During the last decade, the shower has undergone a metamorphosis, especially in newly built or remodeled master baths. Showers are now a focal point that can set the tone for the entire bathroom. Central to the transformation of the shower has been the introduction of functionally and technologically superior showerheads, light therapy (chromatherapy), aromatherapy, steam, music systems, bluetooth applications and many other products that enable homeowners to convert what was once viewed primarily as a utilitarian area into a personal design statement and in-home refuge.
Open floor plans have become increasingly popular in kitchens, great rooms and combination rooms. Open floor plans foster family togetherness while making a home appear larger and more spacious. The bathroom is no exception to the popularity of open floor plans thanks to advances in shower and drain technology and performance. Because today’s drains are capable of removing tens of gallons of water without ponding, showroom professionals, designers and their customers now have a blank canvas to use their space more creatively, efficiently and safely.
Open floor plan baths can feature open showers, also known as walk-in showers or curbless showers. These spaces are not restricted by the need to have four walls and an opening for a separate shower stall. Open floor plan baths can make a smaller space more functional, and appear larger and more aesthetically pleasing. Walk-in showers also do not require a threshold, making shower access easier for those who may be aging-in-place or planning to do so, as well as those who are mobility impaired.
Walk-in showers also offer a cool factor that many homeowners, builders and designers may not be familiar with. Open and more aesthetically pleasing bathrooms are not the only benefits occasioned by new drain technology. Drains are now incorporated into tiles that can be positioned anywhere in the bath. Channel drains, also referred to as linear drains, offer similar benefits. Drains are no longer required to be in the center of a sloped shower basin – these drains can be positioned almost anywhere in the bathroom.
Flexibility is another great benefit that linear drains offer to designers, builders and homeowners. Because linear drains only need to be pitched in one direction, homeowners have a blank canvas to use when selecting the size and composition of their floor covering. Another advantage is that linear drains do not limit customers to 4 by 4-inch tile or stone. Before the advent of linear drains, 4 by 4-inch or smaller dimension material was required for the shower floor. Linear drains now make it possible to specify any large format floor material for the shower floor, providing more options and a cleaner and consistent image.