25 March 2021 | Updated: 26 April 2022

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The best walk-in shower enclosures; all you need to know

With the increasing emphasis on the bathroom as a place of rest and relaxation, there are few installations better suited to transform the bathroom than the walk-in shower enclosure. A minimalist designer statement that will repay its investment through an improved showering experience as well as killer looks.

The best walk-in shower enclosures represent an affordable luxury for home bathrooms and come in many shapes and sizes. Even small bathrooms and ensuites can be suitable for a walk-in shower enclosure, only really small bathrooms may struggle to fit one in.

It’s surprising how different the shower experience is when the dimensions are a little more generous and the enclosure is made of glass, transparent or translucent. The sensation of having plenty of space within the glazed cubicle is a great feature for the family bathroom or an en-suite.

Enclosure Attica 9C+5

What is a walk-in shower enclosure?

Essentially walk-in shower enclosures are like the traditional shower but bigger with glass screens that ensure the water and moisture remains within the shower area. The shower tray for the walk-in shower enclosure defines the dimensions of the installation and is effectively level with the bathroom flooring. Although in reality there is generally a lip or up-stand surrounding the edge of the tray to keep water within the enclosure, walk-in showers are designed to fit into the bathroom seamlessly.

The walk-in shower enclosure is typically surrounded by three walls (built into an alcove) or two walls (L shaped) but can be free-standing or installed against a single wall, floating.

The type of shower tray, the choice of glass screens, and the fixing methods are among the most important considerations when deciding on a walk-in shower enclosure for your bathroom.

What is the difference between a walk-in shower enclosure and a wet room?

It’s easy to get confused between a walk-in shower and a wet room, but there are a couple of differences that can help you decide which is right for you.

The big difference is that a wet room is entirely open to water spray (although a glass panel can be provided). The water drains through a floor drain, flush with the floor level. On the other hand, with a walk-in shower there is always a glass partition and a shower tray, slightly raised off the finished floor level, so the water spray and drainage are kept to the shower area.


Does water splash out of a walk-in shower?

So long as your walk-in shower is the correct size, water shouldn’t splash out. Walk-in shower enclosures are designed so that the water stays within the enclosure. This is why some space is needed for a walk-in shower, and so why they are not suitable for very small bathrooms. There should be enough space for splashing water to stay within the enclosure and then be drained within the shower tray. Really small bathrooms that don’t have the room for a spacious walk-in shower enclosure can fix this by adding doors to the current shower space.


What length should a walk-in shower be?

The shower tray that you use for your walk-in shower enclosure will dictate the length and width that your walk-in shower should be. As an absolute minimum, you need 80cm squared, like our Work Shower Tray. However, to ensure that there is no splash escaping, a length of 120cm is best for a walk-in shower enclosure, so we would suggest our Zen White Shower Tray as the smallest option if you have the room.


Choosing the best walk-in shower enclosure

When choosing the best walk-in shower enclosure, there’s plenty to think about. This luxurious, minimal feature can make a bathroom feel lavish, so it’s not just about the budget and size, it’s about those little details too. Here’s what you need to think about to create the best walk-in shower:



The starting point with the walk-in shower enclosure is figuring out what is the optimal configuration for the space available. This might mean adding a partition wall to create a U shaped enclosure or installing the walk-in shower in the corner of the bathroom.

Non-standard or special shower enclosures include free-standing showers that are only suitable for large bathroom spaces and require special plumbing. Other special options include a walk-in shower enclosure in an attic bathroom or en-suite where the ceiling slopes with the roofline.

Again, nothing is out of the question when it comes to adapting the walk-in shower enclosure for difficult locations or challenging spaces.

▶ If you’re having trouble configuring your bathroom as a whole, read our bathroom layout ideas for inspiration.


The details matter with walk-in shower enclosures

As a minimalist design feature, the walk-in shower is complemented by a subtle edge detail where the flooring appears to be almost continuous with the shower tray. The importance of details in the design of the walk-in shower enclosure cannot be overstated, just like with any minimalist intervention for home décor. But first and foremost, whatever the detailing the primary objective of the glass screens and doors surrounding a walk-in shower is to keep the water in.

This means using silicone or a frame to keep the glass in place. Having a frame to support the glass or choosing the frameless option result in radically different effects.

The support structure for the frameless glass screen and the opening mechanisms for the shower doors should be carefully considered. Sufficient structural support is needed but without looking too clumsy in the space, ideally, the ‘look no hands’ approach is best.

Enclosure NEO 9

Metal clamp & hinge fixings

This approach is best suited for the frameless walk-in shower enclosure, stainless steel is the ideal material for the glass clamps and hinges because it resists corrosion. The glass is held in place by the clamps without drilling through it. Remember glass is very, very heavy and its weight determines the size of the clamps, which should be positioned to evenly distribute the weight of the glass panels. It’s also important to size the clamps appropriately according to the thickness of the glass.

Enclosure S+LINE

Metal frames

For the alcove type walk-in shower enclosure surrounded by three walls, the opening can have a partly fixed glass panel with a sliding, folding door or fixed panel with an open section.

The L shaped walk-in shower enclosure can have two fixed glass panels held in place with metal frames with a sliding glass door supported on metal roller mechanisms, or a hinged door using clamps. For the extra long shower tray, you can have an open panel providing access. Just make sure that there is sufficient length to avoid splashes from the showerhead.

Enclosure INTER 1

The floating walk-in shower

For a single glass panel within a large alcove or for an independent free-standing cubicle enclosure metal rod supports will be required.

These can be supported from the ceiling or adjacent walls. If there are opening or sliding doors, then metal clamps and hinges will also be needed. The overall effect can be very dramatic but remember that there can be no walk-in shower without the correct plumbing.


Enclosure NEO 2C+5

Glass screen options for the walk-in shower enclosure

The glass for the enclosure must be toughened glass, a process where heat is used to ensure that in case of breakage the glass panel retains its shape.

The choice of glass under this criterion is nevertheless varied; frosted, mirrored, darkened, coloured. The only limit is your imagination, these options come with a cost however and should be designed with the entire space in mind.

Can small bathrooms have a walk-in shower?

Even small bathrooms can fit a walk-in shower enclosure, so long as you have space for the shower tray. This can make a small bathroom feel larger and more luxurious. You just may have to get creative with the shower positioning, accessories, and nooks. To prevent water from getting everywhere, you will probably need a door too, but it is possible for small bathrooms to have a walk-in shower enclosure.


▶ For some small bathroom inspiration, check out our small bathroom ideas.


How to fit a walk-in shower enclosure?

Fitting a walk-in shower is a two-person job because glass is a heavy material as well as being somewhat delicate and liable to breakage if not handled correctly. After the shower tray is laid in place cut the metal frame profiles to the correct length, usually, a walk-in shower enclosure is 195 cm in height. With the help of a spirit level position the vertical side frame and mark the fixing points with a pencil for the proprietary fixings. An appropriate drill bit for porcelain or ceramic tiles is required depending on the wall finish. The bottom frame will be fixed using a silicone bead along the edge of the shower tray. While the top rail will have a rubber gasket provided to ensure a snug fit with the top metal profile. Once the panel or panels are fitted then attach the door with the hinges or the sliding mechanism. To complete the job, add the handles using the proprietary fixings and silicone along the junction between the frame and the wall.


▶ For more information, read our post on how to build a walk-in shower.


Are there any special plumbing requirements for a walk-in shower?

No, there are no special plumbing requirements for a walk-in shower. If the bathroom is plumbed for a shower then it should be relatively straightforward to install a walk-in shower enclosure.


Are walk-in showers worth it?

If you are looking for an elegant and luxurious shower, then a walk-in shower gives a lavish and minimal look. Not only are these showers sophisticated, but they also reduce the danger of tripping when stepping into a bath or fully enclosed shower, so they are very practical too.


Get the look

The walk-in shower enclosure lends the bathroom a modern and elegant appearance. If you want invisible wall finishes, make sure to carefully consider the type of glass and wall mounts needed.


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