It is exceedingly rare that anyone gets exactly the house they want unless they build it from the ground up. Even then, your needs and wants can and will change over time. The longer you stay in a house, the more likely it is that you’ll do renovations.
One of the more popular renovations is a bathroom renovation. Tile styles change over time, as do preferred color combinations. Some people find walk-in showers serve their needs or style preferences better than more traditional tubs or showers.
If you’re considering a walk-in shower, keep reading for some of the major pros and cons.
Pro – You Can Install One in Most Bathrooms
If you’re in the midst of planning a bathroom renovation, you’ve probably bumped up against the sizing problem. Putting in a new shower almost always means getting one that has the same dimensions. Otherwise, you risk crowding the rest of the bathroom or making the shower too cramped.
You can put walk in showers into almost any bathroom. If you’ve got big bathrooms, you can put in large walk in showers or even luxury walk in showers. If your bathrooms are on the small side, you can get a smaller one installed.
You can even reserve a walk-in shower for the master bathroom and stick with traditional showers for the rest.
Con – No Privacy
Most people expect privacy in the bathroom and during showers, but it’s not an absolute guarantee. People come in by mistake. Shower doors and shower curtains help preserve privacy in those instances.
With a walk-in shower, there is no privacy. If someone comes in, there’s no avoiding them getting an eyeful.
Pro – Easier Cleaning
Cleaning a traditional shower is no picnic. It almost always involves getting into nooks, crannies, or corners with a scrub brush or sponge.
That can add a lot of cleaning time and isn’t always that easy on the back. It also makes it far more likely that you’ll see mildew develop in hard-to-clean spots along the shower doors or on shower curtains.
With a walk-in shower, you typically see few corners. Plus there typically aren’t doors or curtains to deal with as you clean. All that makes cleaning your shower faster and easier.
Con – High Moisture in the Whole Bathroom
Shower doors and curtains do help contain the steam to a more confined area. With a walk-in shower, all of that moisture escapes out into the rest of the bathroom immediately. That can create the potential for mildew growth in other parts of the room.
Fortunately, you can do a lot to deal with this problem with the simple expedient of a good extractor fan in the bathroom. You’ll want one with good draw power since it must deal with more moisture in the air than you typically see in a bathroom.
You can also use a dehumidifier while you shower. Anti-condensation paint will help keep the walls clear after your shower.
Pro – Minimalist Approach
Walk in showers take a minimalist design approach. That means you get a bathroom that looks and feels less cluttered because there is the illusion of more open space.
It also lets you take an integrated approach to the color scheme of your bathroom. For example, you can have the same color tile for three walls and use a contrasting color for the fourth wall and ceiling.
Con – Slippery Floors
One potential downside of a walk-in shower is that water can splash out onto the rest of the floor. That can create a slip hazard. Fortunately, this is another problem that has some potential fixes.
You can get a showerhead that aims the water straight down, like a rainfall showerhead. That helps limit the splash radius.
You can also consider putting in a partial wall by the showerhead. Many people opt for a clear glass partial wall since those disrupt the look of the bathroom less. You can also find slip-resistant bathroom tiles that minimize that problem as well.
Pro – Accessibility
Traditional shower designs become more and more problematic as we age. As we age, our balance becomes less certain. Taking a fall becomes increasingly dangerous.
That makes walk in showers for seniors a huge accessibility boost. You avoid the hassles of climbing into the shower. You quite literally walk into the shower the same way you walk into any part of your home.
Combining these kinds of showers with non-slip tiles and safety rails makes it far safer and easier for seniors to remain in their homes. A more accessible bathroom helps them stay in their homes longer.
Con – Chilly
Shower doors and curtains contain the heat of your shower pretty well into a small space. When you remove the door or shower curtain, it means you can feel any drafts in the room. While they might not bother you when you’re fully dressed, they can become a serious annoyance when you’re soaking wet.
If there aren’t any drafts in your bathroom, it’s not really a problem. If you’re worried about the possibility, you can help combat the problem with a heated floor. A partial wall can also help shield you from drafts, at least around the showerhead.
Pro – Home Value
Adding a walk in shower to at least one bathroom can actually add value to your home. For buyers concerned with accessibility, it becomes a selling point that they will potentially pay more to get.
Walk-In Showers and You
Walk-in showers do come with some potential drawbacks. However, almost all of these drawbacks also have fairly straightforward solutions you incorporate into the bathroom renovation.
On the other hand, walk-in showers offer you benefits that simply cannot get with traditional showers. They open up the space in the bathroom, making it look less cramped. They let you create a unified look.
You get an easier job when it comes to cleaning. The shower offers more accessibility. Plus, it can even add value to your home.
Looking for more bathroom tips? Check out the Bathroom articles in our Interior section.