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Here’s How to Select the Perfect Shower Stall for Your Bathroom

Here’s How to Select the Perfect Shower Stall for Your Bathroom

A prefabricated shower stall or cabinet is a great fit for your DIY bathroom renovation. It’s a quick and easy, budget-friendly installation choice. Shower inserts come in a variety of styles, shapes and materials to suit your vision. 

Do you need a small shower stall to maximize space? Or do you desire a large, luxurious one with a modern glass finish? Discover the different options and get started on your stylish bathroom upgrade.

The Different Types of Shower Stalls

Once you decide to update your bathroom with a new shower, there are a number of types to choose from.

One-Piece Showers

As the name suggests, a one-piece shower unit is made of a single piece rather than several sections. An all-in-one shower kit is a prefabricated shower stall that is ready to go. It’s economical as well as quick and easy to install. Keep in mind that you can’t make any adjustments to this type of shower cabinet: be sure the size and design work in your space, and figure out in advance whether you need a left hand or right hand unit. A one-piece shower unit is bulky to transport and may not fit through a standard-sized door. It’s a common choice for new construction.

Modular Showers

Designed to fit an alcove location, a modular shower is comprised of multiple pieces, rather than one prefabricated piece. The modular shower walls come in a range of heights and widths and are designed to fit a modular shower stall base. Walls may include built-in shelves, foot rest, etc. 

A popular choice for shower replacements and renos, installation is straightforward but take care to ensure the shower walls are securely affixed to the bathroom walls and that the installation is watertight. Multi-piece showers are easier to transport and install in tight spaces, making them ideal for renovations and DIY projects.

Corner Showers

Corner shower stalls are popular because they’re both space-saving and spacious inside. A corner shower unit is installed between two walls and comes in a variety of shapes including square, round and neo-angle.

Tiled Showers

A tiled shower offers great versatility and can be customized to fit any space. It is a costlier choice than a prefab shower cabinet and more difficult and time-consuming to install. Tile showers also require more maintenance such as regular sealing.

Popular Prefab Shower Stall Materials

Shower stalls come in a variety of materials, each with its own characteristics.

Acrylic Shower Stall

  • Presents a modern, minimalist appearance 
  • Low maintenance and easy to install 
  • Stain and chip resistant with an attractive gloss finish

Fibreglass Shower Stall

  • Presents a modern, minimalist appearance 
  • Less expensive than acrylic but more delicate and less stain-resistant 
  • Lightweight and easy to install 
  • Less costly to patch or repair than acrylic

Glass Shower Stall

  • Presents a sleek and modern appearance 
  • Stain resistant and simple to clean 
  • Heavy to lift and install 
  • Requires frequent cleaning as soap and buildup will show

ABS Shower Stall

  • Less expensive than acrylic 
  • Lightweight and easy to install 
  • More difficult to clean and may dull and discolour over time 
  • Cannot be refinished

Polymer (or Styrene) Shower Stall

  • Less expensive than acrylic 
  • Lightweight and easy to install 
  • More difficult to clean 
  • Cannot be refinished

Bathroom Shower Stall Breakdown

Whatever type and material you choose, the main parts of a shower insert remain the same.

The Main Parts of a Shower Insert

Faucet Holes 
These holes are where the shower head and faucets are located. Materials such as acrylic can be cut to create openings in the preferred location. 

Shower Stall Base 
Also called the shower pan or tray, the shower stall base supports the user’s weight, collects and drains water and protects the floor. Some bases are available with a seat and partial wall, a helpful feature for people who are physically challenged. 

Shower Drain 
The hole in the base where water exits the shower. It’s important to make sure the drain aligns with existing plumbing when renovating. For new construction, make sure to place it where there is ample space for new plumbing. 

Shower Stall Walls 
The shower walls are installed against the bathroom walls. They may feature storage shelves. Multiple pieces are caulked to create a watertight seal.

Standard Shower Stall Sizes

Standard shower dimensions are: 
  • From 30"–42" in width 
  • From 30"–60" or 72" in length 
  • From 64"–78" or 80" in height  
IMPORTANT: While there are standard dimensions, shower size does vary by model and manufacturer. Always make sure to measure and verify the size of the unit before purchase.

Shower Stall Door Decisions

Tempered glass doors offer a clean and modern look and bring an open feel to a space. They are durable, easy to clean and retain a sleek appearance over time. Glass shower doors come in various textures.  
There are a number of opening and closing mechanisms to choose from: 
  • Space-efficient sliding doors slide over each other. They require no clearance space but may have a smaller opening than a swinging door. Sliding doors eliminate water from dripping onto the bathroom floor 
  • A swinging door opens outwards fully and is attached to a shower wall or panel with a pivot. It allows for easy access but requires space in front to open 
  • A bifold door features two panels that open outwards or inwards. It’s attached to the wall with hinges. A bifold door requires less floor clearance than a swinging door 
Good to Know! 
Some shower doors pivot left or right to suit your preference. A shower door may also be reversible for installation on the left or right side to best suit the space.

Framed and Frameless Doors

Shower inserts feature either a framed or frameless design to hold the components in place. Check out the differences below. 

Framed Doors: 
  • Feature exposed framework and trim for stability 
  • Can use lighter, more affordable glass than frameless doors 
  • Trim is usually aluminum and offered in a variety of finishes 
  • Are easy to install 
  • Pivot inwards and outwards or slide back and forth 
  • Are more difficult to keep clean than frameless doors since crevices can collect soap scum and moisture over time  
Frameless Doors: 
  • Have an elegant appearance and a clean, minimalist look 
  • Are easy to clean and maintain 
  • There is no frame (metal) to corrode 
  • Can be more difficult to install 
  • Pivot outwards or can slide back and forth

Installation Tips for DIYers

Start off your installation on the right foot. 
  • Are you using existing plumbing? This makes renovation easier but requires you to place the shower stall in the existing location. 
  • If you are changing the shower’s location, are you prepared to move drains, plumbing lines or cabinets or knock down walls if needed? 
  • If the shower doors are sold separately, make sure the ones you choose are compatible with the shower insert. Alternatively, consider a shower rod and curtain. 
  • Choose a faucet and shower head that complement the style and finishes in your bathroom for a cohesive look. 
When selecting your preferred bathroom shower cabinet kit, you’ll come across direct-to-stud showers and glue-up showers. 

Direct-to-stud shower walls attach directly to studs in the wall with nails or screws. Direct-to-stud kits are more often used with new construction or major remodeling jobs. When renovating, this requires you to remove any wall cover where the insert is to be installed. These kits cannot be trimmed to fit like glue-up versions can.  

Glue-up showers (or easy-up) shower walls attach with a strong adhesive. Adhesive kits are used for retrofitting existing surfaces. You may need to replace existing drywall in the area with a moisture-resistant drywall. 

Both are suitable for DIYers, although the latter is an easier project to take on.
A new shower stall is a great way to refresh your bathroom. It brings a clean, updated look to your existing space quickly, easily and at an affordable cost. Explore our stylish selection and elevate the look and comfort level of your bathroom in no time.
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