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Shower Baths

As the name would suggest, shower baths are simply bathroom units that combine a shower cubicle with a traditional bath, allowing you to alternative between a relaxing soak and a quick, in-and-out hose-down.

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As well as being cheaper than two separate units, a shower bath allows you to free up extra space in your bathroom, making them ideal for smaller, one-person living spaces.

Designs

Shower bath ideas typically come in two distinct designs, the first being the "P" or "L"-shaped bath which has a long body and a rounded, slightly wider head where one can stand up to shower.

The other option is simply a "box" - or, more accurately, rectangle - shape which is the same width all the way, but has a shower section at one end.

The distinction between this and simply attaching a flimsy shower head to your normal bath plugs by yourself is that you get a better quality of shower, plus there is generally more grip on the surface to prevent you slipping.

The P-shaped ones are more multifunctional, but clearly those of us with a smaller bathroom space are better off with a traditional box design, which - happily - are also cheaper.

Shower bath sizes and orientation

Sizes start from 1500 mm in length and go up to 1800 mm. Make sure that you have enough space for your chosen bath so take measurements carefully. Keep in mind that the bath has a wider section at the top which will need another 100 mm extra on top of the size of the bath.

Shower baths can be right or left handed. Be careful when you choose the design to make sure that you get the one that will suit your bathroom.

Need to knows

No shower bath is really ready to use until you've fitted a panel around the shower portion which prevents water from splashing out into the bathroom.

This is often considered an add-on accessory, so make sure you are clear on whether the model you order comes with one fitted - otherwise you may have to source it separately at some additional cost.

Panels, of course, can look unsightly - but if you're a stickler for appearances then you can always go for something that pulls out when in use rather than a stationary window.

As a cheap alternative, you also have the option of simply drawing a traditional shower curtain across, although this doesn't guarantee that the floor outside remains completely dry.

Another thing to bear in mind when shopping for a shower bath is that regular cleaning and maintenance is key, as shower baths - more so than regular baths - can accumulate grime.

In other words, an L-shape with straight lines and hard-to-reach corners isn't always ideal from a practical point of view.

Shopping guide

Many of us like to think that we're a dab hand when it comes to DIY, but when it comes to plumbing it's usually better to call in an expert.

Ideally, you should try and shop with a store which also provides a comprehensive installation process - and guarantees a re-visit in the event of any mishaps once the bath is fitted.

In terms of brands, B&Q is still the UK's leading wholesaler, selling shower baths in the region of £200 and £300 (although this doesn't come with a panel - if you want that as well you are looking at a significant amount on top).

Homebase is worth a look as well. They offer one model for as little as £150, although it is a little on the narrow side. A screen can be purchased separately for around £40 or £50, which is a good price, although you will need to fit it at your own cost.

>>> You may also want to read about bathroom suites

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