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Shower vs. bath: What is best?

Weighing up whether to install a shower, bath or both in your new bathroom? If you only have space for one, it can be tough to choose. Both showers and baths come with their own benefits, and drawbacks too. We’ll look at these in detail in this guide, to help you make up your mind.

Weighing up whether to install a shower, bath or both in your new bathroom? If you only have space for one, it can be tough to choose.

Both showers and baths come with their own benefits, and drawbacks too. A shower can be space-saving, practical and even a little luxurious – especially if you install a rainfall shower head for your invigorating morning shower.

A bath is perfect for a long, relaxing evening soak, although of course it does take up quite a bit of additional space.

Future-proofing your bathroom is also important. If you have kids or are thinking of starting a family, a bath will be essential.

Shower vs bath – water consumption

One of the first comparisons you’ll want to do when looking at bath vs. shower is water usage. This can affect your energy and/or water bills, as well as your carbon footprint.

According to a Unilever study, the average bath water usage is around 80 litres each time you have a soak.

In comparison, the average shower water usage is 62 litres per eight-minute shower. This means that showers longer than eight minutes could end up using more water than the average bath.

Then we need to factor in energy consumption. According to Unilever, electric power showers can end up using twice as much energy as a bath. This is partly because electricity tends to be much more expensive than gas, which is used to heat the water for your bath.

Shower vs. bath – installation

Now, how easy or difficult is to install your new shower or bath? This could make a big difference to your decision, as no one wants to take on extra building or plumbing work if they don’t need to.

How to fit a shower

Installing a shower requires quite a few different steps. The expense and difficulty involved depends on the type of shower you choose, whether it’s an electric, mixer or power shower. It also depends on whether there’s an existing shower in situ, or how close the cold water supply pipes are.

It’s important to choose the right spot in the bathroom, and pick the right kind of shower for the space. Many showers have hidden plumbing and electrics, both of which are jobs for a trained professional.

How to fit a bath

A basic standalone bath will almost always be easier to install than a high-end rainforest shower with multiple shower heads and hidden plumbing. It’s simply a matter of fitting the bath in the space, connecting up the plumbing and finishing everything off neatly.

However, there are many factors that can influence the overall cost. This includes the size of the bath and the space available. If the bathroom is small and access is tight, it could be a more complex job – which makes it more expensive.

It’s also important to get the finish right when fitting a bath. Not only does your new bath need to look the part, but it also needs to be properly plumbed in and sealed to avoid any leaks or drips. To be sure of a watertight finish, always use a trusted, experienced plumber or bathroom fitter.

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Shower vs bath – costInstalling shower head

When deciding whether to have a shower or bath, it may come down to cost. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to pay for each, to help you make up your mind.

Shower cost

The cost to install a shower depends on the type of shower. An electric shower can cost anywhere between £60 to £200 plus labour to install, whereas a power shower could cost you as much as £500 plus labour.

Bath cost

Bath installation costs vary depending on whether you’d like a standalone or built-in bath, plus the layout of the bathroom and size of the bath. But on average, you can expect to pay around £850 for your new bath.

How much value does a bath or shower add to your home?

While we’re looking at cold, hard figures, it’s a good time to consider the value a bath or shower could add to your property. Or rather, how not having one or the other could make your home less attractive to buyers in the future.

If you have a family home (for example, with three bedrooms) then the lack of a bath could seriously affect the attractiveness and even the list price of your home. Families with children usually need to have a bath. It’s important to think about this if you are considering ripping out an existing bath to make way for a shower.

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Shower vs bath – maintenancebath maintenance

Both baths and showers will require some degree of maintenance during their lifetime. But which is the easiest to look after?

Let’s start with shower maintenance. A shower will need regular cleaning, from the glass to the shower tray. You’ll need to keep the plug clear from blockages and make sure tiles and seals don’t suffer from a build-up of mildew.

Baths require around the same level of cleaning, as it’s important to keep the bath enamel, taps and plugholes clean. You may also have to carry out other bath maintenance tasks occasionally, such as replacing taps or temperature controllers.

Resealing or re-grouting may be necessary for both baths and showers after a few years. Find out more about the cost of tile and grout cleaning in our handy guide.

So, which is best – shower or bath?

There are lots of things to consider when choosing between a bath or a shower. You’ll need to think about your personal circumstances – do you have children who need to use a bath, or elderly relatives staying with you who would find a shower more convenient?

If you live on your own, a shower may be all that you need. If you have a stressful job, would a long soak in a bath be just what you need after a difficult day?

You should also think about the impact on the value of your property if you remove a bath or choose not to have one. This may not be an issue now, but it may cause problems when it’s time to sell your home.

Ultimately, if you have the space, why not go for both? Alternatively, you could install a space-saving shower over a bath.

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FAQsbath shower

Which is healthier, a bath or a shower?

Some people find it more hygienic to have a shower, rather than sitting in bathwater. But a hot bath can also be excellent for reducing stress and soaking aching muscles. So, it’s ultimately down to personal preference.

How much space do I need to install a bath?

Ideally, you should have around 1,500 x 700mm for a straight bath, with around 760mm clearance to the side. You’ll also need to make sure that taps and other controls are accessible from both inside and outside the bath.

How much space do I need to install a shower?

As a minimum, you’ll need 760mm x 760mm. You’ll need around 610-760mm clearance to the front, with space for the hinged or pivot door to open outwards.

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