Richard Eaton, Product Manager at RefleXion Enclosures by PJH, explains how installers can specify the best shower enclosures for their customers.

The shower enclosure market continues to enjoy steady sales and, as product design and innovation continue to evolve, so too does the vast choice of enclosure products – so where does the installer start when specifying the best enclosure for the job? Knowing the latest enclosure trends, and added value features, there’s healthy margins to be had too.  

The most often asked question is how to install a separate shower enclosure in a small bathroom space without ditching the bath. With manufacturers now offering a wide range of space-saving models, there are many innovative types of high quality enclosures available with just a small footprint and an affordable price.

For smaller bathrooms, en-suites, and converted ground floor bathrooms, bi-fold, in-fold, pivot, and corner entry enclosures are the perfect option and, with widths as little as 700mm, they take up very little space. 

Door opening mechanisms are key too, as an in-fold enclosure will cleverly slide open into the enclosure area with minimal door opening intrusion into the room. Always try to seek an in-fold door with a high quality, ultra-smooth opening and closing mechanism, as this will ensure durability and long-lasting performance. The bi-fold door is also a great example of a space-saving solution where again the glass opens into the showering space instead of outwards into the room.

A corner-entry or quadrant, style enclosure are versatile solutions for small bathrooms too, taking up less room but offering a spacious showering area, especially if you opt for two-door or offset quadrant styles.

In contrast is growing consumer demand for large showering areas, whether this is for easy access, perhaps in a multigenerational household, or simply the desire to create a spa-inspired wetroom environment. 

Toughened safety glass is something to consider here, with glass thicknesses ranging from economy 4mm to luxury 8mm/10mm. While thicker glass is higher in price, if the customer is after a more high-end look, then it will pay to invest in an 8 or 10mm panel. 

Walk-through wetrooms and the addition of rotating splash panels are a good choice for easy access, whether for the less mobile or families with young children, and there are now much more design-led and stylish accessories to make wet spaces even safer. 

From wall mounted shower seats to grab rails, the look and finish is far more contemporary now and suitable for all ages. In addition, the use of a low profile, 25mm anti-slip shower tray provides even more reassurance for the whole family. 

Many style-savvy consumers are looking to create designer-inspired wetroom zones and we are seeing a huge amount of creativity filtering into this sector. While the minimalist frameless plain glass screen look is still popular, it seems that less is no longer more. The desire for personalisation is causing designs to evolve, for example the black framed or panelled look that we’ve seen recently. Black finishes are very popular at the moment, satisfying monochrome and industrial trends.

More patterns, colours, and unusual finishes are now appearing too. The use of materials other than polished chrome frames and clear glass will really grow in the next few years, such as gold or brass frames, and frosted or fluted glass.

Of course, with all glass enclosures, innovative design features and benefits are constantly evolving, but it’s worth looking out for small details that you could highlight to the homeowner. From ultra-smooth roller mechanisms (for ease of use and durability), easy clean glass coatings, and quick release rollers (again to ease cleaning efforts), to concealed fixings (for a streamlined finish), ensure to suggest models with such USPs. 

One final word of advice is to choose a shower enclosure manufacturer that offers a comprehensive aftercare package, embracing all elements of customer support, technical advice, and spare parts, for complete peace of mind.