11 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Updating Your Shower

11 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Updating Your Shower

Is your shower outdated? Looking for ways to refresh your bathroom. There are many upgrades you can make to achieve a more functional and visually pleasing shower. Here’s a list of different things to think about when updating your shower, its features, and how they might be useful to you.

1. What kind of shower head do you want?

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When picking out a shower head, figure out what’s important to you. Do you want a complete spa-like experience when showering? Is saving water a top priority? What finish do you want? There is so much to consider when choosing a shower system because the possibilities are endless. Some common options include:

Shower Head

This is the traditional shower head that comes from your wall. With a head like this, you will get the typical shower experience. some specific features could include a filtered head, a water saving head, or even a head with many spraying options.

Hand Held Shower – Fixed, Dual, or Rail Mounted

Hand held shower systems come in all shapes and sizes. They can be paired with the traditional shower head, mounted onto an adjustable rail, or even be a two in one head (Where the hand held mounts in the middle of the shower head.).

Rain Head

A rain head will be mounted from the ceiling and will drop down from above just like rain. While these can be very luxurious, we typically reccomend this as a secondary head and not as a primary shower head.

Body Sprays

Body sprays will come directly from the wall and will spray at you while the shower head comes from above. Many homeowners find that it can be nice to have water coming from many angles. However, your home needs to be  properly plumbed to handle that amount of water. If not, the water pressure coming from your new shower will be very low.

For more shower systems, we recommend checking out Build.com.

2. What material do you want to use for the shower walls?

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Changing the material of your shower walls can be a big decision. With more options than ever, it can be difficult to pin down exaclty what works for you. Some of the options include:


Tile comes in all shapes and sizes, and can be whatever you want it to be. From small mozaic tiles (Seen in the floor of the picture above) to subway tiles (Seen on the walls in the picture above) to 12″X24″ tile panels, the possibilities are endless.

Large Panels

Large panels come in all sorts for options. There are large porcelain tile panels that go up to 5’X10′ that will make grout lines a thing of the past.

Alternatively, you could use quartz or granite for the walls in the same way that you would have them cut for a countertop. However, keep in mind that these would be very expensive options.

A final, cost effective option would be  using acrylic wall panels. Acrylic wall panels are extremely water resistant, easy to clean, and easy to install. While a traditional tile install could take a week or more, acrylic panels can be installed in a day or two.

3. What kind of storage do you need in the shower?

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There are many storage options for your shower such as:

Recessed Niche

A recessed niche is a built in hole in your shower wall (seen in the picture above) where you can keep items like soaps, shampoos, razors, and any other shower necessities.

Corner Shelves

A corner shelf is exactly what it sounds like, a shelf mounted into the corner of your shower. These can be aftermarket shelved or built in tile shelves.

Grab Bar Shelves

Grab bar shelves can be a life saver (In every sense of the word). Doing double duty, grab bar shelves will be mounted to the wall to help those with mobility concerns while also adding much needed storage space.

Built In Ledge

A built in ledge is a small curb that juts out from the wall by your feet. This can be a great place for storage while also being a convenient place to put your feet while shaving in the shower.

Shower Caddy

A shower caddy is an aftermarket basket that will generally hang from your shower head. While these are the cheapest option listed here, they are also the most modular. If you want a change, simply remove it and find another solution.

4. Do you want a bench?

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There are many reasons why you might want to use a bench in your shower. Do you have mobility concerns? Are you looking to relax under the water? Maybe you need a place to sit ehile you wash your pets? There are infitinte reasions you might consider a bench for your shower.

Just like shower nooks, benches can be a great addition because they provide a foot rest, which can be convenient for leg shaving, exfoliating, and foot scrubs. 

Some bench options include:

A Built In Tile Bench

A built in tile bench can be great to match the look of the rest of the shower. A bench like this can be great in terms of form and function. However, if your shower is smaller, you may run into a problem with space.

A Wall Mounted Folding Bench

A wall mounted folding bench (Seen in the picture above) can be a great option to save some space, have the functionality of a bench, and at some flair to the shower. A concern we often hear is that people fear ripping the bench out of the wall. However, with proper blocking installed in the wall, a wall mounted bench will be there to stay.

A Free Standing Teak Bench

Teak Benches are a great option for two reasons.

1. Teak is the most water resistant wood in the world , making it perfect for showers.

2. Teak benches can be picked up and removed whenever you want a change. Having that kind of freedom can be comforting to a prospective remodeler. 

5. Do you want grab bars?

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We often hear clients being hesitant about adding grab bars to their shower. What if I don’t need them yet? Will it make the space look like it is for old people?

Luckily, the hard answers to those questions have been solved in recent years. Grab bars look more stylish than ever before and often come in matching sets with your other shower fixtures.

6. Do you want to have fun in the shower?

There are many ways to make your shower a more unique and fun experience. A few examples are colored lighting and exhaust fans that double as bluetooth speakers!

7. How much space do you have?

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Depending on the space you have, you could consider several shower types.

Tub and Shower Combo

A tub and shower combo is a quintessential shower type. These can be perfect for smaller spaces such as hall baths or smaller master baths.

Curbed Showers

Curbed showers are great for smaller spaces. The defining feature of a curbed shower is the lip that seperates the shower area from the rest of the bathroom. 

Barrier Free Showers

Barrier free or curbless showers have no curb to separate the shower from the bathroom area. While some might be concerned about water going from the shower into the bathroom area, a properly installed shower will have a slight slope that will keep water draining towards the drain. Additionally, a qualified installer will make sure that you have enough of a barrier to eliminate any splash into your bathroom area. These showers tend to need an area of at least 4’X4′, but preferably larger.

Walk In Showers

Walk in showers have no curb but also no door. This allows for an easy experience getting in and out of the shower. Usually needing at least a 4’X6′ space, these showers usually need a larger bathroom to be a viable option.

8. Do You Know A Qualified Installer?

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Having a qualified installer is crucial to your remodel, as one misstep can lead to disaster. Low water pressure, bad design, and even terminal flooding damage, a botched shower install can mean a nightmare for the homeowners. To us, the most important thing an installer should know is how to waterproof your shower. We like to use the Schluter System to completely encapsulate our showers. Featuring waterptoof “Kerdi Board” on the walls attached to waterproof lining under the floors, this system creates a great barrier to keep the water exactly where you want it.

9. What kind of drain do you want? A standard single port drain? A long drain? A novelty drain with a fun design?

Your shower drain is probably the last thing you’d think of when remodeling your bathroom. But if you’re changing other bathroom fixtures, it’s a good idea to get a shower drain that matches those finishes. 

Or, if you’re changing out the tile in your shower, you may have to update your current drain depending on the tile size. 

For example, if you have smaller tiles, a point drain is best because those smaller tiles create a funnel for proper drainage and to prevent clogs. On the other hand, a linear drain gives you more freedom with tile size.

10. Do you have limited space in your bathroom?

Click the picture to see this full project!

Limited space does not always have to mean limited possibilities with a shower remodel. In the project shown above, this shower was fit into a very small bathroom. 

When dealing with a space that is smaller than you would like, it is important to consider options such as installing a corner shower or using a curtain instead of a door. 

11. Do you want to create a more spa-like experience?

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Removing your shower door may not offer much functionality. But doing so can create a more luxurious look and seamless entrance. This look can be achieved with full glass walls, or even a half wall with glass on top like you see in the photo.

Some may have concerns that this will get the rest of the room wet, but this is solved with a few solutions. 

First, always make sure your shower area slopes towards the drain. This will make sure that any splashes will stay in your wet area. For that reason, we always reccomend getting a contractor that knows what they are doing rather than doing this as a DIY job.

Second, make sure you have enough of a barrier to keep your shower area segmented from the rest of the room. There is no rule of thumb for how much area you need becuase shower heads are mounted at different heights for differently sized people. However, we have found that 50″ of barrier is generally a safe amount of space to keep your water contained. 

We Can Help You Make Smart Choices About Updating Your Shower

Need help deciding how to update your shower? At McManus Kitchen and Bath, we’re here to help. Our design team uses a collaborative design process, to help make your remodeling dreams a reality. Contact us today to start your journey to a beautiful bath remodel.

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