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Shower screen buying guide

Shower screen buying guide

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

Guide written by:

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

59 guides

A great alternative to a shower enclosure, shower screens mean you can fit a walk-in shower into your bathroom. An essential component of all modern bathrooms, available in a range of options, made from acrylic or safety glass... here are all of our tips to help you buy the best shower screen.

Important features

  • Size
  • Material
  • Type
  • Wall channels
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There are several benefits to shower screens compared to shower curtains: they let light through, they are water-tight, robust and easy to clean.

Beyond their design, the screen provides easy access to the shower for disabled people or those with limited mobility. Unless you simply can't let go of your stripy shower curtain, making the decision to close off your shower with a screen is an excellent one. It will add comfort and style to your bathroom. Let's take a look at the various features that, besides the style, are important from a practical point of view. The amount of room allocated to your shower will help you to quickly narrow down your choice.

Safety glass

Shower screens are made from safety glass, a type of glass that is highly shock and heat resistant. It should be between 3 - 8 mm thick. The thicker it is, the sturdier it will be, although it will also be heavier to handle and install.

Glass is the most commonly used material for shower screens, whether frosted, granite-textured, screen-printed or transparent. The addition of some sort of pattern is recommended to protect privacy and enhance opacity. Glass shower screens with anti-limescale treatments are also a must-have. They require less maintenance because they accumulate less limescale.

PVC or acrylic

PVC or acrylic shower screens are more affordable than glass. Although they're ideal if you're on a budget, they're not so common nowadays because they don't look as nice or last as long as glass.

Shower screens normally measure between 180 - 200 cm tall and 70 - 140 cm wide. These are the standard measurements and are usually reversible.

If you can't find the right size for you, there is always the custom-made option, but it might take some time to produce depending on the manufacturer.

It is highly recommended not to fit the screen all the way to the ceiling as this will prevent steam from escaping and will result in damp in the bathroom.

Fixed screens

In most cases, these single screens act like a wall, leaving entry entirely open. With this set-up, it's important to make sure the screen is long enough, to avoid flooding the rest of the bathroom. They can be combined with a shower door to fully enclose the shower area.

Fixed screens with a hinged panel

Hinge-mounted, the small hinged panel measuring 30 to 45 cm lets you partially close off the area to prevent water splashing.

Open on both sides

This type of wet-room walk-in shower requires a large bathroom, with a single screen installed parallel to the wall giving access to the shower from both sides.

Heated screens

How often do you worry about getting cold when you get out of the shower? If "often" is your answer, then it's good to know these exist! This screen lets you heat up the shower area a few degrees, providing optimum comfort!

Space-saving folding shower screens

The main constraint when buying a shower screen is the large size. Even a basic model can easily be 1 metre wide, which can quickly prove problematic depending on the size of your shower room. So what about folding screens? These can be folded away after using the shower to gain precious square footage.

Screens with built-in storage

Looking for more storage in your bathroom? Then a shower screen with built-in storage is just the thing for you! Recommended for small bathrooms as they help you make the most of the available space.

When buying your shower screen, we strongly recommend choosing a model with anti-limescale treatment. It doesn't just come down to the price difference - it's an important choice to make.

With an anti-limescale treatment, the screen is treated with polymer technology on the glass surface. In other words, any unevenness will be removed to make the screen uniform.

All imperfections are flattened out, leaving the surface of the glass smooth, preventing water from gathering and leaving limescale deposits.

Shower screens are held up by wall channels and/or extendable support bars that, depending on the quality and finish, come in two main materials.

  • PVC is the entry-level option - lightweight, it is available in a range of colours and metal hues.
  • Aluminium offers better quality and generally comes in a chrome finish although it is also available in frosted or matt versions.

Note that wall channels normally feature a rubber seal to ensure better waterproofing when it comes to attaching your screen to the wall. Shower screen fixtures are normally included, but are also sold separately.

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Shower screen and door fittings

Shower screens comprise a glass panel and a wall fixture, itself made up of 2 metal channels that slot one into another (some screens only come with one vertical wall channel and an extendible wall-attached support bar).

As a rule of thumb, there's no need to attach it to the floor, as the weight of the glass ensures the stability of the entire set-up. Installation is relatively easy if you have decent tools and some DIY skills.

As for maintenance, we recommend using a damp cloth soaked in non-abrasive cleaners. You will obtain the best results by using standard glass cleaner available in cleaning products aisles.

The mix of alkaline substances and moisture has a detrimental effect on glass. So we'd like to draw your attention to the fact that you should never clean the shower screen with highly acidic cleaning products.

To keep your shower in tip-top condition, without spending excessive amounts of time cleaning, get yourself a squeegee and use it after every shower! However, if the tap water is hard (mineral) and you need to descale the shower screen, then anti-limescale products are just the thing - along with granny's cleaning tips.

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Guide written by:

Anne, Painter, Cambridge, 59 guides

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

After 8 years of trade, I turned professional: I trained myself to be a painter and carpet fitter, either on my own or with 16 year old comrades. 9 months later, following vocational training, I created my company. I’m a self-taught DIYer and decoration enthusiast, I love to find and restore furniture and to create unique decoration pieces. I completed the renovation of my sister’s house with my niece: electrics, tiling, plasterboard...we did it all. And today, if I can share my experience I'm happy to do it. Good Luck.  

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