Accessible Showers — What to Consider When Renovating

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Showers are without question one of the most vital areas of a well-designed and functional bathroom. They may not be the most used fixture, but they have a big impact on your, and your families, daily life. From getting ready for work to cleaning up the kids after a messy day, or easing tired muscles, the shower plays a central role in our all lives, which is why it should be at the forefront of your mind when redesigning and renovating your bathroom.

Planning a shower for its usage in the long-term now will make a world of difference in the future. Designing an accessible shower will not only make things easier in the day-to-day usage today but will also guarantee you and your family can continue to enjoy the ease and convenience for years to come, whatever life throws at you.

Ease of Access

Getting in and out of the shower can be tricky at the best of times with tight spaces and wet and slippery floors, and the issue is only compounded with time as mobility decreases as we get older. Making your shower accessible and easy to get in and out of will be a life-saver in the future, but can also make things just that little bit easier now.

A shower by its very nature will be a wet and potentially slippery area, so minimising the effort and risks entering and exiting is, therefore, a must. Try to keep the entrance on the same level as the bathroom floor, avoiding tricky steps. It's also worth thinking about the door to the shower; sliding doors are both easier to operate and can help to save space compared to hinged versions. Walk-in showers / wet-rooms are another way to make entry easier, removing the need for changing surfaces and doors completely. Finally, standard shower entrances are 800mm, but a wider entrance can make getting in and out easier when accessibility is a factor.

Controls

A shower has one goal, provide an easy way to quickly get washed and cleaned. This makes it a highly functional device, and therefore it's important to consider how it will be used and controlled.

There are only two major factors to consider here: placement of the controls, and type of thermostat. The controls should be placed in an easy to reach location, ideally around chest height, to prevent too much stretching and moving when operating the shower. When it comes to types of controls (e.g. the thermostat), there are several accessible options available. Thermostats with external controls are especially useful, allowing the temperature to be controlled before starting the water, preventing accidental cold-water shocks or hot-water burns. Of course, all these options come in a variety of stylish designs and finishes — there's no need to sacrifice style for function!

Safety

Whether accessibility is a necessity or not, making your bathroom and shower area both functional and safe is simply a good idea. Modern solutions allow you to have both a functional and safe shower design, while still retaining a sophisticated and personal look.

Bathrooms and showers are often floored with tiles or PVC-type plastic. While these surfaces are great for making things easy to clean they can become very slippery. Non-slip materials are a great way to provide some extra grip and safety. Likewise, grab rails provide an extra layer of security when moving around and can be styled to fit seamlessly into your design. If you don't want to commit to grab-rails and other supports right away, consider at least reinforcing your walls to prepare for the future and make installation easy and non-destructive at a later date.

Need help planning an accessible bathroom? Contact Crystal Bathrooms today to see how we can help you.