Shower Thresholds: Yay or Nay?

Wesley Ward - 5/16/18 6:25 PM

Shower bases (also known as shower pans) are waterproof flooring that protects the subfloor in the shower area. Shower bases are available as a single, double or zero-threshold design. Single and double shower bases have an integrated track that guides the shower door and acts as a curb to keep water contained to the shower while a zero-threshold pan is level with the floor outside the shower. 

Zero-threshold shower bases can be extremely handy if a member of your household utilizes a wheelchair or if you prefer the seamless transition between your bathroom floor and your shower. 

Single threshold shower pans are designed for alcove showers with only a single open side while double threshold bases work well with corner showers that need additional water barriers. Zero threshold shower bases do not have a curb or rail for shower glass. The shower base seamlessly flows into the rest of the bathroom.

Single and double threshold shower bases have either a sliding or swing door and small curb that keeps the water contained to the shower area. These shower bases slope gradually to either a centerset or corner drain to effectively control the flow of water. Using this style of shower pan creates a more defined shower enclosure.

Zero threshold showers can make your bathroom feel larger because of the way it transitions into the rest of the space. The drain is still located within the shower area, but the floor tile extends throughout the bathroom to protect the subfloor from excess run off.

Another important consideration when deciding between a traditional or zero threshold shower base is the ease of access, especially for the elderly and those with impaired physical mobility. The seamless transition between the shower and rest of the bathroom makes getting in and out of the shower easier and safer because they don’t have to try to clear the curb which can be challenging for those with canes, walkers or wheelchairs.

Deciding on a shower base design primarily comes down to personal preference, but it is important to weigh the unique benefits and disadvantages of both. Once you decide on a design, make sure you consult with a plumber and/or contractor to determine how much effort and cost would be involved in transitioning to a zero or very low threshold shower base before you begin tearing out the old one or moving from a shower-over-tub to a shower only configuration.


Topics: Bathroom- Shower- Decision Guide

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