Everything to Know About Showers: Walk-Ins, Wet Rooms, and Curbless
If you’re planning (or starting to daydream about) a bathroom remodel, you need to know your options first. Knowing what’s possible and what each option is called makes it FAR easier to turn that dream into a reality.
And really…what better way to visualize what you want and go into your consultation with added excitement?!
Converting an old bathtub or stall shower into an open, spa-like experience is high on LOTS of homeowners’ lists…it’s a “must” for just about anyone looking at a master bath remodel today.
Do you really know what you want, though?
Turns out, a walk-in shower is not always a curbless shower, and vice versa. Though a curbless shower is usually a walk-in…do you know the difference? To add yet another option in, there’s also the wet room experience that has been increasingly associated with “design luxe.”
Let’s take a look at the different kinds of walk-in showers and what homes (and homeowners) they’re best for!
OK, it’s true…technically a curbless shower is a type of walk-in shower in most cases.
Still, not all walk-ins are curbless! And any curbless that is cased all the way around is not actually a walk-in (like the photo to the right)…
Curbless showers have been a HUGE trend in recent decades. These are showers that have no barrier for entry or exit.
You know that tiled lip that separates the shower floor from the rest of your bathroom? Yes, that’s a barrier. Not all barriers are bad…in fact, they have a purpose. But curbless showers have some benefits you should know about.
Curbless showers are best for:
- Design for all ages—this is more than what many designers call “aging in place.” A curbless shower is ideal for people of any age to get in and out. The elderly, small children, and everyone in between with any temporary or long-term mobility issue makes curbless entry safer.
- Anyone who hates cleaning—Curbless showers are just plain easier to clean! It’s easier to clean the entryway into the shower AND to climb in to scrub the rest of the surfaces…
- Lovers of TILE—Curbless showers are especially great for showcasing beautiful tile patterns. Since these designs don’t have any doors or lips at all, the eye is drawn right into whatever tile you have installed…
Read more about that blue bathroom remodel in this before and after bath remodel story.
Read more about the remodel above in this before and after remodel story.
A walk-in shower could also be a curbless shower…
To get down to basics, though, it’s first a walk-in shower if it does not require a door. There might be a barrier (like a curb or a lip), but the design is such that the totally open entryway does not cause water to splatter about the rest of the bathroom!
You can picture these beautiful shower spaces, can’t you? And you KNOW how they gained popularity. These doorless entries and wide panes of glass positively glitter in the most opulent bathroom scenes…
It’s a Pinterest-perfect scene every time.
By separating the walk-in showers from the curbless showers above, there’s something to be said about the lip and barriers on these general walk-in designs…here, let’s take a look at the walk-in showers that DO have a curb (or “lip”).
Why would anyone do that?! Wouldn’t a curbless design always be sleeker and safer?
There are reasons for that little curb, it turns out…
Walk-in showers are best for:
- Anyone who tends to run a lot of water! If you LOVE taking long showers and let the water run for ages, a curbless shower could lead to water eventually getting out…a properly-designed curbless will have a perfect drain system so that never happens…but for those who really do get the shower area wet (you know who you are), a curb can give you that one final barrier just in case.
- Smaller bathrooms—That little curb is often tiled over with an accent tile that sections the shower off from the rest of the bathroom. For especially small bathrooms (like guest baths and the like), this ensures the space doesn’t end up feeling like a public pool “one-in-all stall!”
A wet room is a completely open shower plan where the water flows away through an elaborate drain system in the floor, whereas a walk-in shower is doorless BUT generally features one or two glass panes and some type of shower tray.
Wet rooms are the best way to make a BIG statement in your master bath in favor of luxury and a truly spa-like experience…
Of course, it will be your budget, time restraints and lifestyle deciding whether whether a wet room is the right investment for you.
Check out these special benefits of “wet room” open shower spaces and decide for yourself…
Wet rooms are best for:
- The sleekest look—Design options for a custom wet room include a recessed, corner or even floating wet room. These all create a sleek and modern look, including innovative entry options like entry at either side!!
- ROI—A wet room gives your home an immediate “wow” factor, especially when it’s time to sell. But do note…a wet room MUST BE INSTALLED PROPERLY with the absolute perfect drain design, otherwise it will be a wet and messy liability instead of that lottery-cashing selling point.
- Easiest access of all—Not only is a wet room a design “beaute,” it’s also ideal for anyone with mobility issues. Since there’s no shower tray and minimal glass barriers, accessing the shower is safe and easy for everyone!
Tips for a designer-grade “wet room”
It’s true, the most intriguing option above for most homeowners is the wet room. It’s simultaneously a sleek, new look yet it still has a “touch” of the most luxurious times of Roman high society or folkloric royalty…
Also…a wet room is the closest thing you’ll get to showering unencumbered in the open air!!
If you do want to think more about wet rooms, here are some additional things to think about…
- For starters, look at this bathroom remodel from a recent project of ours…it goes to show that the possibilities with a wet room are limitless, and you don’t even have to give up the tub!!
- When you start working with your designer, ask about a concealed shower valve and a large, rainfall shower head. It might not be what you go with in the end, but it would be a missed opportunity not to at least consider it.
- You can also consider doubling up on shower heads. This can be done with other walk-in showers, too, but the drain design of a wet room makes it particularly attractive here…
- Always ask your designer to explain the drain system she or he is designing, too! First, you want to be sure there’s real thought going into the design, since the drain system can make or break your wet room…you’ll want a flush channel style drain or line drain that collects water all across the wet room’s width.
Read more about that perfect bathroom remodel in this before and after bathroom remodel story.
Looking for some more inspiration? Check out our bathroom remodel portfolio or follow us on Facebook!!
Another barrier-free before and after shower remodel…
And some more inspiration just for fun…