Shower and Shower Room Terminology… What does it all mean?

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Shower and Shower Room Terminology... What does it all mean?If you’re looking for a new shower solution then you may well be visiting bathroom showrooms or completing some research online to see what your options are.

By the time your shower installation is complete, you’ll most likely be an expert, however, at the start of the journey, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all of the jargon! I mean what exactly is a walk-in shower? and how is this different from a shower enclosure? And what is the ‘waste’?

At A Touch of Glass, we want you to feel completely comfortable asking questions and allowing us to use our experience and expertise in custom shower solutions and bathrooms to advise you about the many options that are available to you and to explain to you exactly what they mean.

This guide aims to help you gain a better understanding of the bathroom and shower products out there to include the main product offering, but also some of the smaller components and shower room accessories.

What is a walk-in shower?

Walk-in showers are stylish, streamline in design and add a touch of luxury to any bathroom. They make good use of space and offer a luxurious and spacious showering experience with their simple door free design.

Essentially, a walk-in shower is a shower enclosure that doesn’t have a door. Although in many cases a walk-in shower still has a shower tray, this is often low profile, allowing the bather to simply walk-in, as the name suggests. There is no ‘step up’ to gain access to the shower area and no shower door to contend with. Walk-in showers tend to be more spacious and make your bathroom space appear more streamlined. They are typically simple in design, constructed using frameless, toughened glass panels, or panels with a very minimal frame. Walk-in showers can be any shape, although commonly rectangular or square and they often include a drying area which means you can towel dry in a warm environment and avoid dripping water on the bathroom floor.

What is the difference between a walk-in shower and a shower enclosure?

The difference between a walk-in shower and a shower enclosure is the door. A shower enclosure has a shower door, meaning it is an ‘enclosure’ where a walk-in shower does not.

What is a shower enclosure?

A shower enclosure is a shower area that is enclosed with one or more panels, a shower door, and sometimes incorporates one or more bathroom walls. A shower enclosure can be fitted in most positions in a room, subject to plumbing, and there are lots of different shower enclosure styles and configurations. Shower enclosures can be framed or frameless, both made from toughened safety glass, with the frameless variety using metal hinges for the door. Frame styles vary with the most stylish being slim metal frames in a variety of brushed metal or black finishes.

How is a shower cubicle different from a shower enclosure or a walk-in shower?

A shower cubicle is the same as a shower enclosure although some people may associate a shower cubicle as a smaller unit offering more limited shower space.

What is a wetroom?

A wet room is an open plan shower experience. The shower area is the same level as the rest of the floor and there is no shower tray, panels, or doors. A wet room is waterproofed or ‘tanked’ room, by this, we mean that the walls and floor are sealed to make them waterproof and prevent any water from escaping. The floor is sloped which guides any water towards a drain or waste.

What is a custom shower solution?

A custom shower solution means that the shower has been designed specifically by you, often with the help of a bathroom designer or custom shower specialist. YOur bespoke shower solution is designed to meet your needs and to fit your space perfectly. It is not an ‘off-the shelf’ shower enclosure, it is bespoke, designed, and manufactured to your specific requirements using the materials of your choice.

What is meant by ‘hardware’?

Shower enclosure hardware refers to the smaller components used to construct and support the main shower components, such as panels and doors. Examples of shower or bathroom hardware include shower channels, such as U channels for supporting glass panels, wall mounts, wall mount brackets, hinges, end caps, shower support bars, end supports, shower seals, shower door stops, threshold trim. Shower hardware is available in a range of finishes including stainless steel, black, brushed metal finishes such as brushed brass, brushed nickel, light brushed bronze, dark brushed bronze. The attention to detail in using co-ordinating, high-quality hardware is important in achieving a high-end finish in your bathroom.

What is a bespoke shower door / cubicle?

This really falls under the remit of a custom shower solution. If you want something specific, or unique, something that’s not available ‘off the shelf’, or if you are working with an unusual space then often a bespoke shower solution is the answer. A bespoke shower means you can choose exactly what you like and have it manufactured and installed to your chosen specification. Bespoke showers also work well when you have the opportunity to create something really incredible, for example, if you have a lot of space, want to create a luxury hotel/spa style bathroom retreat or you are simply looking for something that is that little bit different.

What is a shower panel?

The term shower panel can be used in more than one way depending on the context. A shower panel is a term often used for a single waterproof wall panel often used as an alternative to tiling within your shower area or bathroom.

When using the term shower panel in relation to a shower enclosure, shower cubicle, or walk-in shower this means one of the glass panels which form the enclosure. The show panel could be either a framed or frameless shower panel.

What is a Return panel?

A shower return panel is often referred to as an ‘end panel’ or a ‘side panel’. It is a glass panel that provides a ‘return’ to either a wall or another panel forming part of an enclosure or in the case of a walk-in shower, it could be an end panel positioned to help reduce shower spray.

What is a slim framed or low profile shower screen?

This refers to framed shower panels, screens, or doors where the width of the frame is minimal and narrow. Less frame, more glass but without going as far as frameless! A shower that has slim brushed metal or matt black frames adds style and definition to your shower room that is perhaps not always achieved with a frameless shower solution. A slim shower frame in black or a metal finish is very on-trend for the shower industry at present.

What does it mean when it says ‘outwards opening’?

This refers to the direction in which the shower door opens or pivots from its hinge. When a shower door is ‘outwards opening’ the door will open towards you when you are stood on the outside of the shower area.

What does it mean when it says ‘inwards opening’?

This refers to the direction in which the shower door opens or pivots from its hinge. When a shower door is ‘inwards opening’ the door will open into the shower area. If you are stood within the shower area the door will open towards you.

What is a Shower Support Bar?

This is a reinforcement bar that provides your shower screen with extra support. Shower support bars are often provided to match the frames of your shower or your shower set.

What does ‘hinged to the wall’ mean?

Hinged to the wall refers to the position of the hinges of your shower door. If your shower door is attached to a wall using hinges and the hinges pivot from that point it is described as ‘hinged to the wall’.

What does hinged to inline panel mean?

‘Hinged to inline panel’ means that the shower door is attached to a smaller inline panel which, in addition to the size of the shower door contributes to the total measurement for that side of the shower enclosure. The shower door is attached to the inline panel using hinges. In some cases, an inline panel is used but on the other side of the shower door which means the shower door is not hinged to the inline panel but instead closes to the inline panel. It is possible to determine the dimensions of your shower but choosing a shower door, inline panel, return panel in varying dimensions to achieve the shape and size the shower required.

What is a side panel?

A side panel is another word for a shower panel or a shower return panel. Various panels make up the components of walk-in showers, shower enclosures, and shower cubicles. Side panels are available in various sizes, particularly when you are designing a bespoke shower.

What is a shower frame finish?

A shower frame finish means the colour, texture, or materials used to make or finish the frame on a shower panel or door. Popular shower frame finishes are matt black and brushed metal finishes such as brushed nickel, brushed bronze, brushed brass. Slim shower frames in black and brushed metal finishes can create an ‘industrial’ feel which is considered a key trend in the bathroom and home design industry at present.

What is fluted glass?

Fluted glass has vertical grooves. It is sometimes referred to as ‘textured glass’ or ‘ribbed’. The fluted glass used by reputable shower manufacturers and suppliers will still meet safety standards and is a popular alternative to clear glass or laminated glass. Fluted glass is one of the latest interior design trends as it adds texture and detail whilst maintaining light. It is especially suited to bathrooms because as well as adding elegance, it also provides a degree of privacy, whilst still allowing some visibility and light. When paired with brushed metal frames, fluted glass creates an up to the minute style choice.

What is a Shower Set?

A shower set is a collection of shower products often comprising of a showerhead, shower valve, and a shower rail. Different shower sets will have different items bundled together. Buying a shower set simplifies buying a shower and often saves money.

What is a Shower Ceiling Arm?

A ‘Ceiling Arm’ means that your shower is fixed to the ceiling rather than the wall. The length of the ceiling arm can be adjusted so you can choose the right height for your shower. Ceiling arms come in many different designs, shapes, and finishes.

What is a Shower Wall Arm?

A ‘Wall Arm’ means your shower is wall-mounted. Wall arm options come in different sizes and are available in many different designs, shapes, and finishes.

What does WRAS Approved mean?

‘WRAS Approved’ stands for Water Regulations Advisory Scheme. WRAS Approved is a certification mark that demonstrates that an item complies with the high standards set out by water regulations and that a product is of suitable quality and standard.

What is a Shower Rose?

Also referred to as a showerhead. This is the head of the shower from which the shower water sprays. There are different types of showerheads, fixed showerheads, multi-function showerheads, rain showerheads. Showerheads can be either wall-mounted using a shower wall arm or ceiling-mounted using a shower ceiling arm. Generally, the larger the diameter of your shower head the weaker the pressure of the shower spray.

What is a ‘Waste’?

A ‘shower waste’ is where your wastewater drains away. It’s where the shower water disappears to thus emptying your shower tray. A shower waste usually comes with a removable grid for easy cleaning and maintenance. Shower wastes come in many different designs, shapes, and finishes.

What is a Shower Valve?

A Shower Valve is used to control the flow of water and often the temperature of the water. There are different kinds of shower valves and shower valves can either have 1 outlet, used perhaps to control an overhead shower, 2 outlets which could be used to also direct water to a handheld or wall mounted shower, or 3 outlets which may have the option of directing water to body jets. A concealed shower valve is a valve that is concealed behind the tiling in your shower with just the plate and handles visible, meaning all pipework is out of sight.

Shower valves, even concealed shower valves are often chosen to match other shower components such as showerheads, shower rails, and shower frames.

What is a Shower Tray?

A Shower Tray is the base of your shower and is used to collect and direct shower water to the drainage point or ‘waste’ in your bathroom. The shower tray is what you stand in when taking a shower. Shower trays are available in different shapes and sizes, for example, square shower trays, rectangular shower trays, P or D shaped shower trays. Shower trays are also available in different materials and a variety of colours.