There are various ways to metamorphose the common shower into a luxurious retreat, however with so many different options, decisions can be difficult. "That's why people need to go to a professional showroom," says Jim Cheshire, showroom manager of Budge McHugh Supply Company. "The salesmen will help people get the right products to fit their lifestyles and desires." But in the absence of a Jim Cheshire to help you distinguish your shower-remodeling aspirations, here are some ideas to get you started.
First, you must decide how much money you wish to spend on your shower-remodeling project. Projects can range from an inexpensive simple switching of your existing showerhead, to a full-on re-tiling, re-plumbing creation. Second, you must determine how much water flow is available in your shower system. "Each system has a certain gallon per minute limit of water flow," explains Cheshire. "You can't have more water outlets than your system can handle." Cheshire suggests asking a plumber to test your system's water flow before purchasing shower amenities. Lastly, you must select what types of new showerheads, water sprays, or spa features you'd most like to install.
Save water, energy, and money by purchasing a low-flow showerhead. Manufacturers claim that it reduces water usage by 30 percent. Also known as an aerated showerhead, the low-flow showerhead uses air injection technology to reduce overall water output. Before shower water is released, small bubbles of air are injected into the water stream. The volume of water exiting the showerhead appears unchanged, resulting in a shower that feels as wet and strong as the standard shower. However, the low-flow showerhead only puts out 1.2 to 1.6 gallons of water per minute, whereas the federal standard showerhead puts out 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
Be earth and water friendly and go low-flow.
There are many different types of showerheads available on the market right now. Joe Kantor, owner of Joseph Kantor Construction, describes today's most popular type of showerhead: "The most popular item we install is a rain head, which is a type of showerhead built into the ceiling. You just stand under it and it feels like you are in a gigantic rainstorm, only you're naked and holding a bar of soap."
Also available are hand-held showerheads attached by a hose, which as Cheshire explains, are handy for personal hygiene and hosing down the shower after washing; massaging showerheads, which have adjustable settings for finding your ideal massage pressure; and eco-friendly (aerated) showerheads, which inject air into the water stream, thereby saving water and producing a luxurious deluge feeling.
Installing water sprays in your shower is another wonderful way to create a relaxing shower atmosphere. Water sprays are strategically placed at different levels in the shower wall, so that the water hits you at varying points along your body. Cheshire suggests installing four to six body sprays underneath your regular showerhead.
The most luxurious items in the shower market, however, are the spa-like elements: thermostatic showers and steam showers. "In a thermostatic shower you can set the water temperature like you can set the temperature in an oven. Instead of fiddling with the valve, trying to find the right spot for your comfort temperature, you simply set the dial," says Cheshire. The advantage of a thermostatic shower is that it holds a constant temperature regardless of varying outside weather, toilet flushes, or running dishwashers.
Steam showers also create the spa-retreat feeling in your own home. "Steam showers have a tank that creates steam and moisture that comes out through various heads located in a tightly-enclosed area," explains Kantor.
Of course, the ultimate shower would include a combination of the varying items mentioned. Cheshire mapped out one visionary creation, "One configuration is to first install a rain head, for when you want to get the whole body totally drenched. The man of the house seems to always be the one who wants to get drenched. Then you put in a standard showerhead on one wall, for the lady of the house who wants to be able to shower without getting her hair wet. Then you can also add a hand shower on an adjacent wall, some body sprays, and a bench." Just remember, the possibilities are only limited to your creativity — and your pocket book. Now, enjoy turning your everyday shower into a water wonderland!