Do you think a seat is important in a shower?

crl_December 9, 2012

We have never had a seat in a shower so it didn't really occur to me before. But as I look at pictures online they are very common. One current possible layout for our bathroom remodel includes a 30 x 60 shower. Would a fold down seat of some sort be a really useful addition to the shower?

If it matters we are in our early forties but plan to stay in this house for the long run. So if we can do something now that will help the space stay useful as we age, and it isn't particularly expensive, we would like to go ahead and do it.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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mabeldingeldine_gw

12 years ago I spent 12 weeks in a cast from toes to knee. I wish I'd had a seat. If you plan to stay in the house for the long run, a seat will help with aging in place. Add blocking for grab bars, too.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:27PM
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writersblock

There have been several other threads about this. I think most of them would still be available if search is cooperating. The consensus seems to be that a portable bench is preferable, especially in tight spaces.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:47PM
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writersblock

Here's one thread:

Here is a link that might be useful: teak vs tile

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:48PM
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sofla

Following my surgery, I had to use the guest shower as that had a bench. I was too weak on pain meds to stand long. A bench and a hand held that can reach it is nice to have for this situation. I am currently remodeling our master bath and have changed plumbing to include a bench in the shower w handheld.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:02PM
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crl_

Sorry to repeat. I find searching on GW tricky so I miss things.

I was thinking perhaps a fold down seat would be good for this situation? I am planning a hand held shower head and am planning to go ahead and put grab bars in--at least one, maybe two. I saw a nice set up here with a vertical grab bar and the shower head attached to it. Then maybe a horizontal grab bar/towel bar?

Thank you for the feedback.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:38PM
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sofla

Following my surgery, I had to use the guest shower as that had a bench. I was too weak on pain meds to stand long. A bench and a hand held that can reach it is nice to have for this situation. I am currently remodeling our master bath and have changed plumbing to include a bench in the shower w handheld.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:46PM
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kirkhall

(Truthfully, I think the easiest way to search gardenweb posts is to do a google search with "gardenweb bath shower seat" format. You might want to try that to see what comes up.)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:04PM
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crl_

Thank you for the feedback and the search tip. I will try that.

So, if I do a seat here, I am hearing it needs to be close to the shower head, or at least reachable. Makes sense. So not on the opposite side. I will have to look more closely at the pictures. Maybe it would go on the long wall, with the shower head on a short wall.

Or, maybe a removable bench is a good plan so it can be positioned as necessary. Are those as stable as one attached to the wall?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:37PM
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elk2000

It all depends on someone's needs and a size of the shower. If women is using a shower the bench is needed at the very least to shave legs. We have a built-in bench in master bath, and I realize that it would be quite uncomfortable to do certain things without one. But built-in bench is a permanent thing, so if you don't like it later on, tough luck. If having a bench is important and size of the shower allows it, I would suggest something that is not as permanent, e.g. teak bench. They come in different sizes, I really like the ones shaped like triangle, it would be perfect for small shower.
The other solution is to do a folding shower seat. It doesn't take any space when folded (well, a few inches) which is also perfect for compact shower. We are doing kids bathroom remodel (2 boys), and planning to add folding seat later on. But now we will build support behind tiles so that when we are ready to install folding seat it would be easy to do so.
As for the shower head, if your layout doesn't allow to have it next to the bench then all you need is a long hose and a shower holder (or more than one) positioned where you'll need water. I've seen some designs where people with bad backs have a holder right behind them, so that when person is on the bench the shower is positioned right behind and water massages the back. Or in case of leg shaving, the holder is positioned right next to the bench, you get the idea.
The main thing is to analyze your individual needs and see what exactly you need.

Here is a link that might be useful: Teak bench

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:16PM
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crl_

Thanks! I actually have never had a bench or place to put my foot while shaving except the edge of a bathtub. In the houses we have had with just showers I put my foot on the wall at about waist height and brace myself.. I guess I should consider that I may not be able to get my leg up that high and keep my balance at some point, lol.

Since we haven't ever had a bench and don't have any current disabilities, I am having a bit of trouble thinking through how we would use it. I think that you all have given me some good guidance on that point.

I think if it is in the budget, we should do something built in at this point. The removable ones seem like they would not be as stable unless the shower floor was level.

I saw a picture on Houzz where they had a folding bench and had built in a niche where it folded down so it didn't protrude into the shower. I guess you would need the bench to be correspondingly deeper, but that seems like a possibility to consider in what may be a narrow shower.

Putting the bench at the opposite end of the shower from the shower head seems less than ideal, both because the reach of the shower head would require long tubing, but also because the on and off controls would be too far away to operate from the bench.

Thank you all for all the help!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:38PM
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writersblock

For leg shaving, I thought this was interesting (from KevinMP's Waldorf Astoria bath thread):

Here is a link that might be useful: Waldorf Astoria

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Linda37160

I think i would prefer to sit down to shave my legs.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:11PM
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terriks

I have a small corner shelf low enough to rest my foot on to shave my legs.
Years ago when I had horrible back problems I bought a portable shower bench to use, and it worked fine, so I don't think that a built in in necessary, and it may not end up in the right place for showering. I liked that I could position it in the middle of the shower. I really like the looks of the teak benches.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:54PM
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kmcg

I decided our shower was too small for a permanent bench, so I'll resort to teak if we reach a point of needing one.

writersblock - thanks for pointing out the Waldorf picture. I just realized that my low-ish niche will probably work for a footrest, as long as I'm somewhat agile.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:56PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We definitely went with a bench and are happy we did...we put the handheld on the side wall closer to the bench and the regular shower head opposite the bench. It definitely comes in handy for storing shampoos, even though we also have corner shelves in the shower. It is perfect for shaving legs, sitting on to wash one's feet (esp in the summer, I'm a perpetual bare footer and I like to just go into the shower and sit on the bench and use the handheld to wash just my feet before going to bed). We have our shower surround out of corian and made the bench to match...corian is much warmer than granite. Our shower is also a steam shower so having the bench is a necessity in order to steam. I added a light under the bench so we can steam in soft light, not the bright overhead one. I also wouldn't want to mess with a seat that folds up and down and deal with the mechanism, esp since, now that I have the seat in the shower, I literally use it every shower.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 10:26PM
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crl_

Thank you for all the feedback. That low niche as a foot rest is clever. Annie, what a lovely shower! I think it might be about the size of our whole bathroom, lol.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:55AM
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mrspete

I don't think seats in showers are all that common. Instead, I think that on this board, Houzz, and other boards you're seeing a small segment of the population who are going "above and beyond". I can see numerous reasons this'd be true:

- Many people -- me, for example -- don't custom build until they're building THE HOUSE that's going to be THEIR HOUSE for the rest of their lives; thus, they want the seat for their elderly years.
- People who are building THE HOUSE tend to be able and willing to spend a larger amount than the average homebuilder; thus, they're going to demand more bells and whistles than the average home builder -- to say it differently, they're expecting more than the basic builder house.
- People who frequent these boards tend to care more about their houses and tend to put more thought into them than does the average person.

So, I think it's easy to get a skewed perspective on these boards of what "everyone" has. Having said that, yes, I'm including a seat in my shower. It's a luxury, but it's an affordable luxury and one that I think I'll appreciate.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:05PM
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lazy_gardens

We're opting for the movable bench so it can be moved under the shower head for bathing and away from the shower head for foot and leg care. And not get in the way of a wheeled chair if needed.

Having had an SO who in a 5-year period broke a leg, ruptured an achilles tendon and had knee replacement surgery ... all things that can happen at any age, grab bars and an easy access shower went to the top of the must do (here) and must-have (in dream house).

The difference in bathing difficulty between the broken leg (sunken MBR tub and no grab bars in normal tub) and the ruptured tendon (with grab bars in normal tub) was significant. By the time the knee replacement happened we had changed the sunken tub into a large step-in shower with grab bars. It was a movable shower seat all three times.

And don't forget grab bars by the toilet. Getting up from a sitting position is not easy when you can't use both legs.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 7:04AM
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sojay

I vote for movable. I have this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-Indonesian-TEAK-BATH-AND-SHOWER-STOOL-GRADE-A-/370709020821?pt=Patio_Sets_Picnic_Tables&hash=item564ffac095

And love it. In fact I bought several to use as side tables.
With movable, it's easy to take it outside in the sun for disinfecting and re-oiling.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-Indonesian-TEAK-BATH-AND-SHOWER-STOOL-GRADE-A-/370709020821?pt=Patio_Sets_Picnic_Tables&hash=item564ffac095

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:52AM
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panchoandlefty

sojay-

How is the quality of that ebay stool?

It is a knockoff of a $250-$300 Fionia Skagerak stool I was considering. I'm wondering if the construction is comparable.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:40PM
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sojay

I actually have the original Danish one also, and it is very hard to tell them apart! It's foldable too and doesn't require assembly. Beautiful simple design IMO.

I was for the longest time debating a built in bench or a fold down teak seat, but am so happy I chose this. My shower is a large steam shower, so if we both want to be in there the same time, in comes a second stool. If I am washing my daughter's hair, it gets pushed to the middle so she can sit with her back to me.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:00PM
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karev321

A seat is not necessary in a shower. A portable seat may be fine as you can use it or keep it away whenever you want. On a everyday busy life no one really uses a seat or sits for long in the shower. Then again it is upto ones personal convenience too. There are good designs available and you can purchase them online too.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:04AM
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KevinMP

Being a man, I had no idea what that little alcove was for when I stayed at the Waldorf. Now I do. As to benches, I think they're a waste of money (labor and materials) and that they take up valuable space and may pool water if not angled properly. I'd rather have the extra space. Then again, I do not shave my legs...

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 10:18AM
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crl_

You all may find my Dh's response to my raising this somewhat amusing. He said, "Now I'm just depressed because you think I'm getting old.". Pretty much ended that conversation. Lol. Not sure if I want a permanent seat or not so will have to decide before I raise it again.

Thanks so much for all the feedback!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:49PM
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