In years past, the prefab shower stall was looked upon with disdain as a cheap, ugly, and temporary alternative to the more traditional method of tiling a shower from scratch. And homeowners should still weigh the merits of a prefab shower against a tiled shower, as the tiled shower offers many advantages.
"Prefab" shower means simply that the fabrication, or manufacturing, of the shower stall has been done off-site at a plant or factory. However, as the old saying goes, "some assembly may be required" once the unit is at your home.
Interlocking Multi-Piece Prefab ShowerThe most common and easiest type of prefabricated shower unit to install is the mult-piece shower. It usually consists of:
- A shower pan or bathtub.
- Two separate side pieces.
- One larger back piece.
- Front doors (optional) or the front is left open and covered with a shower curtain.
The Swanstone Veritek SA-3448 is an example of your basic, low-cost white multi-piece pre-fab shower stall unit (Buy Swanstone Veritek SA-3448 Direct). Swanstone's entry-level offering won't win any design awards, but it's good for a second or third shower or in a vacation house.
Corner Multipiece Prefab ShowersYou can get a little fancier, while adding more natural light to your shower, by putting in a corner unit. Of course, these are also available in pre-fabricated form. Mainly limited to square shapes (the Swanstone is rectangular), these are shower-only units. Sterling has a framed 32 inch square shower unit, again low in cost and easy to install (Buy Direct Sterling 32 in Shower Enclosure CI2900A-32). A "framed" unit is one which has glass walls held together by a chromium frame, rather than the more expensive unframed unit.
Single-Piece Prefab UnitsSingle-piece prefabricated showers are typically more expensive and more difficult to transport and install. The main body of the shower stall is a single, molded piece. The single piece units have less spaces for mold and mildew to grow, and are structurally more solid. Even so-called single-piece units are not truly single-piece, since the door is a separate piece. Also, what appears to be a single-piece unit is actually separate pieces that were expertly welded together back in the manufacturing plant. Call a bathrooom remodeling company for installation of these one-piece shower units.
One thing to keep in mind: are your doors large enough to allow a single piece unit to come through? Many older houses have narrower doorways, making this impossible.