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Modular Showers, One-Piece Showers and Shower Bases

Modern showers exist in a variety of shapes – square, rectangular, one-piece, modular, custom-built – offering great scope for creativity, to the delight of design enthusiasts. Discover the different models of showers available on the market.

Shower types

Bathrooms and washrooms have undergone a transformation over the last decades, evolving from a purely utilitarian space into a room devoted to relaxation.

Showers can be divided into four main categories:

  • One-piece showers
  • Modular showers
  • Traditional shower cabins
  • Tiled showers

Shower features

Just like bathtubs, showers have changed considerably over the decades. Nevertheless, showers have retained some of their basic original characteristics, and these are important to consider when choosing the most appropriate model for a renovation or a new bathroom.

1 - Faucet Holes

The location of the shower head and faucets depends on the shower model. Acrylic shower surrounds can easily be cut to make openings for the faucets.

2 - Drain

The drain is a hole in the shower pan through which the water is evacuated towards the drain pipes. The position of the drain depends on the pan; so you want to make sure that it is compatible with the existing drain line (for a remodel), or that you have enough space to install new plumbing lines (for a new build).

3 - Modular Base

Shower pans, or trays, are designed to support the weight of the person showering, collect and drain water, and protect the floor against moisture. The two most common materials used are acrylic and fibreglass, but the pans can also be made of metal, stone or ceramic.

4 - Modular Shower Walls

Modular shower walls are made of various materials such as acrylic, fibreglass and plastic. Caulk is used to waterproof the seams. The shower walls can be equipped with practical shelves where you can keep your products and accessories.

Sizes

Shower sizes vary from one model and one manufacturer to another. There are standard dimensions, however,

  • from 30" to 42" in width
  • from 30" to 60" or even 72" in length
  • from 64" to 78" or 80" in height

Showers with roof caps are higher than models without.

Modular Walls and Bases Materials

The vast majority of showers on the market are made of acrylic, a material that has revolutionized the industry by introducing rounded forms. Shower enclosures may also be made of fibreglass, ABS or polymer.

Certain manufacturers offer models that match with the toilet, the shower, the bathtub and the sink. The most common colours are white, off-white, beige, grey and black. Consider all your options when planning your bathroom renovation to create the ideal family, private, or guest bathroom.

Material
Advantages
Disadvantages
Acrylic
  • Stylish appearance
  • Low maintenance
  • Stain and chip resistant
  • Acrylic can be refinished
  • Can be colour-matched with an acrylic washbasin
  • Acrylic is less rigid than other materials, so the structure supporting the shower must be perfectly level and very sturdy
  • Not very resistant to scratches and corrosion from solvents
Fibreglass
  • Less expensive than acrylic
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Several grades of finish, some thicker than others
  • More delicate finish than acrylic
  • Less stain resistant because it is more porous
ABS
  • Less expensive than acrylic
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • More difficult to clean
  • Tends to dull and change colour
  • Cannot be refinished
Polymer (or styrene)
  • Less expensive than acrylic
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • More difficult to keep clean
  • Does not age well
  • Cannot be refinished
Tempered Glass
  • Stylish appearance
  • Stain resistant
  • Heavy to install
  • Requires frequent cleaning
Material
Advantages
Disadvantages
Acrylic
  • Stylish appearance
  • Low maintenance
  • Stain and chip resistant
  • Acrylic can be refinished
  • Can be colour-matched with an acrylic washbasin
  • Acrylic is less rigid than other materials, so the structure supporting the shower must be perfectly level and very sturdy
  • Not very resistant to scratches and corrosion from solvents
Fibreglass
  • Less expensive than acrylic
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Several grades of finish, some thicker than others
  • More delicate finish than acrylic
  • Less stain resistant because it is more porous
ABS
  • Less expensive than acrylic
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • More difficult to clean
  • Tends to dull and change colour
  • Cannot be refinished
Polymer (or styrene)
  • Less expensive than acrylic
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • More difficult to keep clean
  • Does not age well
  • Cannot be refinished
Tempered Glass
  • Stylish appearance
  • Stain resistant
  • Heavy to install
  • Requires frequent cleaning

Installation: how it's done

The first step in any bathroom renovation is to establish the amount of work required. Ask yourself if you are prepared to move drains, plumbing lines, cabinets and fittings, or even to knock down walls. If you prefer to use the existing plumbing connections, you must choose your shower accordingly, taking into account the location of the drain and faucet valves.

Fitting a new shower unit is fairly straightforward if you are simply replacing an old fixture without moving existing plumbing or drainage lines.

You will need:

To install both modular and one-piece showers, you will need to open up the wall in order to secure the new shower walls. Assembly methods for modular shower walls vary depending on the manufacturer but they are generally fairly easy to install. If the only modular elements you buy are the base and walls, it is important to ensure that the doors you choose will be compatible with the modular parts. If you are turning your existing bathtub into a tub/shower unit, it is advisable to fasten the new surround to cement board panels preinstalled along the walls of the alcove. Need some help to install your shower? We can take care of it! Regarding steam showers or showers fitted with massage systems, the installation should be done by professionals.

And Faucets

Shower heads and faucets are available in a myriad of styles to meet all needs. Prices vary according to quality and design. Beautiful faucets will enhance your shower and give it an elegant finishing touch. For more information, see our guide on shower faucet installation.

Some multifunctional showers are equipped with massage and/or steam shower systems.

Finally, if you prefer not to have shower doors, you can install a shower rod and choose from a wide variety of shower curtains. Designs exist for all tastes: clear or opaque, patterned or plain, bright or neutral colours. They will bring a touch of originality and style to your bathroom.

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