What is a Barrier-Free Shower Base? - NJ Bathroom Remodeling & Bathroom Renovation
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What is a Barrier-Free Shower Base?

A barrier-free shower base is a comfortable, safe, and convenient option for a bathroom remodel. It is leak-proof, has a slip-resistant surface, and very low thresholds for easy access. The materials used to create a barrier-free shower base makes it a hygienic alternative to other bathroom flooring options. It can be combined with marble, ceramic tile and any type of wall finish to create a beautiful shower enclosure.

A barrier-free shower base does not have a curb but is designed with a very low edge for easy access. Splash walls may be installed on the other three sides of the base to help direct water into the drain. The primary feature of this type of shower base is that it does not have any barriers on entry, which provides easy access for individuals with limited or impaired mobility.

Main Features of a Barrier-Free Shower Base

  • Accessibility and Design

One of the primary reasons why barrier-free showers have increased in popularity is because it comes with an endless number of design possibilities. Their zero-point entry profile gives it a modern look and can blend with a variety of style aesthetics. They are available in different shapes, colors, and sizes and you have the freedom to choose a contemporary or traditional design based on your style and preferences. A barrier-free shower base creates a spa-like retreat and can be used in both residential and commercial buildings.

It has less visual clutter that helps to keep the bathroom light and airy. Its open nature maximizes accessibility to all users regardless of size, age or physical ability. The seamless flow of the floors makes the bathroom appear larger as it maximizes square footage.

  • Waterproofing

Barrier-free showers have a waterproofing membrane installed underneath the tile or stone finish. They are quite different from traditional shower systems where the waterproofing membranes were installed at the bottom of the mortar bed. The installation system used on barrier-free showers provides a complete waterproofing connection between the drain and the membrane thus eliminating the need for a fully bulky thick mortar bed.

However, it is quite difficult to separate the ‘dry area’ from the ‘wet area’ since barrier-free showers do not confine moisture to the shower alone. This means that the bathroom needs to be well protected against moisture and water to keep it in good condition over a long period. You can choose to use a sheet membrane or a waterproofing membrane as both utilize different methods but provide the same level of protection.

  • Type of Slope

The type of slope is one of the most essential aspects of a barrier-free shower base as it helps to control the water flow. Water can cause significant damage to the surrounding areas if the slope is not installed properly. Recessing the floor of a barrier-free shower needs to be done in a manner that preserves the safety and structural integrity of the bathroom. You may require the skill and expertise of a qualified design professional such as an engineer or an architect to pull off such a task.

Multiple slopes may be required for a bonding flange drain that is centrally located to ensure correct water flow and drainage. Most experts recommend a linear drain as it only requires a single slope. This means that it can be easily installed with a linear pre-sloped shower pan.

Why Install a Barrier-Free Shower Base?

A barrier-free shower base is designed with no curbs or entry barriers and the gentle slope results in greater accessibility. Unlike traditional showers, it does not require a shower door or a shower curtain, which creates an illusion of a spacious bathroom. Another advantage of installing a barrier-free shower base is that its one-sided slope provides a timesaving installation and easier cleaning sessions. It can be used by people of different ages and is more convenient for people with a disability or limited mobility.

A barrier-free shower base is highly versatile as it gives you the freedom to implement your bathroom design ideas. The minimalistic design offers low maintenance and drains water more quickly and efficiently when installed properly. This makes it easier to clean and helps you maintain a high level of hygiene compared to other shower models.

There is no doubt that a barrier-free shower base has much to offer especially for individuals with limited or impaired mobility. The durable material used is highly resistant to dirt, grime, and moisture, which helps to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Installing a barrier-free shower base in an accessible bathroom is a good idea as it is designed for safety, comfort, and durability.