Shower Enclosure Buying Guide
A shower enclosure will be a part of your bathroom for years to come and buying one will be an investment into your house. Therefore, before buying a shower enclosure it is important to take into consideration the following, to ensure your new shower cubicle will last the test of time.
General Shower Enclosure Checks
Size, Shape and Height
There are many shapes of shower enclosure: square, rectangle, oblong and quadrant enclosures. Don't make your bathroom feel like it is cramped, choose a shower enclosure which gives you the feeling of space inside while showering and one which gives your bathroom the sense of space.
If your new shower enclosure can be installed where your old shower used to be then this will save a lot of preparatory work, hassle and money as the hot, cold and the waste water pipes will already be in the correct place making them easy to attach to your new shower cubicle.
Shower Enclosures: With or Without Tray?
It may be preferential to choose a shower enclosure that comes with a tray. Due to the fact that the tray has been designed specifically for the given shower enclosure it will fit properly and will have less chance of water leakage.
The inside walls of the shower enclosure will need to be tiled. Therefore, plan ahead to what tiles you want and then tile the area before installing the shower cubicle.
Corrosion Testing - Have you ever seen chrome plating that has chipped or peeled off? It spoils the finish of your new showers. This is why it's important to buy quality if you want your shower enclosure to look good. Buy from a company who has done anti-corrosion salt tests on all of their metal fittings.
Door Rollers - Maybe not one of the things you think about when buying a shower enclosure, but the shower door rollers are very important for the longevity and quality feel of the shower enclosure. The door runners which Di Vapor uses for their shower enclosures have been tested for over 100,000 consecutive uses: that's a lot of showers!
Water Leakage - A good seal, often with magnetic strips on the shower doors is important to keep water inside the shower. Good seals also make the shower enclosure more aesthetically pleasing.
Door Handles and fixings - Door handles which are solid metal are much higher quality than their chrome plated plastic counterparts. These plastic handles are weaker and can give a cheaper feel to the shower enclosure.
Delivery and VAT - A shower enclosure may seem reasonably priced and of good quality, however it may not include delivery. Watch out for hidden extras like V.A.T and delivery. These extras can add a significant amount to the final buying price of your shower enclosure.
Reinforcement - Ensure the shower enclosure tray you choose uses pure acrylic. Even if a company says the tray is acrylic it doesn't mean it will be acrylic all the way through. The company may have acrylic PMMA sheets on the outside and ABS on the inside resulting in a poorer quality, less sturdy shower tray.
Check its Colour - Some acrylics have very bright white finishes. This is a tell tale sign of a poor quality acrylic. High quality acrylics are flame retardant and don't have a brilliant white colour which often clashes with the other sanitaryware in your bathroom.
Acrylic Price - There isn't just one grade of acrylic, there are many varying grades available. Some companies use a very cheap, low-quality acrylic to create and sell their products at low cost, therefore sacrificing quality and the longevity of the shower enclosure tray. Some factories use acrylic that costs £777 per tonne and others which costs £971-£1,035 per tonne. However, Di Vapor uses a very high quality grade which costs £1618 per tonne. The higher quality acrylic will make your shower enclosure tray last longer and will fade less over time.
Fibreglass and Reinforcement - On the bottom of most acrylic shower trays there is fibreglass for strengthening. Be watchful for companies who use too much resin and not enough fibre. This is low quality fibreglass that discolours and weakens over time. All the bases of Di Vapor's shower enclosure trays use 3-4 layers of fibreglass whereas many manufacturers only use 1-2 layers of fibreglass reinforcement.
Thickness - In general it is best to have tempered safety glass of 5-6mm for your shower enclosure: the thicker the better.
Edge Protection - Glass which does not have a protective framing can be easily chipped and broken. A shower enclosure with strong aluminium framing will support the glass in the shower doors and keep it well protected.
Break Test - There are standards to which tempered safety glass must reach. A piece of glass 120mm by 120mm should break into a minimum of 45 pieces, less than this is deemed unsafe as the shards of glass are too big and could cause injury. Di Vapor's tempered safety glass breaks into 60 little pieces; the more pieces the better.
Shower Enclosure Aluminium Framing
Are they aluminium? - Some companies use a profiling on their shower enclosures that looks like aluminium but is actually plastic. This framing not only looks and feels cheaper, it also doesn't protect the glass on the shower enclosure as effectively as aluminium profiling.
What is the profiles thickness? - A shower cubicle may look the part with aluminium profiling, but it may not be the quality which you expect. To cut back on costs some company's use aluminium profiling which is only 0.5mm thick. This is significantly weaker and more prone to denting than the 1.2-1.6mm thick aluminium which Di Vapor uses.
Aluminium Quality - Some companies use recycled aluminium or a composite of aluminium and other metals to cut back on costs therefore increasing its susceptibility to damage.
Structural Frame Support - Under the acrylic tray there is a frame which gives the shower enclosures strength and support. Ensure that this frame uses a metal such as stainless steel as opposed to a wooden support which is significantly weaker.
Note: Di Vapor is not responsible for the views, opinions or advice represented in the articles on this site. You are advised to seek medical advice before following any such information. Copyright © October 2007 Di Vapor.