The Ultimate Shower Frame Guide: Aluminium, Stainless Steel, and Chrome Plated Brass Compared

Aluminium, Stainless Steel, and Chrome Plated Brass: How do these materials compare in Aesthetic Appeal, Durability, Ease of Maintenance and Price?

Shower enclosures are an essential part of bathrooms, providing a stylish and functional solution for containing water and enhancing the overall aesthetic of the space.  When choosing the perfect shower enclosure for your bathroom, one crucial consideration is the frame material. The frame not only affects the enclosure’s durability and performance but also plays a significant role in the overall design and visual appeal.

In this blog, we’ll explore the most common types of frame materials for shower enclosures in New Zealand to help you make an informed decision when purchasing your next shower enclosure.

Aluminium Shower Frames

Aluminium has a silvery-white appearance. It is a material that has low density, is non-toxic, non-magnetic, and non-sparking. The second most malleable metal, aluminium is one of the most popular materials used for shower enclosure frames due to its excellent combination of strength, affordability, and corrosion resistance. Its lightweight nature makes it easy to install, and it can withstand the humid environment of a bathroom without rusting. 

Aluminium frames often come with a variety of finishes, including brushed, polished, and powder-coated options, allowing you to match the frame to your bathroom décor and personal style.

Maintaining Your Aluminium Framed Shower

Aluminium framed showers require minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning with mild soap and warm water is usually sufficient to keep them looking clean and fresh. Avoid using solvents, harsh chemicals, or caustic chemicals. Do not use abrasive pads. Unlike some other materials, aluminium doesn’t easily show fingerprints or smudges, making it easier to maintain a polished appearance.

Stainless Steel Shower Frames

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron that is resistant to rusting and corrosion. It is characterized by its minimum chromium content of 10.5% and can also contain additional elements such as carbon, nickel, nitrogen, aluminium, silicon, copper, and manganese. Stainless steel offers a more premium look compared to aluminium and can complement various bathroom styles, from contemporary to industrial.

Stainless steel frames are often chosen for their sleek appearance and ability to resist fingerprints and smudges, keeping the enclosure looking clean. The premium qualities of stainless steel come with a higher price tag compared to some other frame materials like aluminium or chrome plated brass. While stainless steel is durable, it is not entirely scratch proof. Sharp objects or abrasive cleaning materials could cause minor scratches on the frame if not handled with care.

Stainless Steel 304

Stainless Steel 304 contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, making it highly corrosion-resistant and suitable for various environments, including mildly corrosive and atmospheric conditions. While it provides good corrosion resistance, it may not be as suitable for highly corrosive environments or exposure to chloride solutions, such as near the sea.

Stainless Steel 316

Stainless Steel 316 contains 16-18% chromium, 10-14% nickel, and 2-3% molybdenum, which enhances its resistance to crevice corrosion, especially in chloride-rich environments like coastal areas. While both types are good for corrosion resistance, strength, and heat resistance, 316 Stainless Steel provides superior performance in harsher environments with higher chloride content.

Maintaining Your Stainless Steel Framed Shower

Stainless steel is non-porous, meaning it doesn’t have microscopic pores where bacteria or mould can grow. This feature enhances the shower’s overall cleanliness and makes it easier to maintain a hygienic environment. To clean your stainless steel frame simply use warm soapy water or mild detergent, then rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Chrome Plated Brass Frames

Chrome plating is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a raw metal substrate.  Chrome-plated frames strike a balance between luxury and durability. These frames provide a lustrous, mirror-like finish that adds a touch of sophistication to any bathroom. The brass core ensures sturdiness, while the chrome plating enhances resistance to tarnishing and scratching. Chrome plated shower enclosures are denser and heavier than materials like aluminium. 

Maintaining Your Chrome Plated Brass Framed Shower

While chrome plating enhances the raw metal’s corrosion resistance, it is not entirely scratch-proof or immune to tarnishing over time. Care should be taken to avoid using abrasive cleaning materials that could damage the chrome finish.  The chrome plating on the brass frame provides an additional layer of protection against corrosion. This makes it suitable for bathrooms with high humidity levels, where some other metals might be more susceptible to rust.

A Comparative Analysis of Shower Enclosure Materials: Aluminium, Stainless Steel, and Chrome Plated Brass

When choosing the perfect shower enclosure for your bathroom, several factors come into play, including aesthetic appeal, durability, ease of maintenance, and price. Let’s delve into a comparative analysis of three popular shower enclosure materials: Aluminium, Stainless Steel, and Chrome Plated, to help you make an informed decision.

Aesthetic Appeal


Aluminium shower enclosures offer a sleek and modern appearance. They are available in various finishes, allowing homeowners to select from brushed, polished, or matte options. The clean lines and contemporary look of aluminium enclosures make them an excellent choice for minimalist and contemporary bathroom designs.

Stainless Steel

Like aluminium, stainless steel shower enclosures also exude a modern and sophisticated charm. Their lustrous finish complements a wide range of bathroom styles, from industrial to modern and even traditional. Stainless steel’s silver hue adds an elegant touch to the bathroom space.

Chrome Plated Brass

Chrome plated shower enclosures are known for their high shine and reflective surface, which creates a polished and luxurious ambiance. They are particularly popular for those seeking a classic and timeless bathroom look that blends well with various décor styles.



Aluminium is a robust and lightweight material that resists corrosion, making it ideal for shower enclosures. Its durability ensures that it will not rust or degrade over time, even in a humid bathroom environment. Aluminium enclosures are capable of withstanding daily wear and tear.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is renowned for its exceptional durability and resistance to rust and corrosion. It is a sturdy material that can withstand heavy usage and exposure to moisture without losing its strength or appearance.

Chrome Plated Brass

Chrome plating provides an additional layer of protection for shower enclosures. While the underlying material (often stainless steel or brass) contributes to the enclosure’s durability, the chrome plating enhances resistance to rust and wear.

Ease of Maintenance


Cleaning and maintaining aluminium shower enclosures are relatively straightforward. Regular wiping with a mild soap and water solution is usually enough to keep them looking pristine. However, harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners should be avoided, as they may damage the finish.

Stainless Steel

Like aluminium, stainless steel enclosures are also easy to clean and maintain. Routine cleaning with mild soap and water ensures their longevity. Stainless steel’s smooth surface is less prone to water spots and streaks, making it a low-maintenance option.

Chrome Plated Brass

Chrome plating enhances the ease of maintenance for these shower enclosures. Cleaning with a mild soap and water solution and occasionally polishing with chrome-friendly products maintain their gleaming appearance.



Among the three materials, aluminium shower enclosures are generally the most affordable option. They provide an excellent balance between price and performance, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious buyers.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel enclosures often fall into the mid-range price category. While they may cost more than aluminium, their durability and premium appearance justify the investment for many homeowners.

Chrome Plated Brass

Chrome plated shower enclosures are typically the most expensive of the three. The added cost accounts for the premium finish and corrosion-resistant properties, which contribute to their long-lasting allure.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the choice of frame material for your shower enclosure depends on your budget, style preferences, and desired level of maintenance. Each material has its own set of advantages and considerations. Whether you opt for the strength of aluminium, the elegance of stainless steel, the luxury of chrome-plated brass, a well-chosen shower enclosure frame will undoubtedly elevate your bathroom experience and add value to your home. Remember to consider the overall aesthetics, maintenance requirements, and longevity of the frame material when making your decision.  


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