Providing the best showering solutions for refurbishments is arguably more complex than ever before, given the range of choice today. Ann Boardman of Saniflo UK explains how shower cubicles can help.
Remember the days when being a student generally meant getting by with sub-standard accommodation? For today’s students, it’s a different story.
Just one search on Rightmove.co.uk for student accommodation reveals a very high standard of new and existing options. Estate agents go to lengths to promote a great bathroom, and so student accommodation providers need to deliver.
With the growth of newly built student accommodation across the UK, there’s never been more competition. Independent landlords with properties on the outskirts of a city must provide an exceptional user experience in order to compete with new build, city centre developments. New build, city centre developments are in a race to get to market in the shortest timeframe possible, and they must provide top notch interiors.
For social housing refurbishments and new builds, there’s still a need to deliver quality. The main considerations are cost, disruption to residents, the longevity of the new solution, and its suitability for all ages and physical abilities.
It is important to carefully consider the choice of product – whether the showers are for student accommodation or social housing, and regardless of whether it’s a refurbishment or new build, it is worth considering integrated shower cubicle packages over separate showering products.
Some shower cubicle models can be up and running in less than a day with minimum disruption to the bathroom and residents, as there’s no need for tiling, grout or silicone, and for refurbishment projects there are models that simply slot into the place where the old bath was. And, a real plus is that many shower cubicles are inclusively designed, which means they are safe and easy for everyone to use with certain models featuring grab rails, seats and thermostatic showers catering for less mobile individuals.
With the installer workforce ageing alongside residents, shower cubicles offers a solution here too. Installers of shower cubicles report that they are quick and easy to install, especially after receiving an on-site training session. Choose units that are watertight without the need for any silicone and can be operational on the same day, which is a real help for everyone.
As well as being easy to install and attractive, they are highly durable and need minimal maintenance. With no grout to discolour or unsightly silicone to maintain, the cubicles remain pristine looking for years.
Shower cubicles also tick the box for being compatible with timber frame buildings. Timber changes naturally over time and can shift and warp, causing movement to the building –including the bathrooms.
Traditional shower enclosures with tiles, grout and silicone gel are more prone to cracking when wood warps, which can result in the shower losing its water tightness, and leaks occurring. When water finds its way into a timber frame it can rot; jeopardising the structural integrity of the joists used for the bathroom walls. Rectification can be a costly issue in these cases.
Shower cubicles feature internal panels that can’t crack, and therefore won’t allow water to pass into the sub-structure. The panels are slotted over the upstand of the shower tray – supplied in the package – which ensures water
falls inside the shower area and out through the plug hole. For ease of specification, some models are supplied complete with shower and valve, while other models can be selected without so that the customer can use a product of their own choice.
For the best type of product, look for manufacturers who design, manufacture and test in Europe, as this means they have complete control over the process and they can maintain the highest standards of quality and service.
Also, ensure that all glass panels and doors meet the European standard EN12150 for toughened safety glass, and choose manufacturers who supply flat-packed products for ease of manoeuvrability.
Look for cubicles that don’t require silicone. In the humid environment of the bathroom, silicone will deteriorate and discolour without constant maintenance.
And, opt for the models that have a permanent, anti-limescale coating to minimise the build-up of calcium deposits and dirt on glass, reducing the need to clean. This transparent chemical treatment is resistant to hot water and UV rays, encouraging water to run off the glass without leaving streaks or water marks.
Installing a shower cubicle really is as easy as A, B, C: assemble, bolt together, and connect to waste and water and add the doors.
As with fitting any shower there are just three main considerations: floor construction; waterproofing, and drainage. The quality and reliability of the products used are essential. The rest is down to choosing a quality manufacturer.
Ann Boardman is head of marketing and product management at Saniflo UK.