Today, showering is the most popular bathing method for busy households. Soaking in a bathtub has become something of a luxury—both because of the time it takes to pour and enjoy a bath and because of the amount of water a full tub consumes. Just filling a whirlpool bath can take 10 minutes and require more than 60 gallons; a low-flow showerhead will deliver 7 to 10 gallons of water during a 4-minute shower.
The act of showering began when the earliest beings stepped beneath a waterfall to cleanse their bodies. Using a shower that held and delivered water for bathing dates back to Ancient Greece, where showering was recorded on murals and vases.
Showers are also preferred over bathtubs because they clean the body more effectively and are easier to maintain. Dirt and bacteria are immediately washed down the drain. They are also easier and safer for the elderly and handicapped to climb into and out of.
The downside of a shower is that, because it sprays water, can regularly put more moisture into the air and onto the walls and floor than a bathtub. A properly built and enclosed shower is critical to the integrity of a bathroom. The heavy flow of water raining down on the interior surfaces of a shower must be shed by the walls and drained away by the floor pan to prevent mildew, mold, and moisture damage.
Showers may be custom built or installed as prefabricated integral units which may or may not include a bathtub. Many options are available. In this section of HomeTips, you will gain an overview of the many types and receive help with making informed design and buying decisions. You will also find important DIY tips for proper installation, care, and repair.