Installing a new shower does not have to be expensive or difficult. A modest investment is required, but the process can be simplified with shower surround kits and pre-fabricated shower bases. Both products speed up the installation process and reduce material and labor costs.
The Old and New
A custom shower was once the only option. This process entailed gutting the existing space, possibly replacing plumbing, sealing and waterproofing the space and installing tile or stone piece by piece. A shower kit eliminates the need for these extra steps. Plumbing may still have to be replaced, but a kit can go into place as is.
Kits include all four walls, each constructed of a single solid panel, thus eliminating the need for additional waterproofing. These walls are typically made from acrylic and have no grout lines and need no sealing. Clean up is fast and easy. The shower bases, or pan which you stand on are included as well, and install directly onto the sub-floor.
The units can be customized for additional stability, but are designed to be ready-to-go out of the package. Manufacturers drill holes for faucet and shower valve installation, and some companies will make custom holes for additional needs. The last element of the surround kit is the door or enclosure. Depending on the design, this can be made of glass or plastic, or left open. Custom options are always available from third party vendors.
The term shower surround kit usually refers to the complete unit without faucets or hardware. Spa kits such as those made by Hansgrohe come complete with shower head, controls and massage jets in various configurations. These units are easy to install and plumb. Fixtures are hooked up to existing pipes and the unit is ready to go.
‘Spa’ models have options for multiple massage jets, rain heads and hand showers, to name a few. Steam showers are another possibility, and can be added after the unit is installed.