Curbless showers are a type of custom shower design that has become quite popular. Curbed showers, enclosed showers, and bathtub showers are tried and true and work well. So, in this article, I will cover the pros and cons of a curbless shower.
Overall, the advantages of a curbless shower are it makes a bathroom feel more spacious, it’s easier to get in and out of the shower, and it makes the tile work more visible. The disadvantages are it needs to be installed very well to avoid overflowing water, and there can be not as much privacy.
The amount of privacy depends on whether a shower curtain or shower wall is installed or not. In general, the advantages far outweigh the positives of curbless showers.
Below, is a more in-depth summary of the key advantages and disadvantages of curbless showers, as well as, the key considerations for getting and installing a curbless shower.
The Advantages of Curbless Showers
Curbless showers have many advantages both in practicality and visual appeal. Here’s a list of the advantages of curbless showers.
1. Good for people with limited physical mobility such as the elderly
An advantage of a curbless shower is that you don’t need to lift your feet at all when you enter the shower. If someone has limited mobility, for example, they are in a wheelchair, they have bad knees, or are older and reduced muscle strength, it makes getting in and out of the shower FAR easier.
Even if you are in good physical shape not having to step over the curb is much easier, and it’s smoother and more enjoyable getting in and out of the shower.
2. Easier to clean compared to a curbed shower
It’s necessary to mop your bathroom reasonably often. The advantage of there being no curb is it’s easier to mop the floor. Rather than needing to stop and start, you can make long continuous strokes along the floor.
The curb itself doesn’t need to be cleaned separately. The base of a curbed shower can have a bathtub or a shower pan. But, with a curbless shower, there isn’t one. Therefore, there are fewer small spaces that accumulate grime and sometimes mold. So, it’s less work overall to clean.
3. Feels more wide open and spacious
The curb on a curbed shower creates a visual illusion that makes the bathroom feel more disconnected and smaller than a curbless shower. By contrast, a curbless shower feels like there is more room in the bathroom. A related reason why this is the case is that a curbless shower doesn’t necessarily need a shower curtain or a 3rd and 4th wall.
4. You don’t need a shower curtain or door
A curbless shower can be left completely open and doesn’t need a shower curtain or extra walls to close it off. It’s more flexible and you can choose to have one or not. Whereas, with an enclosed shower, or bathtub shower it’s expected there will be walls or a shower curtain. This adds the feeling of space in a bathroom.
5. It can be installed in any sized bathroom
A curbless shower is completely custom so it can be made to fit any space. Bathtub showers and enclosed showers have particular dimensions that need to be planned out so that they fit.
The other factor that makes this possible is that a curbless shower doesn’t need a curtain or additional walls. So, the only space requirement is what will feel comfortable when showering. And keeping other fixtures far enough away that they don’t get water on them.
6. You can enjoy the tile work more
If you install high-quality tiles and have them professionally installed a curbless shower will allow you a better view of them. It also won’t interrupt the tile design. This overall allows you to enjoy a high-quality tile floor more than with a curbed shower.
That’s all of the pros of curbless showers. Now, on to the cons of a curbless shower.
The Disadvantages of Curbless Shower
Curbless showers don’t have that many disadvantages, and they are relatively minor. Here’s a rundown of the disadvantages of a curbless shower.
1. It needs to be installed correctly to avoid water run off
A curbless shower needs to be installed with a slight pitch to it, or at least be perfectly flat. If it isn’t the water that accumulates after a shower can begin running all over the bathroom floor. And in extreme cases can run towards the door.
Therefore, care needs to be taken to allow for a slight pitch to the base of a curbless shower. Or to the entire shower floor so that water runs towards the drain.
2. It’s not as private if no shower curtain or wall are installed
It’s can be common in a busy household for someone to need to use the bathroom while a person is taking a shower. Or, you may forget to lock the door, and someone accidentally walks in.
A curbless shower can be installed so that it doesn’t have a shower curtain or a wall that will steam up. This provides less privacy in cases when someone is using the bathroom when someone else is taking a shower. Or, needs to come in quickly to grab something.
Can You Do a Curbless Shower in a Small Bathroom
A curbless shower is a custom type of shower that is modified based on the space requirements in a bathroom. Small bathrooms require careful planning to allow enough space for everything. But, here’s if it’s possible to do a curbless shower in a small bathroom.
In general, you can do a curbless shower in a small bathroom. One of the advantages of a curbless shower is that it has no minimum space requirement. It also doesn’t need a shower wall or curtain. The main consideration is to allow enough space around the shower so the other fixtures don’t get wet.
Or, be aware that they will get wet and plan on having a cloth or squeegee handy to remove splashes.
For example, if the toilet or vanity unit is too close the water will also splash onto them. In some countries such as Thailand, the shower head is intentionally installed very close to the toilet, and it’s accepted that the toilet will be thoroughly drenched after a shower.
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal choice how close or far the other fixtures are to the shower head. But, it’s not a good idea to have a wooden vanity unit so close to the shower head that it gets wet often. This can damage the wood.
How Do You Walk in a Curbless Shower
A curbless shower has a continuous floor throughout the entire bathroom or a different type of tile is used for a designated area below the shower head.
One concern can be slipping on the tiles of a curbless shower, and walking in and out of the area where the shower head is. So, this is how walking works when using a curbless shower.
Overall, a non-slip tile or very small tiles such as penny tiles should be installed on the shower pan. Doing so gives the shower floor good traction so that there is far less risk of slipping when walking on the tiles when they are wet.
A wall made of see-through glass or a shower curtain can be installed to keep water inside a curbless shower. The area directly below the shower, if properly installed will also have a slight angle to it toward the shower drain.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.