Whether you like it for its form, function, or both, a walk-in shower may be a smart addition to your bathroom. Before buying, read this guide to the pros and cons of prefabricated and custom stalls.

By Kathy Barnes
June 08, 2015
Soothing Shower

A top selling point for walk-in showers is their space-saving benefits. Even if the stall has the same footprint as a tub-shower combo, removing the tub creates more standing space inside. The walk-in shower also creates the illusion of more space in a small bathroom, particularly when it has glass doors.

Even when space isn't a concern, many homeowners choose to separate the shower and tub for aesthetic reasons. There are endless design options with a walk-in shower, which can be custom designed to accommodate nearly any size, style, fixtures, and features imaginable.

Another popular reason for considering a walk-in shower is easy accessibility. There's no need to lift your leg over a tub ledge to enter, a design that reduces slip-and-fall accidents and is ideal for people of all ages.

Walk-in showers are generally more expensive than shower-tub combination units, though prefabricated models can be quite affordable. The look of prefab walk-in showers has come a long way in recent years. Styles and sizes are still limited and don't offer the same degree of personalization as a custom enclosure, but you can find units that include shelving and seating.

Typically made from fiberglass, these prefab kits include three walls and a base pan. One-piece kits are the most watertight and perfect for new construction but they often don't fit through doorways in existing homes, so many remodelers choose the multi-piece units. Prefab stalls require some assembly, but even novice DIYers can tackle the installation. When purchasing a kit, take exact measurements to find an available size that will fit. Also be certain existing plumbing matches the placement of any predrilled holes in the kit, and pay attention to whether it is a right or left hand shower, which indicates which direction the door will open.

Prefer a more high-end and custom look? Homeowners with more advanced DIY skills can craft a walk-in shower with a premade shower pan, tiled walls, and a shower curtain. Custom showers allow for any size, configuration, and materials but if you want to add shelves, seating, glass doors, or special fixtures and features, it may be best to work with a bathroom designer and professional installer, which will quickly add to the price.

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