Choosing a Shower Base
If you’re planning on remodeling your bathroom, you’re following the trend of many homeowners across the U.S. in fact, bathrooms and kitchens are the most remodeled and improved rooms in the home and provide the best return on your investment. One way to improve your bathroom is to add a stand-alone shower. To do this, first you have to decide on a shower base.
What’s a shower base?
The shower base is the foundation of your stand alone shower. It’s the bottom of the shower – the part that rests on the floor. It contains the drain that carries the used shower water out of the home via the sewage system.
Why a stand alone shower?
If you already have a bathtub in your bathroom, many newer types like Jacuzzis and whirlpool baths lack a shower, as do the ever-popular claw foot tub. Showers use less water than bathtubs, and provide a place to get clean quickly. Obviously, they’re also much more efficient for tasks like hair shampooing.
Different shower base types
Shower bases come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. If you can’t find the perfect shower base for your bathroom, you can always have one custom made. Of course, this will cost more.
The shower base also comes in several different materials:
Acrylic – This is the least expensive type of shower base. On the down side, the acrylic often weakens over years of use.
Acrylic and fiberglass blend - This is acrylic strengthened with the addition of fiberglass. This shower base is usually very affordable, but it’s more durable than the shower base constructed of acrylic alone.
Tile – Tile is another popular choice for a shower base. To tile the shower base, purchase an unfinished one. Be sure to purchase more tile than you need so that you’ll have replacements for the future that will be an exact match. You can find tiles on sale that are inexpensive, but the real cost is in the labor involved. If you lay the tile yourself, a tiled shower base can be a fairly inexpensive remodeling project.
Corian – Corian is a hard, resilient material that’s often used for kitchen counter tops. It’s very durable and resists scratches. Corian is available in a wide choice of colors and patterns.
Stone resin – This is a material that’s made from ground stone, sand, and a bonding medium. The mixture is molded and hardened to create the look and feel of real stone, at a much lower cost.
Cultured stone – Real stone is the most expensive type of shower bases. Popular choices include marble, granite, onyx, and limestone. These shower bases are practically indestructible and usually last a lifetime.
Copper – Copper is gaining in popularity as a material for shower bases. It’s a natural material, and copper has inherent antibacterial properties. It also ages well and is easy to maintain.
Which material do I choose for my shower base?
When choosing a shower base, think of your individual needs. How much can you afford? How long will you be in the home? How much use will the shower get?
Another important aspect in choosing a shower base is its visual appeal. You’ll want a material and color that complements the rest of the bathroom. If you have clear shower doors, remember that the shower base will be visible to anyone who visits your bathroom!
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