teak vs tile shower bench - pros & cons?

weluvnikMarch 23, 2010

Our shower will be quite large, 100" x 60", so I definitely want a bench. I really like the look of teak, but am wondering what you all think. What are the pros and cons of a built-in tile bench vs a removable teak one?

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cordovamom

I can tell you one disadvantage of the permanent tile bench as opposed to the removable teak one. A friend of mine is an Occupational Therapist and has done numerous home visits where she attempts to help her patients with accessibility issues. Invariably she says benches are placed in the wrong place, or wrong level and transfering from a wheelchair to the bench is problematic. She always recommends a removable shower bench or chair. Now you may not have accessibility issues so you can ignore that advice if you wish. We are remodeling our masterbath and are listening to her advice and not putting a permanent bench in. Other then that, I like the look of a tile bench and think they look nice and are great if you don't ever have to worry about a handicapped person's accessibility.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:04PM
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pharaoh

We have one bathroom with a shower bench (tiled). In the next bathroom remodel we will do two teak benches instead of the built in one. I prefer the open space. the teak bench can be moved anywhere you like. There is something very earthy about wood in a shower. almost rustic...i love that look.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:58PM
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weluvnik

I love the look of the teak also -- very earthy and warm! And the accessibility issue is something to consider -- you never know what the future holds!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 10:30PM
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mongoct

I prefer removable benches or stools.

They're more versatile. You can sit on the bench and relax in the shower, and if you get upset you can swing the bench over your head and smash it on the floor, releasing all your pent up frustrations. If your heat goes out you can then burn the scrap pieces in your wood stove or fireplace. Very eco-friendly and therapeutic are those multi-purpose teak benches. +4 LEEDS points.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:25PM
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duchamp

Where do you all find your teak benches?

(I know Waterworks sells really nice ones but they're also likely to be really expensive ones...)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:57PM
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pharaoh

I will make my own but ebay has some interesting shapes.

Here is a link that might be useful: ebay teak bench

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 12:05AM
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mongoct

Same as pharaoh, I make them out of the teak scraps/cutoffs that I have leftover from countertops and doors, etc. It's usually been a freebie of sorts that I leave in the shower as a surprise.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 2:58PM
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annkathryn

I like my teak bench too. I only bring it in the shower when I want to take a steam shower. Purchased at Smith & Hawken pre-bankruptcy.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 3:30PM
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kateskouros

we had a tiled bench in our last master shower but this time i'm also doing a teak bench. i think it just looks nicer than a big, expanse of block.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 4:01PM
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rafor

When we remodeled, we put a teak bench in our 4 x 6 foot tiled shower. I only wanted the bench sometime, so we got the kind that when not in use, folds down flush against the wall. Problem solved. I didn't want the hassle of moving and replacing a regular bench, so this worked well for us.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:14AM
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bill_vincent

cordovamom-- any chance I could have you ask your friend what the height is she would need for someone in a wheelchair? The reason I ask, is because most benches I install, I try and get as close to 17" off the finished floor as possible. For someone of average height to sit down, that's about as comfortable as it would get, being it's just about at knee height. Additionally, not many actually use the bench to sit on. It's usually there for the wife to rest her foot on while she shaves her legs, and it's not too high for most women to lift their leg up to rest their foot at that height. But I can see where this might not be good for someone in a wheelchair, and I'd like to know if there IS a recommended height in case I ever run into this.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 5:36PM
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dianne47

Bill - first, thanks for your many helpful comments about tile, etc. You can find information about ADA regulations for shower benches at http://www.adabathroom.com/shower_seat.html That site gives links to more detailed information regarding benches, grab bars, etc.

My husband is recently disabled and travel is a nightmare due to most hotel "accessible" bathrooms being very poorly designed. Designing and building a GOOD accessible bathroom takes careful research. According to the above site, a shower bench should be 17-19 inches high. There are many other "regulations" and the above site is a good place to start.

You would be doing your clients a huge service to discuss accessibility during the design phase of new construction or remodels. Universal design and aging in place are new buzzwords for ensuring that people can be safe and comfortable in their home as they get older. We're building a new home right now and have incorporated many design features in anticipation of lessened mobility as we get older.

Another resource is the videos section of the kohler.com website. There are a couple of videos there about universal design, bathroom accessibility, etc.

For the OP, I would recommend a freestanding bench over a built-in one.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 6:10PM
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mongoct

Bill, I'll just to add in to the conversation that ANSI recommends 17" to 19" as a seat top height.

Wheelchair seat heights are about the same range, the design guidance package I have shows seat height at 17-3/4" to 19" above the floor. Pediatric chairs can be a little lower, electric chairs a little higher.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 6:15PM
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bill_vincent

Nahhhh, I'm not even gonna ask. :-)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 7:41PM
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cordovamom

I'd ask my friend but it looks like others have already answered the question. My friend does say it's not only the shower bench height that is an issue, it's maneuvering around the fixed bench and being able to get the wheelchair in close proximity to the bench for transfer that is also an issue.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 10:50PM
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Moccasin

Annkathryn, we have the same bench in teak from Smith & Hawken, prebankruptcy. Also a couple of small benches, and one tiny folding teak table.

Neat discussion. I was thinking of a seating alcove in a new tiled shower, like a shampoo bottle alcove up high, only this one is a seat down low with no protusion into the shower space. The alcove is really a very very deep doorway which was closed up from the back side and since it is an interior wall, about 12" deep alcove would give enough of a seating surface. Or so it seems to me.

A wheelchair could get into this, I'm thinking.
But what kind of a floor slope (rolling from the bathroom floor down enough of a slope to contain the water) would be adequate to keep the room dry?

We stayed in a handicap motel room which had a roll-in shower, and there was only a curtain to contain the water. The floor sloped DOWN into the shower area. Would it work to have a glass block or tile wing wall about 5 feet high
and about half the 6' length of the shower? To contain any overspray, I mean?

Or would it be best to keep a moveable bench handy to transfer from a wheelchair into the shower, and then if desired or able, move into the seating alcove?

We will be consulting a contractor this summer to install the bath, and I like the alcove idea as a design feature since it is already part of the space. I can see the seat height being 18" as no problem, just tile it all in.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 12:46AM
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mtnrdredux_gw

We recently bought a house that we are renovating, and its has a 7.5 foot square shower stall .... with a built in teak bench. It it a slatted piece of teak that rests on tiled platforms, for lack of a better word.

Pro - looks nice, feels nice, isnt cold, can be changed.

One con --- the floor is white marble, and it looks to me as though when the teak is dripping wet, it stains the white grout, ever so slightly. Im not sure if the teak had any sort of finish on it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:53PM
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vampiressrn

I have a fairly large master shower and there is a full bench across the back. The shower is covered in Corian including the bench. I really like it as I have a bad back so sitting during a shower is great. (I prefer baths anyway.) The only drawback is during the winter it is a little cold, but some hot water on the bench helps with that.

I have a removable teak bench in the guest bathroom shower. The downside for this is that the wood gets tired over time and you need to replace the bench when this happens.

I prefer my built in bench.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 11:23PM
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cindyandmocha

Great discussion. And something that actually hits home. I remodeled my tiny master bath almost 7 years ago (with the assistance of this forum).

We removed the tub and installed a walk in shower. I also insisted on some grab bars and a tiled in bench. Long story short, my Dad-in-law moved in with us 5 yrs ago. Last year he fell off a ladder and broke his hip.

That bathroom with grab bar and bench was a GOD SEND. His physical therapist wished everyone would do this.

The angle and placement of the grabbar is essential (I originally insisted because of my husband's knees) as was the bench.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 4:00AM
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cindyandmocha

I should also mention that near the grab-bar and bench is a hand spray. That was the "key" for my DIL and his therapist (and I love it too). The body-sprays don't hurt either.

DIL is not a tiny man, so the built-in tiled bench was a god-send. BTW he is now up and around sans cane, and seemingly healthier than I am.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 4:03AM
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trinintybay

Rafor - Where did you get the hinged (fold up) teak bench?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 9:39AM
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kateskouros

our shower is 7x5 and i'm getting a teak bench also. we had a tiled bench in our last house, it was ok but i don't really like the look of a big tiled "block". too heavy, kind of dated. also, if tiled they always seem to take up an entire wall and in a large space that's just too much bench ...unless you plan to move the party in there after the dinner party.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 6:43PM
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wi-sailorgirl

Trinitybay ... here's a place that sells the hinged benches, and other benches too. I've not ordered from them but I've communicated with them via e-mail and phone and they seem very nice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Teak works 4 U

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 8:21PM
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docellie

cindyandmocha, if you are still around, could you post pictures of your shower? Am trying to convince DH of need for future accessibility planning, but we both have trouble picturing how one would transfer to a bench from wheelchair if it is at the end of a 5 foot shower stall with glass doors. Also, best place for grab bars? Anybody else with photos? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:00PM
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johnfrwhipple

Here is a nice option for a steam shower. This is a fold down bench. Made from Teak and available online.

Up and out of the way

Ready for use

A fold down bench is designed for one person - not two. For sitting and resting on. Now a tile bench or one made from a slab offers up more options.
These benches can take the abuse of say "active showering" or "showering for two".

If you like to shower with your loved one perhaps a bench like this is a better option. ;)

I have an ideabook at Houzz.com with over 110 shower benches. Take a look at all the options out there...

Here is a link that might be useful: 110 Shower Bench Pictures

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 9:35AM
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suzanne10023

One of the joys of renovating your bathroom is that you can customize it to you. Our toilet, sink, and bench are lower than the standard heights because my mother and I are short (and we like to have our feet touch the floor, not dangle). We placed the grab bars in the places where our hands would naturally reach for support. If the next buyer - 30 or 40 years down the road - doesn't like our choices, he can change them.

Wheelchair accessibility is pretty extreme - doing it right would probably involve another major renovation, to make the shower curbless, change the doors, etc. But there are comfort and accessibility issues short of (God forbid) needing a wheelchair. It's good not to fall down in the first place.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:55PM
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