Barrier free showers are the latest trend in today’s bathroom renovations. Their raising popularity is no stranger to the new modern style demanding for a more inviting, easy access and functional space. The absence of the traditional shower curb allows for the use of the same tile across the bathroom, unifying the look and contributing to the sense of openness. Take for example our 2012 award, where the use of a tillable linear drain against the shower back wall makes the room feel more spacious. As illustrated, when combining it with a doorless shower, the available space is also drastically increased. This configuration is obviously dependable on the shower size and its plumbing features. But, even with a glass enclosure, new extra clear glass and frameless construction helps it blend in to the decor, which contributes to the illusion of a larger space. Either way, the smallest bathrooms are ideal candidates for barrier free showers as they gain a few inches of usable space inside and outside of the shower.
Aside from being visually fascinating, the absence of thresholds also means easy access for people with reduced mobility, the elderly and the children. And for those looking for the ultimate comfort, a curbless shower also allows for the installation of a in-floor heating system. This intern also helps the maintenance by drying the floor quickly.
Barrier free showers are always custom made to your tile size and inevitably imply a complete bathroom renovation. The essential element in their construction, is the planning of the floor assembly and shower structures. We would generally prepare a thin mortar-bed to level the bathroom floor while incorporating a slope for water drainage – as illustrated in our 2013 award. However, if floor height does not allows it, then a raised shower floor becomes the alternative – as illustrated in 2009 award. There is also the possibility to recessed the floor by cutting into the floor joists – 2010 award. However, this is not the field of expertise of a general contractor or a carpenter, as it could have serious consequences on the waterproofing and tile assembly. In this case, a structural engineer is required to specify the floor reconstruction and placement of crucial expansion joints. The second most important phase in the surface preparation of a non-curb shower is the installation of a waterproofing system across the room. This requires careful planning and selection of the shower drain, waterproofing membranes, and ultimately, the installation materials.
We have been specializing in barrier free showers for more than 15 years and our expertise is recognized by Schluter-Systems, and it has also been awarded six consecutive times by the tile industry. We can work with you on the conception of your shower as a technical resource between the surface preparation requirements and your type of tile installation design. The following projects are examples of barrier free tile showers with mosaic and large format tile floors, linear and central drains, and doorless configurations :