Now that Spring has sprung and things are hotting up, we’re saying toodle-oo to the tubs that soaked away our winter woes and making heart eyes at our shower stalls. Aaah! Standing under that wide-awakey little waterfall every morning… and then feeling your stress wash away beneath the zingy sting of cold needles after a stinking hot day. Delish, no? So let’s get those showers powered up, people.
Q and A before planning a new shower.
-Who will be using the shower?
Is it part of the master bedroom en-suite, or is it going to be used by children and teens? This will help you shape the features and scale the luxury vs practicality up or down. This includes storage and maintenance. A busy family shower needs plenty of storage for toiletries to avoid clutter; think built-in recessed shelving in the cubicle.
-How’s the water pressure?
Lower water pressure means you may be left with a lazy dribble, rather than the spa spritz you were dreaming of. Before you choose your shower head, speak to a reliable plumber about the options available to you: he’ll chat about fitting a shower pump, or changing your geyser, or fitting an unvented hot water system. But these are costly options, so perhaps get a second opinion before you make the investment.
-How much space is available?
Try to maximise your shower space to avoid claustrophobia. If your shower is going into a corner, consider a quadrant-shaped shower enclosure to make the most of the corner spot. This also helps make the bathroom less boxy. If you have limited space, consider turning your shower area into a wet room, or install a walk-in shower tray. By removing some or all of the shower enclosure you will give the illusion of space.
-What kind of water experience are you looking for?
A rainfall flow is popular: a gentle, relaxing flow rather than high pressure needles. But power showers will be with us forever, and Italtile’s design-certified sales advisers will walk you through all the luxury showerhead options instore, from gentle to bracing.
How long are you planning to stay in your current home? If you are considering a move, install a simple, neutral option. If you’re there for the foreseeable future, invest in a more luxurious and unique set of fittings.
-How easy is the shower area to clean?If the shower cubicle is going to get heavy use, best you make sure it’s easy to keep clean. A hand-held shower is a smart option if you have younger children, and it also helps with the cleaning. If you don’t want to spend ages mopping up, then consider the most practical tiles and grouting options. Textured tiles look fabulous but are really challenging to keep free of limescale. Light grout shows up marks so it’s wiser to choose a darker grout. Large format tiles are a massive trend right now – not only do they offer minimal grouting; they also create a seamless look which makes a smaller bathroom feel roomier. Always opt for porcelain tiles, as they are hardwearing and low maintenance. Regarding the shower screen, most modern options come with built-in protection, which means you only need to wash them with water to keep them sparkling.
-How does the shower work with the rest of the bathroom?
If you are choosing a walk-in shower or wet room, make sure you position the towels within reach but not where they will get wet. Also, consider how close the toilet is as you don’t want the seat to get wet from the shower spray!
The alfresco shower
Once only a whimsical part of our bush retreat dreams, the alfresco shower has moved home and is an increasingly sought-after addition to contemporary luxury living, to bring us closer to nature. An outdoor spritz really shakes up the mundane morning ritual, as you take in the sounds of birdsong and rest your eyes on greenery. However, there are some important points that need careful consideration before you bare it all for that back-to-nature feel.
Location: You want it to be in a spot that gets direct sunlight. Sun on your skin is super-sensuous, but it’s also super-practical… because direct sunlight will ensure the shower dries out after use, preventing rot, mould, scum and moss production. (Ugh!) Also, ensure you choose a spot close to plumbing lines.
Floor: A solid concrete shower floor is a must. Don’t ever install a resin shower tray as this will crack and warp over time due to exposure to the elements.
Privacy: Duh! Of course! Make sure your shower is hidden from prying eyes, and consider a well-placed screen and louvred roof. Only you should have the best outdoor view!
Plumbing and drainage: While your outdoor shower plumbing should mirror your indoor setup, ensure you install shut-off and drain valves that will let you turn off the water to your outdoor shower during the cold winter months. This will prevent the water in the pipes from freezing and damaging the plumbing and fittings. Because you will be using soap and shampoo, the water runoff will be grey, so it’s important the drainage is connected (away from house foundations and surrounding plants) to your grey water system if you have one, or to the home’s main drainage outlet.
Construction materials: Think weather exposure and always go for durability. Slip-resistant wood-look or stone-feel tiles are a great option, and of course, Italtile’s your go-to connection for the largest range of slip-resistant tiles in SA. Stay away from metal as this tends to rust. Italtile has a kaleidoscope of marvellous mosaics in natural materials to suit your alfresco retreat.
The wet room vs the shower cubicle.
Wet rooms (or walk-in showers) conjure up images of a highly desirable, contemporary aesthetic with a pared down simplicity. And essentially that’s what they are; an area you can walk into, get wet, and not worry about the trip hazard potential associated with a traditional shower tray. A wet room also eliminates the need for shower doors, making them perfect for wheelchair users, those with reduced mobility or even anyone who struggles with gripping handles.
Bear in mind that a wet room usually needs to be fully tiled on the floor and walls, so it can get costly. But it does mean that you can introduce a modern design element with a bold geometric pattern or bright colour. Opt for a slip-resistant option and you can safely minimise the potential of any falls too. By adding a stylish handrail and a discreetly designed flip-down shower seat (from our exclusive Italcare range), it is simple to create an environment that is safe and easy for everyone to use, regardless of age or mobility.
The floor must allow for an adequate gradient and be properly sealed to cope with water flow and to avoid any unwanted leaks. This is why wet rooms are often perceived as the more expensive option. A job well done will cost more but is essential for a successful end result. It’s also worth noting that a wet room is less water-efficient than a smaller shower enclosure so bear that in mind when making your choice.
His and hers.
2019 is seeing more “his and hers” bathroom features. Perfect for the couple who loves to get ready at the same time. We’ve noticed that this trend includes not just double vanities and mirrors, but also double showers for those who have the space.
Shower screens/ shower doors/ enclosures/ shower curtains.
Shower curtains? It’s a no from us. For a sense of spaciousness, especially in smaller bathrooms, you can’t beat a frameless or semi frameless shower screen, instead of a framed door. Those seamless lines are so elegant, so use those reflective surfaces to your advantage. Glass enclosures and large, seamless screens are the hot bathroom trend. Italtile’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Square Frameless Bianca Black Shower is the happiest marriage of the black trend and the screen trend. It’s the perfect choice for taller people, it can open left or right; best of all, it’s on promo right now for only R4499!
Waterwise choices are the way to go. To live beautifully means to LiveGreen, so please consider world-leading watersavers like Almar, who supply us with an exclusive range of EcoAir showerheads with unique flow rate restrictors.For showerheads, cubicles, enclosures, screens, tiles, mosaics, shower trays and channels, and all the trimmings, including accessories, top quality grouting and adhesives, Italtile’s your one-stop-shop. Browse the ranges online, or, if you need a little help putting your Shower Power Mood Board together, pop in to your nearest Italtile showroom and speak to one of their design-certified sales advisers.