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Buyer's Guide: Shower Enclosures

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Many people choose a shower enclosure alongside a bathtub, as they are a practical, convenient and stylish showering solution. You can step in and out with ease and there are shapes to suit any bathroom! If a bath is not part of your hygiene routine, a large shower enclosure can be a luxurious use of space in place of a bath.

Tip: If you are renovating your bathroom to sell, before choosing not to have a bath consider a bathtub is often a non-negotiable house feature. However, If you have multiple bathrooms, replacing on bathtub with a spacious modern shower will not do any harm!

Where do you plan to have the shower enclosure in your bathroom? The position dictates which components you will need. You can fit the shower enclosure against one (feature), two (Corner), or three (Recessed) walls.

One Wall – Feature - If you have a larger space, you can make the shower enclosure a feature piece by placing it against one wall. For this, you need one wall, two fixed side panels, and a door panel.

Two Walls – Corner - A shower enclosure fitted in a room corner is the most popular position, best suited to small and medium size bathrooms. It requires two sides to be walls, 1 fixed panel, and a door panel.

Three Walls – Recessed - If you have a recessed space with three

walls, you will only need a door panel.

Types of Shower enclosure

There are many types of shower enclosures for you to choose from. Popular types of shower enclosures include quadrant, offset quadrant, square, and rectangular with their respective shower trays. Shower doors come either on shower enclosures or in a recess and have a choice of pivot, sliding or folding options.


A Square enclosure takes up a small amount of space and is well suited to most size bathrooms. They are fitted in the corner of the room against two walls and leave plenty of space for other bathroom furniture and fittings.


A rectangular enclosure provides more showering space compared to a square so it between suited to a medium sized bathroom space. They can be placed against two walls in the corner of the room or against one wall with two side panels.


Quadrant shower enclosures have a curved door panel and fit between two walls in the corner of the bathroom. Similar to the square enclosure they are well suited to smaller bathrooms and en-suites, however, use even less space than a square enclosure. Most commonly, they have one or two sliding doors fitted however, some have hinged doors.

Offset Quadrant

An offset quadrant enclosure is similar to the quadrant however, it offers a more spacious showering experience as it uses a larger portion of one of the two walls. These are suited for medium and larger sized bathrooms.


A walk-in shower is a popular choice for a sleek styled bathroom; they are often minimalistic and ultra-modern in design with only one fixed shower panel. They can be straight, curved or L shaped depending on the style of walk-in shower. Some also have an additional pivoting panel for easy adjustment and access to the shower space.

While being the perfect choice for wet rooms, a walk-in shower with a low profile tray will give you the ‘wet room’ look without the expense of tanking the walls and floor. They are low maintenance and easy to clean as there are no hard to reach parts or mechanisms. If you or someone at home is less mobile, walk-in showers are well suited as there are no doors and wide entrance space.

Tip: Smaller bathrooms are better suited to space-saving styles like square or quadrant enclosures, whereas bigger bathrooms are better suited to larger rectangular, offset quadrant, or walk-in style shower enclosures.

Types of Shower Doors

Hinged and Pivot doors

The main difference between hinged and pivot doors is the hinge placement. Hinged doors are like typical doors with hinges on one side, whereas pivot doors have hinges affixed to the top and bottom of the door.

Both doors act as normal doors would and open outwards. Hinged doors require a more spacious area as they provide wider access to the shower compared to pivot doors.

Bi-fold door shower enclosures

Bi-fold door shower enclosures have panels that fold inwards when opened, they don’t use any space outside of the shower enclosure so are well suited for small spaces.

Sliding door shower enclosures

Sliding shower doors come with two or three panels, which slide together providing an opening to step in and out of the shower.

There are different types of sliding doors deepening on the shower enclosure. Framed sliding doors can deliver a sleek, modern designer look, whereas frameless sliding shower doors are a more minimalistic modern style. Quadrant and corner shower enclosures often opt for sliding doors for space saving convenience.

Tip: Bi-fold and sliding doors will not drip water onto the floor when opened, as they do not extend out of the shower enclosure!

Finer Details

Glass Finishes

Manufacturers often offer different glass finishes for their shower enclosure panels such as clear, mirrored, frosted, fluted, striped, or smoked.

Glass toughness

Thickness differs depending on manufacture but generally ranges from 4-10mm thick and all meet British safety standards. The thicker the glass the less vibration you will have when opening and closing the door. 8-10mm glass is tough, durable, and often used for frameless shower enclosures. 6mm glass is safe, sturdy, and durable being the mid-range option with 4mm glass providing quality at an affordable price.

Easy Clean Coatings

Some manufacturers have easy clean features such as anti-limescale treatments

Quick Release

Quick release features make cleaning the shower enclosure easier with sliding and bi-fold doors

Shower Trays

Shape and size - When choosing your shower tray consider it needs to match the shape and size of your chosen shower enclosure so that no water can escape. Overall, your bathroom size will often play a large role in picking a suitable size and shape of shower enclosure and respective shower tray.

Colour - Most are white however, some manufacturers offer darker colours such as slate grey and black.

Pipework - If your pipework is set into the floor you can choose between a flat/low profile or a raised shower tray however if your pipework is raised you will need a raised shower tray.

Anti-Slip - Most shower trays now come with anti-slip coatings to ensure a safer showering experience.

Materials - Shower trays are typically made from acrylic or acrylic-capped stone resin. Acrylic is the most popular choice as its easy to clean, durable, lightweight, and naturally non-slip when wet. Acrylic-capped stone resin has however become more popular as it is very resistant to warping and has a sophisticated aesthetic.

The next step

When you have decided what type of shower enclosure and tray will best suit your bathroom it's time to decide on the shower to go in it!

Take a look at our Buyer's Guide: Showers for more guidance! (Please note our shower guide is still in development)

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