Apr 132012
 

When thinking of a walk in shower , do you picture a spacious, beautiful bathroom? Perhaps with a spa tub, marble tile, and high end fixtures? If so, then you have an eye to luxury for your renovation.

What is luxury? Dictionary.com defines luxury as:

  • a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity
  • a pleasure out of the ordinary allowed to oneself

So, when it comes to luxury in the bathroom, you would be looking for fixtures and additions that aren’t strictly necessary, but nevertheless give pleasure and enjoyment. A walk in shower fits into this category for many people. A tub and shower combination is functional, so a walk in shower with spa tub isn’t needed. On the other hand, a walk in shower and spa tub are beautiful and definitely enjoyable.

So, how do you maximize your luxury while minimizing your budget? First and foremost you want good quality. Good quality doesn’t have to come with a big price tag, though. Then, you want to go for looks. Just because something looks amazing doesn’t mean that it’s good quality. On the other hand, good quality rarely looks bad.

Faucets

Modern Single Handle Waterfall Bathroom Vanity Vessel Sink LED Faucet, Chrome
When it comes to faucets, the kind you get will depend on the configuration of your bathroom. For instance, you will need a different kind of faucet for a free standing tub than a tub with shower combo. If you are replacing a faucet, you will also need to consider the size and configuration of your current faucet for an easier installation.

For a walk in shower, wall mounted faucets are standard. In terms of quality, you need to look at the plumbing behind the wall as well as the visible faucet itself.

Sold brass is the most expensive option. It is also the most durable and will require the least amount of maintenance. If your budget doesn’t allow for solid brass, then a zinc-alloy is a good second choice. These are also durable, but they come with a plating which will wear off over time. When that plating wears off, the faucet will need to be replaced.

For the portion of the faucet that you see, the finish comes into play. You will need to balance resistance to scratching and showing watermarks with price. An important point is that you should look for a lifetime guarantee for the finish, no matter what you decide to get.

For a good overview of different finish options, please see:  The Home Depot’s Guide

Showerheads

With regards to the plumbing behind the wall, the same applies to a showerhead as to a faucet. Solid brass or zinc-alloy are what you should look for. When it comes to look and function, however, the playing field is wide open.

You can have a simple showerhead or multiple shower heads. There are single spray and adjustable spray options. As long as they get you wet, they are functional. But, if you want luxury, you want to upgrade to one of the advanced configurations.

The most luxurious showerhead configuration will have a fixed shower head or perhaps two for overhead water. These could be adjustable, or you could opt for a rain showerhead.

Then you would include a hand-held showerhead, which has a hose, usually about 5 feet, that sits in a bracket. This can be used standing as well as sitting; it’s fixed while in the bracket, but then can be removed for more through rinsing.

Very high end showers, such as Moen, have what they call a spa system that includes a higher fixed showerhead, hand-held shower head and multiple shower nozzles for massage. This fits the definition of luxury to a tee.

Tile

The Art of Tile: Designing with Time-Honored and New Tiles
How to pick and install bathroom tile would take a whole book to cover. Or at least multiple articles on several websites. However, below is a general overview, along with more resources.

1. You will want to choose the kind of tile you would like. Common options are ceramic, porcelain, and glass, which are also considered luxury. However, you also have other natural stones like marble and granite and metal tiles. Each will have not only it’s durability factor, but they offer different looks. Which you choose will depend upon your style and where in the bathroom you are using the tile.

2. Then you will want to choose the size of your tile. You will get a very different look if you tile with 1 inch square glass tiles then you will with an 18 inch marble tile. You may also want different sized tile. A smaller tile can make a great border for an overall design of very large tiles.

3. Then you will want to pick your grout. Did you know that you can get grout in different colors? Choose one almost the same color as your tile or choose one for a contrast. For example, you may want a chocolate brown grout for dark tiles, or you may opt for a cream grout for the same dark tiles. The end result will be very different, but they can both be beautiful.

Home Depot Buying Guide: Tile

HGTV: Bathroom Tile

Home Depot Project Guides

Setting Tile by Michael Byrne

Taunton’s Tiling Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Finish by Michael Schweit

Clearly, there are many different options and things to consider when creating a luxury walk in shower. The best way you can assure you get luxury is to learn a little about each material to find what the best material is – in other words the quality factor. Then, turn to the look that you want. Given the huge range of options, once you’ve narrowed it down to what material, you should be able to find a style that will fit whatever design you would like.

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