Showers can range from utilitarian to opulent. In the same way, a shower replacement budget can reflect the practicalities of a do-it-yourself project using an acrylic ready-made enclosure or the significant investment in a solid-granite-slab walk-in shower with multiple water features.
Consider these questions when you design your shower:
- Do you want to include universal design features that will make the shower more user-friendly?
- Does your shower design need to coordinate with a particular design theme?
- Would you like a hand shower as well as a fixed showerhead?
- Do you want built-in wall niches for shampoo bottles and other bath necessities?
- Do you want a glass enclosure? If so, what style?
- Would you like to enlarge your shower?
- Do you want your shower to improve your home's resale value?
- Will your available shower area allow for a built-in seat, or would you want to add a wall-mounted seat?
- Would you like a shower without the maintenance of grout?
- How does your available budget limit your choices?
Due to the wide spread in ultimate cost and the abundance of options, it would be wise to consult with a qualified remodeling specialist about a comfortable budget for your project. Starting with a realistic budget will save you from falling in love with a dream shower that will make every other shower seem substandard.
The more modestly priced showers are usually either acrylic kit showers or cultured marble showers like those included in many tract homes. Either of these showers will last for some years, but they will ultimately start to lose their finish and begin to deteriorate. Acrylic showers come in standard sizes, limiting your choices. All of the other styles of showers can be customized to your available space.
The majority of showers in bathroom remodels are created with some type of tile: traditional 4x4-inch tile, subway tile, ceramic tile, stone tile, or porcelain tile. Tile shower construction will last for many years with moderate maintenance. If the structure below the tile is constructed properly, you should never have a leak, but you will need to maintain all grout and occasionally seal natural stone.
The latest thing in shower construction is the use of a stone paneling product called ForzaStone. It's a newer product that combines the beauty of natural stone with the convenience of a solid panel. These panels are not thick like countertop material. They are a thin-cut natural stone with an aluminum backing for strength and waterproofing. We have found that by combining the beauty of natural stone with the convenience of a solid slab, it eliminates the maintenance of grout and creates a high-end look previously only available with heavy stone slabs for the highest budget.
Universal design features should always be considered. These features include the shower's size, width of the entry, design and placement of the shower controls, seating, and building in solid backing for the option to add grab bars later. Universal design also promotes minimizing or eliminating the curb at the shower entry. This eliminates a tripping hazard and adds a sleek beauty to the overall look of your shower. All of these choices are focused on making the shower beautiful and more functional for people of all ages and abilities.
A shower is a big investment and all of these choices should be carefully considered. I highly recommend that you use the services of a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) remodeling design specialist to help guide you and, ultimately, build your new shower to last.
Steve Shinn, Certified Remodeler, NARI
About Steve Shinn:
Steve Shinn is one of the leading remodelers in Phoenix. His interest in ongoing education has resulted in his recognition by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) as a Green Certified Professional and a Universal Design Certified Professional. He recently completed the NARI training and will soon complete the testing to attain their Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler designation. Steve is president of the Greater Phoenix NARI chapter and a local NARI Contractor of the Year award winner. His creative focus is on solutions rather than challenges. His commitment to working for happy homeowners continues to result in a growing family of satisfied clients.
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