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Install a Shower Enclosure

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Dear Pat: I am planning to remodel my bathroom. It has a shower, and I am limited on space, but my budget is open. What type of shower enclosure is best for a luxurious look and to make the room seem larger? — Cathy E.

Dear Cathy: Remodeling a bathroom is usually full of compromises between wish lists and budgets, so this will be fun with an open budget. The three key items that will influence the style and decor of your new bathroom are the sink, floor/wall covering and shower enclosure, and they are all interrelated.

In order to make your bathroom appear larger than it actually is, you will want to select smaller fixtures, light colors and see-through partitions. Definitely select a pedestal-style sink so the bottom is open and you can see past it. Add a small recessed medicine cabinet, but you will have to store most items in another closet or cabinet outside the bathroom.

Decorative ceramic tile would be my preferred wall and floor finish if my budget were open. There are some very attractive European designs that will work well for both the room and the shower area. Using darker tile accents will provide contrast without making the bathroom appear smaller and dark. Consider installing a vented skylight tube for the shower area for natural light.

All-glass shower enclosures are very popular today, and installing one would be ideal for your smaller bathroom. They are completely see-through for openness. Also, it would be a shame to have your beautiful new tile walls hidden behind some standard sliding shower doors with obscure glass.

All-glass enclosures or doors also have many practical advantages.

If you have ever tried to keep the frame and tracks clean and mildew free on standard bypass doors, you will appreciate the easy cleaning features of the new doors. With no frame or track, you just run a squeegee over the glass when you are finished showering to wipe off the water.

Good-quality glass shower enclosures use 3/8- or 1/2-inch-thick glass, so they can be very heavy. The floor around the shower must be strong enough to handle the weight. They are not recommended for doors on fiberglass showers for this reason.

Most home center stores should be able to order a custom-size enclosure, for you or contact these manufacturers for names of local retail outlets: Artistcraft Group (866) 789-3338 and Basco (866) 686-5435.

If you are planning to rearrange the layout of your shower in the bathroom, you will have many options with a complete glass shower enclosure. A neo-angle design is particularly attractive and uses minimal floor area. Many standard rectangular shapes are also available with various door options.

Hardware and trim finish options include brass, chrome, satin brass, brushed nickel and gold plating. These parts usually have a several-year warranty, and the heavy glass includes a lifetime warranty. The hardware is often brass-based, so clean it gently for a lasting finish.

The doors on these enclosures require a small gap for clearance when they open. This may allow a small amount of water to escape onto the tile floor which should not be a problem. Flexible vinyl door seals are available, but they may detract from the open appearance. If you install a steam generator in the shower, door seals will be required.

Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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