With the coming and going of the popularity of whether to have a part of your shower taken up by a sitting area. Here we will discuss the different types of shower pan benches for consideration when you are in the planning stages of your new shower.
Your options when designing a shower pan bench area
Placement to where you want your shower bench will largely depend on the size or your shower, the larger the shower the more options you have. Consider the standard size shower is 3’ x 5’ with the plumbing wall on the short side on either of the walls. The wall on the opposite side or the shower head is the most common placement, but I have seen them directly under the shower head on more than a few occasions. This placement also is common for 4’ x 5’ or 4’ x 6’ shower size also. Also to consider is a triangle corner bench, which are popular as they give a place to sit or use as a leg shaver area, but don’t take up the whole wall!
Once you get into showers larger you can put a full-length shower bench on the back wall, incorporating an “L” shape configuration either full length or partially, just in one corner or both! Especially when rain head, handhelds, and body wash systems are used in combination with wall mount shower heads, I’ve seen many showers with a combination of benches and plumbing fixtures that can accentuate the joy of taking a shower!
Styles of shower pan benches
The basic two styles of benches can be categorized as full faced and floating. A full faced bench will have a front and side(s) face along with the top that will be waterproofed and tiled. On the other hand, a full floating bench will only have a top with no front or side face(s) which will be the top, the face band and bottom will need to be waterproofed and tiled. The area below the bench remains open to give the shower a more open look, and for some an easier feel to sit down as they can tuck the feet under. Just a matter of preference in look and style. As a rule, floating benches have more work and therefore at times more cost to you and for all the trades involved.
Construction of your shower pan bench
There are a couple of build methods or a combination of them that you will need to decide. We have again two options on the construction of your shower pan bench, onsite build or prefab units. Onsite build gives you more options as to design and styles, especially if you are doing any curved or angled areas. Prefab units have come a long way and are diffidently a choice to consider for the DIY’er. Laticrete and tile ready are a few of the companies that make a variety of shapes and sizes of full faced shower pan benches. Amazon carries other companies as well. Better Bench has been a go to in the industry for a long bit and covers the floating bench style in both rectangle and triangle styles, a tile setters’ choice as it uses an aluminum frame and takes a mud(mortar) base for material adhesion, it can be installed either before or after the tile installation. The other prefab manufactures use their proprietary waterproofing material that you tile directly on. Prefab units are a cost saver but with anything there are trade offs when using certain products, do your due diligence on the ins and outs of what you can expect from these options.
Things to remember
- It is always easier to make something bigger when it comes to your bench design! Keep in mind that there are both rough and finish dimensions that need to be accounted for! It depends on what type of backer material you have decided to use. Be it a float and set, hardi-backer or other types of sheet goods. Plus, the thickness of your material itself. Again, it is much easier to stack things out than to demo and rebuild if the dimensions are built too big in the rough!
- Make clear to your contractor where you want the finish edge to be! Height, depth, and width! Putting a slight pitch on the bench top tiles keeps it neat without puddles!
- Using a trim on the edge that is soft on the legs is always a nice touch.
Having a shower pan bench is a great addition, giving you an extra spot to enjoy the great feeling one gets during a relaxing and cleansing shower to refresh oneself after a long day at work, a workout, or that wake up in the morning!
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