What is a Walk-In Shower and Why You Might Want One

What is a Walk-In Shower and Why You Might Want One

Bathroom Remodeling
By Mateos Glen Hayes January 25, 2022

Those of us who are stuck with an old bathroom is probably also putting up with a crumbling shower stall or an ancient bathtub. Either way, taking a shower is probably not all that pleasant or convenient for you. You’re probably having to deal with a lot of old clunky stuff that doesn’t look good and is hard to keep working and clean. If this sounds familiar, then it’s probably time for a full bathroom renovation.

Instead of going for another unwieldy shower stall or a luxuriant steam shower, a modern and sleek walk-in shower is an increasingly attractive alternative for a lot of homeowners, and it isn’t hard to see why. A walk-in shower set does away with the big doors and gives you a bright and open space that feels a lot less cramped.

Given how modern and minimalist walk-in shower suites are, it’s no mystery that they are such an attractive option to so many people. As a discerning homeowner though, you know that it’s a good idea to do some research before settling on an option for your new shower replacement. So without further ado, let’s talk about walk-in showers. 

What Is The Difference Between a Walk-in Shower Suite And a Regular Shower? 

Walk-In Showers Have a Sleek Design

Walk-In Showers Have a Sleek Design

The biggest difference between a walk-in shower set and a regular shower has to do with the doors. Specifically, it has to do with the lack of them. Walk-in shower suites are completely open and lack the sort of enclosures that most regular showers have. On top of this, walk-in showers typically lack an elevated surface or lip and are instead just slightly lower than the bathroom floor to keep water from flowing out.

This makes for a very accessible design with the very easy process of getting in and out, and the risk of falling is low. This design also makes for a visually pleasing minimalist aesthetic that is quite appealing to most people. You do lose some privacy for that aesthetic, but you gain a whole lot of benefits in the process. 

Is a Walk-in Shower Suite The Same As a Wetroom? 

Wetrooms Like This One Are Completely Open

Wetrooms Like This One Are Completely Open

It should be pointed out that while they can look very similar, wetrooms and walk-in showers are different in a few important ways. The main difference between the two is that a walk-in shower suite is still a self-contained design, meaning that the water is prevented from splashing or seeping out.

A wetroom by contrast is designed so that any part of it can get wet without causing any issues. The entire bathroom has been waterproofed and so a wetroom is completely open, without even the minimal enclosures of a walk-in shower. While a walk-in shower suite will still have a dedicated shower drain, a wetroom will usually have one central drain that is in the middle of the bathroom. 

Are Walk-in Showers Practical? 

The Open Design Makes For Easy Accessibility

The Open Design Makes For Easy Accessibility

Generally speaking, walk-in shower suites are much more practical than other shower options because they are less clunky thanks to their simple design. This means that maintenance is a lot easier and also means that making a walk-in shower is usually an easy process. In fact, it is perfectly possible to convert an existing shower into a walk-in shower with just a few steps.

While it may seem like a walk-in shower suite wouldn’t be very good at keeping water from going everywhere, they are just as good at doing this as any other competent shower design given good construction quality. If you want a bathroom that feels more spacious and open, a walk-in shower set is a great place to start. 

Walk-In Shower Renovation Costs 

Costs Range Widely Depending On Which Walk-In Shower You Choose

Costs Range Widely Depending On Which Walk-In Shower You Choose

The average cost to install a walk-in shower will depend on what kind of walk-in shower you end up installing. For a prefabricated model, you can expect to spend between $1,000 to $3,000 on average. However, you might want something that is more customizable for a premium walk-in shower suite experience. In this case, expect to pay a higher price between $8,000 and $15,000 since a custom design and installation will be more costly.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to simply convert an existing shower into a walk-in shower. This will allow you a greater degree of customization and will usually drive down the price as well. The walk-in shower cost estimate for converting a bathtub or older variety into a walk-in shower set begins at a little over $2,000 and ranges up to just under $8,000.    

Pros 

Walk-in Showers Can Boost Home Value

Walk-in Showers Can Boost Home Value

Aside from the practical benefits, there are other appealing reasons to go with a walk-in shower suite. 

Home Value

A walk-in shower is an easy way to boost home value and get a modernized bathroom in the bargain. This is thanks to the rising popularity of these types of showers, and also has to do with how they can make even small bathrooms feel bigger.

This is especially true if you have a master bathroom with both a tub and a walk-in shower since families tend to prefer to have both for maximum versatility. Nevertheless, even a three-quarter bathroom with just the walk-in shower suite will be a significant boon for potential buyers.  

Design With Ease 

The integrated design of walk-in showers allows you to be a lot more flexible in your bathroom’s redesign because you don’t have to segment the space into different “zones”. Instead, you can easily use the same tile for both the shower and the rest of the bathroom without causing a style clash.

On the contrary, a walk-in shower suite encourages you to use more of the same materials because they will look more harmonious and further accentuate the sleekness of the overall design. 

Make Maximum Use of Limited Space 

On top of making a small space feel larger, a walk-in shower set also just makes better use of a limited space because it is less bulky. A traditional shower stall would take up more room just to fit doors and the enclosure, but walk-in shower suites do not have this.

This allows them to be more spacious, which means there’s more room for the user to move around in. There’s no need for a major redesign just to fit in a new shower, and no need to struggle to fit a standard shower into an unusually shaped space. Walk-in showers don’t come with all that quirkiness, and that makes installation and usage a whole lot easier. 

Cons

Coldness

One of the main drawbacks of having a walk-in shower set is that it can feel a bit chillier especially during the winter since there’s no enclosure. This can be especially unpleasant on cold mornings when you’re climbing in or out of the shower.

For this reason, it is a good idea to consider installing shower floor heating as part of your walk-in shower upgrade. This is the ultimate solution for those that really don’t like the cold as it allows you to keep the shower floor heated through a series of electrical coils. These heated surfaces work fast too so they can easily heat up a shower even after it’s sat all night in the cold. 

Too Small 

While walk-in shower suites are much easier to fit into small and unconventionally shaped spaces, they too have their own limits. If a space is too small even a walk-in shower will start to feel a bit cramped. In general, it’s best to have enough room for your arms to move up and down freely without hitting the glass or tile. And if the walk-in shower is too small, you might have trouble achieving this.

The best way to avoid a situation like this is to simply work in close contact with your bathroom contractor so that you get the design you want, and that it is spacious enough to be usable on a daily basis.

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes