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More and more people are getting rid of their unused bathtubs and adding spa-like showers. Curbless showers eliminate the curb or threshold of the shower, creating an open concept bathroom. An open concept can maximize space. Curbless showers don’t just offer visual appeal, but they are perfect for individuals with mobility issues as there is no barrier to worry about.
Pros vs. Cons
There are many benefits to having a curbless shower in your home. First, they are functional for everyone including kids and grandparents. Curbless showers eliminate that need to climb over a threshold, making them accessible for anyone. Another advantage is that they are easier to clean than traditional showers. Curbless showers don’t have surface joints, so there are fewer places for mildew and grime to collect. Curbless showers add visual appeal and maximize space. Getting rid of the shower barrier allows the bathroom floor to flow from wall-to-wall creating a seamless look and significantly larger appearance. Lastly, curbless showers do a good job of keeping water within the splash zone if installed properly. The shower head is strategically placed and the shower floor is sloped toward the drain to keep water out of the bathroom.
There are some disadvantages when it comes to curbless showers. One con is that they offer little privacy. This may be a problem to some, but it can be minimized by using obscure glass, glass blocks, or curtains. Curbless showers are also colder than traditional showers. Because it’s not an enclosed space, more heat will escape. Installing heated flooring can help decrease this problem.
When building your curbless shower, prefabricated shower trays are the way to go. They eliminate the need for mortar beds and are easier to install. Ideal for curbless showers, the Schluter-KERDI-SHOWER-TT is a thin shower tray that offered minimal transition height. For an accessible shower, the Schluter-KERDI-SHOWER-SR is a polystyrene ramp that adheres to the slope ratio required by the ADA.
Waterproofing is essential for all bathrooms, especially ones with curbless showers. Schluter-KERDI-BOARD is a polystyrene foam panel that is placed directly on stud framing. It used to replace cement boards to create waterproof shower walls. With curbless showers, it may be hard to tell the “wet area” from the “dry area”. Typically, the shower area will have a different tile pattern. However, it is still important to protect the whole bathroom from moisture. Schluter-DITRA and DITRA-HEAT are waterproof membranes that prevent tile and grout cracks by absorbing movement stresses. DITRA-HEAT incorporates electric floor warming, which is perfect for curbless showers as they let out more heat.
Two types of drains are suitable for curbless showers – point drains and linear drains. Point drains offer a more traditional look than linear drains. The shower floor need sloped at all angles towards the drain. The Schluter-KERDI-DRAIN is a point drain designed specifically for tile showers. Linear drains have modern look and allow for single sloped floors and large-format tiles. Because of their long, rectangular shape, they capture large amounts of water. The Schluter-KERDI-LINE is a low profile linear drain that is ideal for curbless showers.