Remodeling Your Shower 101
When it comes to bathroom remodels, the number one item on most homeowners' wish lists is a modern vanity or new tub - one of the big, fancy models with massaging jets, surround sound and colored lights (preferably).
The thing is: how often do you actually take a bath? Sure, if you had one of the luxury tubs you might soak more often, but for most people, the shower gets far more use than the tub, but far less attention. When was the last time you had honest shower lust?
And that's a shame, because you can turn your shower into a luxurious experience that rivals any fancy bath. Not convinced yet? Consider some of these ideas when you are remodeling your bathroom. You might just find that the shower becomes the most popular spot in the house.
The vast majority of homes have just one lonely showerhead. Maybe you sprung for the multiple-setting, massaging model. Maybe you got fancy and chose a detachable showerhead. It works great - but could be better.
When you're remodeling your shower, install several showerheads at various levels. You can then set the spray to the exact level to soothe tired muscles. For the ultimate in luxury, install a rain shower model. These showerheads are placed overhead and spray several gallons of water every minute straight down, like a rainstorm.
Look beyond fiberglass
Much like many home bathrooms only have one showerhead, many have fiberglass tub and shower surrounds. These simple surrounds are inexpensive and easy to maintain, but also well, kind of boring.
Why not turn your shower into a luxury, spa or hotel-like environment? Instead of just installing a new tub surround to replace the old one, take out the whole fixture and start over. If you do not use your tub very often or if you're installing a separate tub, consider putting in a walk-in shower. Tile the walls; with the wide variety of tile materials, colors and sizes available on the market today, you'll find something that strikes your fancy. If you want to add a personalized touch, install a tile mosaic on the floor or walls.
Glass showers are also a popular trend in bathrooms; surround your shower with glass walls for a clean and open feeling. The benefit to using glass surrounds is that you can customize the size and shape the shower to fit your space and design.
There's no reason that a shower can't be as relaxing as a bath. Install features in your new shower to encourage de-stressing. A steam shower, for example, allows you to turn the shower into your own personal steam room. Multiple showerheads can massage as well as any jetted tub.
And it may sound counterintuitive, but add some seating to your luxury shower. A built-in bench or seat allows you to sit and relax in the warm steam - and offers a safe place for grooming (any woman will tell you that standing on one leg while maneuvering a razor is uncomfortable at best and actually dangerous in some cases!) Work with a contractor to design a custom shower bench. It's possible to add curves or mold seating to the space to create the ultimate relaxing environment.
Add Some Fun
Remember the old shower radios? Well, technology has come a long way from those awkward plastic boxes that barely picked up any feasible radio signals. These days, you can have everything from surround sound stereo systems to touch screens with Wi-Fi access, television and music installed right in your shower. So if you feel the need to check your e-mail or update your Facebook status while you soap up, you can go right ahead and do it.
If you have the budget, you can turn your shower into a sanctuary away from the rest of the world and the showpiece of your home. Before embarking on an ambitious project though, get help and advice from the professionals, to ensure that your plumbing system can handle all of the pulsing showerheads and to ensure that the design is structurally sound. But don't just limit yourself to a boring shower surround: explore your options and soon you'll be showering in luxury.
This article was written by Ryan Tupper, who is a DIY consultant, plumber and contractor with over ten years of experience.