- The story of the water pouring down from above
- Showers – from simple to complex
- Choosing a shower cabin – criteria
In this Article: A History of Shower Systems types of shower cabins designs; functions and cost; selection criteria for shower cabins.
For many centuries, mankind was forced to wash, using simple plumbing in the form of a container with warm water. Hundreds of years later, a new, more convenient and profitable opportunity to take a bath, called a shower, appeared. It was the shower and shower cabins that made it possible to reduce the time allotted for water procedures and ensure full body hygiene. How were the shower installations familiar to us created, what models are offered by a modern manufacturer, a sales area and an online plumbing store, finally – how to choose them?
The story of the water pouring down from above
The peoples of the past especially appreciated bathing under the stream of water – the water flowing from above washed the body much more efficiently than when washing in quickly polluted artificial or natural reservoirs. The only natural source of falling water was waterfalls, and those of them that were not far from the villages were in constant demand among those who wanted to wash in the warm season..
In everyday life, there was only one way to reproduce a “waterfall” for bathing – to fill a jug with water and, raising the bather over his head, pour out the water. This technique of ablution was widely used by the most noble and wealthy townspeople of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, arranging special rooms-showers in their estates, where the servants poured over them with heated water from above, and the polluted water went through gutters specially made in the floor with a slope to the street.
The prototype of modern showers was created by the ancient Greeks around 400 BC. The rooms of the showers were discovered by archaeologists during the excavations of Pergamum, and they are also depicted on ceramic vases created more than 2000 years ago. In ancient Greek cities, there was a water supply and sewerage system formed by stone aqueducts and lead pipes – water was delivered to the premises of public showers, which were used on equal terms by aristocrats and commoners. It is noteworthy that the ancient Greek showers were very similar to modern ones – they even had niches in the walls, where visitors put their clothes before bathing..
The Romans adopted the custom of washing in the shower from the Greeks, who built and equipped premises for this purpose in every city of the Roman Empire. The citizens of the empire used the shower regularly, bathing at least once a week. About 500 A.D. The Roman Empire fell, the plumbing and sewerage systems created by its engineers soon fell into disrepair and ceased to function.
The shower was re-invented only in the 19th century (around 1810) by the British – the shower installation was a set of several metal pipes, the last of which was curved and equipped with a spray. Water entered the shower from the pool, pumped manually, after bathing, the water returned back to the reservoir and again pumped into the installation – this cycle was repeated several times, then the pool was emptied, cleaned and fresh water was poured into it. By 1850, the English shower installation underwent a series of upgrades, models with multiple nozzles were created and finally a unit that was connected to a running water source appeared..
A complete transition from bathrooms to shared showers was made in 1872 in the French army barracks and prisons – the shower system for these institutions was created by the French doctor François Delabost. The experience of France interested Prussia and Austria – the Germans followed the path of the French, organizing showers in prisons, barracks and other public institutions, and the Austrians went further, equipping public baths in Vienna with showers in 1887.
Despite the obvious convenience of showers, until the 50s of the last century they were not in demand – the urban and rural population preferred traditional methods and means for bathing. In the middle of the 20th century, the attitude towards bathing changed dramatically – body hygiene became an obligatory norm. And in this case, the shower installation turned out to be irreplaceable, because allowed to wash in a few minutes and with significantly less water consumption – filling the bathtub will require about 140 liters, and bathing in the shower will take only 40 liters, i.e. 3.5 times less. The increased popularity of bathing in the shower has caused a demand for such installations, so global manufacturers of sanitary equipment have started to actively modernize them, having developed shower stalls of complex design and technical equipment, at the same time creating bathroom furniture focused on shower enclosures.
Showers – from simple to complex
By design, shower cabins are divided into open, closed and partition cubicles. Cabins of the latter type are the simplest in design and are intended for public showers. But we will examine the cabins of the first two types more closely …
Open shower cabins consist of two elements – a pallet on which the bather stands and curtains that isolate the cabin from the rest of the room, as well as prevent water from entering the floor. Pallets for open cabins are produced in the widest range, they can be of different shapes and made of different materials. The most popular shower trays are square, rectangular, pentagonal and radial (1/4 circle). Materials of execution include enamelled cast iron, steel, acrylic, ceramics and marble.
Fences for open showers are framed and frameless, and outwardly they are often similar – sheets of plastic or glass are inserted into the frame, and frameless showers are closed only with tempered glass. Frameless fencing, it should be noted, requires a perfectly flat surface of the base, walls and ceiling at the installation site, otherwise it will be difficult to expose it. Railings, depending on the model, can have either a regular geometric shape or a complex curved.
The cost of open shower cabins depends on the materials of execution and the manufacturer, the cheapest frame models will cost the buyer about 8,000 rubles, the price of frameless models reaches 100,000 rubles.
Closed shower cabins are equipped with a significant set of functions, compared to open models, which only allow you to take a shower: controlled water pressure and temperature; adjustable number and location of water jets coming to the bather from all directions inside the cabin; steam generation (steam room effect); aroma and light therapy; hydromassage; infrared heating; touchscreen telephone communication, radio and stereo system, video monitor; bather’s seats. There are models of closed cabins that allow you not only to take a shower, but also to lie in the bathtub inside them. Each booth of this type is completely isolated from the room in which it is installed, you just need to connect communications to it – water, sewage and electricity. Models of closed shower cabins are demanding on the height of the ceilings at the installation site – the distance from the top of the cab to the plane of the ceiling must be at least 200 mm, their grounding is mandatory. In addition to open-air shower cabins, which are located anywhere inside the room, there are built-in models – they are placed in a pre-prepared niche in the wall, they look like a room. Prices for closed shower cabins start from 15,000 rubles, bath cabins cost from 60,000 rubles, built-in cabins will cost the buyer from 90,000 rubles. and higher.
Choosing a shower cabin – criteria
The decision to purchase one or another model of a shower cabin should be based on several factors, including: the amount you have for this purchase; required cockpit functionality; its overall dimensions; materials of manufacture; design features.
Shower cabin price.The cheapest models are open, with a frame and walls made of plexiglass – their functions are reduced to taking a shower and, in the case of more expensive models equipped with the necessary nozzles, a hydromassage. Models of the middle price segment (30,000–50,000 rubles) are represented by open and closed cabins – the first of them are usually frameless and fenced with tempered glass, the latter combine glass and plastic. Shower cabins of this group have a wider range of functions than models of the lower price segment – as a rule, this is the functionality of adjusting the water pressure, its temperature and the direction of water flow.
Models of the upper price segment of shower cabins have the largest number of options, including built-in telephone equipment, a stereo system and a TV. Materials and equipment used in their production and decoration are not cheap in themselves – natural wood and stone, electronic control system.
It is important to determine the set of really necessary functions, which will allow you to narrow your search within the price segments – why buy a shower cabin at a high price, the capabilities of which you will not use to the full?
Shower cabin design.Open cabins with frame and frameless fencing must be assembled at the installation site, the wider their functions, the more complex the installation process. Closed cabins do not need to be assembled – you install them indoors, connect communications and use them. Built-in models are interesting – such a cabin looks especially organic in the house, because allows outdoor decoration to match the overall design of the premises.
Shape and dimensions.Radial shower models save space in the bathroom because installed in a corner. Do not create blind spots in a cab with sliding doors – make sure the sliding rollers are chromed or non-ferrous for a long service life. If there is enough space in the bathroom, then feel free to choose a model with hinged doors – it will cost a little less. Pay attention to the internal space of the shower cabin – the minimum dimensions of the cabins are 700×700 mm, however, this space will be very, very small for a bather, it is much better if the length of the sides is 900 mm or more. The dimensions of the shower stall must be chosen based on the physical data of the household – its future users.
Pallet material.Steel and cast iron pallets have a long service life, however, water falls on them with a rather loud noise (especially in the case of a steel pallet), and a layer of enamel will eventually cover chips and cracks. Finally, the contact of bare feet with cold metal is accompanied by discomfort – you will need to heat such a tray with a stream of hot water before taking a shower.
Ceramic trays are significantly warmer in feel than metal ones, but are prone to mechanical damage – even dropping the handle that scatters water can damage the ceramic.
Acrylic pallets almost instantly heat up to an acceptable temperature, in case of damage to their surface, you can restore them with a special repair kit yourself, without involving specialists – they will last a long time. Their disadvantage is associated with the low rigidity of the plastic, a high-quality frame is required to prevent sagging under the weight of the bather.
Pallets made of artificial and natural stone have the highest characteristics among others – they are resistant to mechanical damage, do not change shape under the weight of a person, quickly warm up and retain heat well. There is one drawback of stone pallets – among all other types of pallets, they are the most expensive.
The standard depth of the pallet container is 100 mm, which is quite comfortable for most users. If you want the levels of the pallet and the floor in the bathroom to match, you will need a pallet with a depth of 50 mm or less. The shallow pallet is suitable for older households who find it difficult to cross the higher cabin threshold. It is imperative to have a relief at the bottom of the pallet, which prevents a person from falling while swimming.
Cab perimeter fences.If you intend to install the shower cabin yourself, then choose frame models – the best frame material for them will be lightweight, durable and stainless aluminum. Plastic railing is cheaper than glass, its installation is easier, however, plastic will not work for a cabin with the “steam bath” function, only glass or wood.
Shower cabin manufacturer.On the domestic market, in each price segment of shower cabins, there are models from both Russian, for example, Aquanet and Radomir, and foreign manufacturers – Germany, Spain, Italy, Finland and China. At the same time, the products of European manufacturers are considered exceptionally high-quality, and the models of Russian and Chinese production are questionable, it will be incorrect – the quality of assembly, correctness of lines and the absence of any damage, manufacturers of mechanical and electronic filling of cabins, terms and conditions of manufacturer’s warranty will be decisive.