shower enclosure will need to open to the left or to the right. Before you do that, take a look at the floor plan for your bathroom and ensure there is no obstructions to whichever direction you would like your door to open to. Remember, always double check the measurements before making the purchase. 

4. Choosing the right shower glass thickness

  • If you are going for something more affordable, then you should consider the 4mm or 6mm glass thickness options. 
  • 8mm glass thickness is the medium range, and 10mm glass thickness is the top of the range.  They are both durable, and long-lasting but on the other hand they require more support due to their weight. If you want to learn more about what glass thickness to pick you can read our article ‘Shower Glass Thickness Should I get a 6mm, 8mm, or 10mm?’
  •  Bear in mind, that the more curved the design the less glass thickness can be achieved. 

5. Shower Glass Coating Protection

  • We recommend you buy shower doors that come with glass coating treatments such as EnduroShield, as this will help prevent glass streaks, and the build up of grime and soap scum. 

Overall, if your budget allows, we recommend upgrading on the shower thickness and purchasing a shower enclosure that comes with a glass coating treatment for higher quality and the improved safety of your shower.  

6. Shower Enclosure Glass Safety

Ensure you get a safety glass shower enclosure. ‘Safety glass’ is designed to withstand much more force than non-safety glass, so it is harder to break therefore minimising any risks of injury to yourself. Safety glass is law in New Zealand with all shower glass needing to meet the AS/NZS2208:1996.

To ensure that your glass is a safety glass, each panel must be marked with:

  • The name, registered trademark, or code of the manufacturer or supplier. 
  • The type of safety glazing material (for example, T for toughened glass).
  • The standard to which the material has been tested, such as AS/NZS 2208.
  • The classification for Impact Test Behaviour (for example, A grade for A).  

7. Shower Trays

Some shower enclosures are sold separately,  while others come as a set, as this will guarantee that the tray fits perfectly. This should ensure a smooth installation process, since you will have only one set of directions from the shower manufacturer. 

There are usually two types of acrylic shower trays: 

Acrylic Low Profile Shower Trays

An acrylic low profile shower tray will typically be around between 35mm and 40mm in height and they are suitable if the pipework is set into the floor. This type of tray has a modern look, and it is a good fir for people with reduced mobility who find raised shower trays a bit more difficult to access/walk to. Acrylic Low Profile Shower Trays  can come in different shapes and sizes. See below some of the shapes available:

2-Sided Acrylic Low Profile Tray
3-Sided Acrylic Low Profile
Neo Low Profile Acrylic Tray
Curved Low Profile Acrylic Tray
Acrylic Raised or Step In Profile Shower Trays

As the name suggests, raised shower trays are “raised off” the floor and they are generally around 60mm to 90mm in height. Raised Trays are suitable for when your pipework is located above floor level (concrete floors). A raised shower tray helps to maintain the water in place, avoiding any leaks. 

Raised, Step or Standard (how we call these types of trays at Newline Showers) can come in different shapes and sizes: 

2-Sided Standard Acrylic Tray
3-Sided Standard Acrylic Tray
Neo Standard Acrylic Shower Tray
Curved Standard Acrylic Shower Tray

8. Tile Showers

As for tile shower enclosure, there are also matching sets or you can customise the tray to fit your shower enclosure layout. Below are some examples of tray for tile showers:

Standard Tile Trays

A  traditional tiled shower tray uses a waterproof membrane system that is bonded to a leak control flange creating a ‘tanked’ area. In layman’s terms, ‘tanking’ means waterproofing an area by completely sealing something, therefore, creating a tank-like barrier. Traditional waterproofing membranes are fine, provided that they are installed correctly. However, if not, all it takes is a tiny flaw to leak, which won’t be visible until substantial water damage occurs. 

ProFinish Tile Trays

Made from high density, environmentally safe, rigid polyurethane, it replaces the need for a traditional sand and cement sloped tile shower base. A Profinish Tile Tray can be customised to suit your individual requirements. Some of the benefits includes:

  • Easy installation and customisation to any size and can be manufactured to accommodate virtually any waste position.
  • Fit either a channel drain or a standard tile waste.
  • Suitable for either above floor or recessed showers. 
Below are some of the ProFinish options available:
ProFinish™ Hobbed Tray
ProFinish™ Recessed Tray
ProFinish™ Jigsaw
ProFinish™ Shelf
DryFit Tile Shower System

The DryFit systems is different than standard tile trays because it does not require a traditional waterproof membrane. Its single sheet acrylic liner is the waterproof membrane itself, much like an acrylic shower. Some of its features includes: 

A wet room shower tray is a sturdy waterproof base that allows you to tile over it once it is installed. They can be installed in most floorings, but their installation is more complex than a standard shower enclosure. The main benefit of a wet room is its accessibility, because by for example, removing the bath you maximise the space and open a lot of room.  For people having mobilities issues, this type of shower set up is ideal. In addition to the practical side of things, wet rooms look quite sleek and contemporary and give a touch of luxury to your home.

 

 

On the other side, as the name suggest, Wet Rooms – can get, well ‘wet’! That means that it might be challenging to keep towels, toilette paper and other furnishings dry due to the water that might splash from your shower and the dampness. Because things can get quite wet, it increases the chance that your floors will get wet and therefore, slippery. 

 

 

 

 

  • No traditional waterproofing required.
  • Solid Resin Tray with 40mm upstands on all 4 sides.
  • Can be installed with recessed or with a raised hob. 
  • Co-designed and endorsed by TANZ (Tile Association of New Zealand). 

If you are going for a tiled shower and are unsure as to what shower tray to choose, we recommend you have a read at our article ‘What are the types of tile over shower trays?’

9. Shower Wastes

The 2 main types of shower wastes/drains are known as point drains or channel/linear drains. Point drains are the most commonly seen in showers, and they can be located in the centre or offset to the shower floor but are usually installed along the wall and function by allowing water to drain into the channel. 

Channel Drains come in different finishing colours like chrome, black or they might be what we call an insert tile type, so that you can match your shower drain to the rest of the tiles you have in your bathroom. Therefore, making the shower drain look “invisible”. Channel Drains are used in tiled showers, while point drains can be used in both acrylic and tiled showers.  

Channel Drains
Chrome Channel Drain
Black Channel Drain
Tile Insert Channel Drain
Point Drains
Chrome Point Drain
Black Point Drain
Point Drain

We hope this article makes the process of buying a shower enclosure a breeze! If you need help to decide what shower enclosure is best for you, then

give the Newline team a call on 0508 639 5763 or email us at [email protected]

 

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