Is 32" too narrow for a shower?

genab55November 17, 2012

Our shower has had a curtain in it(as opposed to doors or a wall) up until the current remodel. We are making it a walk in shower with a half wall and the fixed width of the shower will be 32". Not as much elbow room as we had with a curtain.

Does anyone out there have a 32" shower and are you happy with it? My husband and I are not big people (5'2" and 5'9") and I'm hoping it won't be a problem for us.

Anyone have thoughts on this?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it will definitely be too tight!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

While it's definitely less than optimum, lots of people manage with this size.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for your posts. In order to make it larger we would have to have the toilet moved over and purchase a smaller vanity...the cost would be significant (3K-4K or more) and it would add more time to the project.

We could add a couple of inches by opting for full length glass enclosure rather than the half wall. But I don't know if the extra trouble of keeping the glass clean etc would be worth a couple of inches width.

[sigh] These are the decisions that keep me up at night... :)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

If you do your half wall with the studs sideways (being sure that the bottom plate is securely bolted to the subfloor framing) then that will gain you 2".

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A standard in-tub shower is 32" x 60" or 30" x 60" and that's what many people live with.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The interior dimensions of our shower are 33x34 and I find it claustrophobic. But, if there were more length available, so that I could turn for elbow room, it would be more comfortable. I'm assuming this is the case with your proposed plan for a walk-in.

Turning the studs is a great idea.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What's the other dimension? 32 x ____?

My shower is 32 x 48, and I have sliding glass doors. It's plenty big, though not overly spacious or luxurious. If it were 32 x 32, it might feel cramped. Also, I could never have a sit-down shelf in this shower; the space just isn't there.

Remember, too, you can go too big in a shower. Too much space, your shower's going to be cold.

Incidentally, for people who aren't building or remodeling TODAY, start carrying a tape measure when you travel. We've stayed in a couple hotels or cabins that've had GREAT items (kitchen, bath, whatever), and I've been glad to be able to measure them for my ever-expanding notes on our retirement house.

Just for the record, the best shower we've encountered -- even the kids commented on how much they liked it -- was in a Hampton Suites in Florida, where we stayed for just one night before a cruise. It was 3'x5' and had a sit-down shelf. I loved the way the tile half-walls and glass came together to provide enough light and plenty of space.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 4:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your posts are all so helpful! I may survive this project after all.

MrsPete my shower is 32x68 so plenty of room lengthwise. I am out looking for tile but would love to throw a few more questions out there later.

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This may be confusing, but it depends what you mean by 32". Mine is 31.5" x 58.5" finished floorspace, but there's more shoulder room because the glass on the half wall is 4" further away (since the half wall is 6" wide, and I had them put the glass off-center). What's important is finished space. It's plenty of room. I am 6' tall and 200 lbs. It's plenty.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And, to be clear, I planned my shower to be 3' x 5'. That's not what it'll end up being with tile, etc.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks so much for your post. It was very helpful. And the pictures gave me a great visual on what our shower would look like with a half wall and glass that doesn't go to the ceiling. You brought up some things I had wondered about such as offsetting the glass on the top of the wall.

I asked my tile setter about doing that and he wasn't sure it would look right. But in your pictures I think it looks great and it gives you extra room where it's needed.

How is your glass attached to the top of the pony wall? Is there a channel that it sits in? and on the vertical wall as well?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I love what you said about having a tape measure. My husband stayed in a hotel that had a walk in shower (no threshold or door) and he really loved it but didn't know the dimensions. But since he liked it so much we decided to do a walk in shower in the remodel. I liked the idea of having less glass to squeegee and dry each time we shower.

We are also planning on putting a heater/fan in the ceiling. We had a home that had one and loved it on cold mornings. I'm hoping it will make up for the draft that a "doorless" shower might have.

I would like to have a bench in it as well but wasn't sure where to put it. I'm thinking about putting it at the end where the door is. Did the shower bench in the Hampton Suites have a corner bench or was it across one end of the shower?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Did not realize it was 32" x 68", I assumed you meant a 32" square stall type shower. Now with more info I think you will be fine.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you look closely at the pictures, you'll see chrome channel on the top of the pony wall and up the right side of the shower, which is what attaches the glass piece above the pony wall. The door is frameless, but I was told that the best structural support for the glass on the pony wall was to use channels, and I didn't want clips on the top part of the pony wall because of the water. Because I used chrome, I find that the channels are barely noticeable; that wouldn't be the case with other finishes.

I would also think about how you want the door to open. For a long time, I thought I wanted the hinges for the door to attach to the glass above the pony wall, but my glass company convinced me that there were two problems with that. First, it would put too much strain on the glass above the pony wall and wasn't structurally the best idea (I would have to either add clips for the glass above the pony wall going into the ceiling or have a channel running across the entire top of the glass). Second, they convinced me that I'd want it hinged on the left so that I could open the door inward while getting out of the shower in order to prevent water from dripping on the floor and to be able to reach a towel on the towel hook. That wouldn't work if the hinges were on the right because the door would smack into the shower head/valve trim.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I feel so much better after hearing from you all. I wish I had done this on my first bath remodel (it really did keep me up at night with worry over decisions).

I am hoping to be able to keep the glass looking nice (we have really hard water here in AZ). Does anyone have any tips for me? I'm planning on using a squeegee after every shower and will probably need to dry the glass as well. I wonder if there's a special product that works well for preventing a lot of water deposit. Any suggestions for the perfect squeegee? :)

I love the idea of turning the studs sideways but will probably do a conventional wall so I can use the pony wall for some of the plumbing. Especially if they can put the glass closer to the outside edge of the wall.

Still trying to decide whether to have a full bench at one end or just a corner bench.

Kevin, thanks for sharing pictures of your bathroom. That really helped! Is your half wall of glass pretty sturdy when you clean it? It doesn't wobble or anything? My contractor has talked about putting a stabilizer bar across the top but I don't want to because I don't like the look.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The best preventer for water spots in a hard water area is a water treatment system. If you're getting spots on the outside of your fixtures and glass, think about what it's ding to the pipes and the faucet innards. And your water heater. Treating the water will pay for itself in longer life for all of those.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Califonia code:

411.7 Shower compartments, regardless of shape, shall have a minimum finished interior of one thousand and twenty-four (1,024) square inches (0.66m2) and shall also be capable of encompassing a thirty (30) inch (762 mm) circle. The minimum
required area and dimensions shall be measured at a height equal to the top of the threshold and at a point tangent to its centerline. The area and dimensions shall be maintained to a point of not less than seventy (70) inches (1,778 mm) above the shower drain outlet with no protrusions other than the fixture valve or valves, shower head, soap dishes, shelves, and safety grab bars or rails."

CA also has an exception:

"(2) The minimum required area and dimension shall not
apply for a shower receptor having overall dimensions
of not less than thirty (30) inches (762 mm) in width and
sixty (60) inches (1,524 mm) in length."

My wife's hall bathtub has a sliding shower door; inside dimension it about 28.5". Meets code, since the tub (receptor) exceeds the 30x60 overall. Kinda tight, and we aren't large people.

My new hall shower (different house) is tight for space, and will probably end up at about 29" finished interior, with an ensuing code argument with the inspector. It is a direct tradeoff between shower space and toilet space.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 5:22PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Contractor messed up shower pan. Fixable?
My contractor who I'm firing tomorrow messed up my...
What do you think about jets and rain shower?
Any body going with or have them already in their shower? DH...
The towel ring and the towel bar
The last bit for my bathroom arrived today, a hand...
Where to place/plan for grab bars
We are remodeling our hall bathroom (and kitchen)....
Which latricrete products for full shower build?
I'm a bit confused about all the various Latricrete...
Sponsored Products
Faux Orchid - WHITE
$295.00 | Horchow
Monaco Blue Narrow Zig Zag Ovo Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
4-door Wood Storage File Cabinet
Engage Upholstered Sofa in Azure
$919.00 | LexMod
Hampton Black Outdoor Wall Fixture
$99.00 | Bellacor
Chooty and Co Circa Solid Banded Valance with 2.5 in. Rod Pocket - CPD151030
$48.98 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™