Continuous home innovation has seen the rise of spectacular devices like the shower bench. A shower bench, also known as a transfer bench, is a seat fitted into a shower wall and floor, or it can be a stand-alone seat.
Is the shower bench any given seat, or is there a standard size suitable for its use?
The standard size for a shower bench, supported by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a height of 17-20 inches and a depth of 15-16 inches. The standard size for a slim-built person is 14 inches and can stretch to 36 inches. The length of the shower bench depends on the size of the shower.
Also worth noting is the amount of weight a shower bench can carry. Ideally, the shower bench should be 10lbs heavier than its user.
The ADA suggests that a shower bench can hold up to 250 lbs.
There isn’t one given use of a shower bench. Over the years and since its patented inception in 1973, the shower bench’s uses have evolved from mobility to lifestyle.
One of the core uses of a shower bench is to sit down in the shower. If I am injured or sick and do not wish to or cannot stand in the shower, I have the option to sit down. This will avoid the risk of worsening my injury and pain.
Similarly, if I am in a wheelchair, I can use the shower bench to safely transition into the shower without help from another person and without the risk of falling or risking an accident.
Shower benches are now being used as storage. Since it is already part of bathroom space, it makes sense to store bath necessities and cosmetic items and save the trouble of transferring these items to and from bathroom shelves after every bath session.
If I am a constant traveler, I would want to carry my portable shower bench with me wherever I go.
Hygiene is not guaranteed in every travel destination, so to avoid health hazards due to unhygienic showers, the shower bench best comes into play.
Home bathrooms are now being remodeled to have a spa-like feel. This is particularly useful after spending a long day at work.
Instead of spending money and going to the spa, I relax and enjoy the steam from my shower in the comfort of my home.
A shower bench is convenient for personal grooming activities such as shaving legs while in the bathroom. It will act as a support for the leg for easy access. Parents also use baby-shower chairs as they bathe their infants to avoid the strain of excessive bending.
There are different types of shower benches depending on the purpose of installation or purchase.
This bench is fitted onto the shower wall and floor. It is a planned feature during construction or maybe renovated upon need and request.
It can be tiled along with the rest of the bathroom width or fitted in a corner.
There is the foldable and portable shower bench that travelers like to use and the fold-down shower bench that is fixed to the shower wall.
They are both considered to save up space as they are ideally a smaller size than the standard size of shower benches.
This shower bench acts as a commode chair that has wheels for mobility out of the shower and over a toilet seat. It is most convenient for those in wheelchairs or the elderly.
A floating shower is like a build-in shower, the only difference being that it has space for movement beneath the seat. It is not attached to the floor, but the wall only.
As the name suggests, this shower bench stands o its own and can be moved away from the shower at will. Most of these shower benches have rubber feet for support against slippery floors. Smaller sizes are used as baby shower benches.
Once you decide to install a shower bench, aside from size and type, it is crucial to know the material. This is because some materials corrode with water and steam over time, and this, in turn, may cause skin irritation and reactions and, in more serious cases, cancerous lesions.
Getting the right material will ensure the safety of use and longevity of your shower bench.
The ideal materials are teak wood, granite, marble, tile, and quartz. All have upsides and downsides but are ideally preferred to their plastic and metal counterparts.
Plastic and metal are mainly used for free-standing shower benches and folding shower benches for travelers.
Important points to consider when choosing the material are the budget, maintenance, and aesthetic of the shower bench.
Aesthetically, granite and marble are classy, beautiful, and easy to carve the design. They are both porous stones, meaning water will seep in with time, damaging the stone.
For this reason, it needs to be sealed, and sealants wear off with time, especially with constant exposure to water.
The shower bench will need to be re-sealed from time to time, providing high maintenance. Granite and marble are also expensive stones.
Tile is generally affordable, and a shower bench would be easy to integrate since the tile will run from the shower walls onto the bench.
The tile is simple aesthetically since the color of the shower wall will be the same as the shower bench. It is not for you if you prefer contrast and a sense of style.
It also tends to stain with time, and the stains can be hard to clean.
Teak is the preferred wood to use for shower benches. It does not get cold before you sit, and it is cheap. It can withstand moisture well and does not form mildew or weaken after exposure to water.
Despite it tarnishing with time, it is easy and cheap to polish it, so maintenance is fairly low.
Being a manufactured stone, quartz is not porous and can therefore hold water well without the need for sealing. Quartz is easy to clean as well, but despite this, it is an expensive stone.
Shower benches, already having a key presence in hospitals, are slowly becoming a necessity in the modern-day home and in facilities such as gyms and school bathrooms.
I believe it is a fair consideration to have or plan to have one, if not for the sake of comfort, then for safety and convenience.
As you consider the standard size of a shower bench, consider the size of your bathroom, the build and of/and number of people who will use it, and the general-purpose you intend to acquire it for.
This will help make an informed and reasonable decision.