Floor level showers in existing bathrooms
Frankfurt am Main, 01 October 2013 - Floor level showers are the latest trend. One reason is their attractive design and they also allow an effortless shower experience for everyone from children to older people. But how can an old shower be replaced by a barrier free alternative without renovating the entire bathroom? The brand manufacturers from the Blue Responsibility Initiative present solutions for any installation situation.
They used to be found only in stylish designer hotels, but today they are becoming increasingly popular for residential bathrooms: floor level showers. There are many reasons for this popularity, as Katrin May, Press Officer at Villeroy & Boch, explains. “Floor level showers turn a bathroom into a status symbol. They open up the room visually, making it appear bigger. The bathroom floor is no longer interrupted by a shower tray. At the same time, floor level showers ensure independent and effortless showering – for all generations.” An added advantage is that these showers are also particularly easy to clean. The demand has already increased significantly for new builds or full refurbishments. Where retrofitting is concerned, however, there is often a lot of uncertainty. The quality manufacturers from the German sanitaryware industry already offer numerous clever solutions which allow comfortable and safe retrofitting.
Checking the situation on site
There are different options for installing floor level showers: The first version is to tile the shower area and install a drain or a shower channel. Dirk Thielker, Head of Marketing at Viega, explains: “The uniform floor covering makes the bathroom appear even bigger and more harmonious.” At the same time, numerous sizes and shapes are possible as the drains or channels can be placed wherever desired. The flexible systems, for example from Viega, allow solutions up to 2.80 m length as well as corners or U-shapes – without expensive custom-made elements. The second option is the flush installation of a separate shower plate or shower tray. These are particularly easy to clean and are also available with special surface properties. The special anti slip enamel from Kaldewei, for example, offers more stability on a wet surface, making showering safer for everyone from children to older people.
Whether tiled or with a separate shower tray: It first has to be clarified how the water is supposed to drain. The crucial point here is the available height: the greater the height, the easier the installation of the draining solution. “The difference in the available installation height differs greatly between old and new buildings. Approximate values are 8 cm for very old buildings and up to 20 cm in new buildings,” Marcus Möllers explains. The available installation height is determined by drilling a small hole down to the concrete floor. Joachim Hildebrand, Product Manager at Mepa, advises: “Systems with a low height should be used to avoid makeshift solutions that involve breaking through floors and routing drain pipes below the ceiling of the lower floor.” Particularly flat installation systems, e.g. from Kaldewei, allow minimal installation heights of up to 49 mm under certain structural conditions. “Floor level showers can be installed without special systems and great expense from an available height of 11 cm. A few centimetres can be gained by creating a small recess in the concrete floor,” Möllers says. The last option is to divide the bathroom into two areas and work with a very small step in the floor. Marcus Möllers continues: “A step of only a few centimetres does not present an obstacle for most users while still providing safe entry and exit for the floor level shower area.”
The right drain solution for any installation situationOnce the available height has been determined, the drain system can be selected. The options include e.g. shower channels and round or corner drains. Dirk Thielker, Head of Marketing at Viega, knows: “Linear draining systems are clearly the most popular: Shower channels drain effectively, are flat and safe and integrate perfectly into floor level showers. With a super flat height of only 67 mm, they are also suitable for refurbishments as they usually fit into the existing building structure without any problems.”Alternatives are e.g. round or corner drains. These versions also provide extra flat solutions for working in existing bathrooms with installation heights from 62 mm. Viega systems of this type still achieve a drain flow of 0.4 to 0.5 litres per second. Mepa, for example, offer virtually invisible drain solutions. They will shorty be launching a special solution for difficult installation situations. All technical elements are conveniently installed inside the wall and the system is possible from a screed height of only 4 cm. “This is made possible by a so-called snake siphon which works according to the hydrostatic principle. Sewer gases are suppressed by the specific shape of the pipe. The waste water then hydraulically levels out between the bottom of the shower channel and the invert of the waste pipe and no height is wasted,” Joachim Hildebrand from Mepa explains.
Floor level showers can be implemented in nearly any installation situation, thanks to the innovative products from the German sanitaryware industry. And all without the extra costs that the complete refurbishment of a bathroom would entail. The modern shower solutions do not only satisfy the highest design requirements, they also meet the demands of all people and their individual capabilities. “Floor level showers are a long lasting investment that makes a bathroom suitable for all phases of life and all requirements. What is more, they elegantly combine convenience and aesthetic appeal,” Wolfgang Burchard, spokesman of the Blue Responsibility Initiative, recapitulates.