When it comes to renovating your bathroom, adding a shower panel can make an impact. So, how do you pick the perfect shower panels & shower systems for your home?
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key factors you need to consider when making your purchase. We’ll also provide some tips on how to install and care for your new shower panel. So read on and let’s help you make some key decisions on the right shower panel system for you and your home.
What Is a Shower Panel?
A shower panel, often called a shower tower, is an architectural feature in which all the elements of a shower system are on one surface.
Shower panels are pre-assembled and ready to install. This eliminates the need for separate parts or full installations of control handles, showerheads, tub faucets, and other add-ons. Shower panels are generally more budget-friendly and easier to install without expert assistance than shower systems because they are made up of one unit. They allow you to obtain all of the benefits of a luxury shower space without breaking the bank.
What to Think About When Considering a Shower Panel
When you’re ready to purchase your shower panel, there are several factors you’ll need to consider. These include:
- The size and shape of your shower space
- The number of people who will be using the shower regularly
- Your preferred water pressure (low, medium, or high)
- Whether you want a Rainfall Shower Head, Wand Shower Head, or Both
- Your budget. This is very important for several reasons, one of which is that you don’t want to overspend on something that won’t work for everyone in your family.
How Shower Panels Affect Your Water Usage
Another thing you should consider when selecting your shower panel is the flow rate and how it will impact your water and sewage bill. Flow rate is a measurement of how much water is pushed through your shower head in a single minute. GPM, or gallons per minute, is the measurement used for this concept. As you might expect, a higher GPM rating means that you use more water during a standard ten-minute shower. On the other hand, a low GPM rating will use less water during that same time.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that a higher GPM will usually feel like a higher pressure than a low GPM shower head. Some homes, however, might have a hard time keeping up with a high GPM flow rate head. Keep in mind how the plumbing in your home works for the best showering experience.
What Makes a Shower Panel a Good Option?
Most standard shower panels include a main overhead showerhead and a handheld showerhead. They typically have two showerheads: the main showerhead and an easily controlled handheld showerhead. Some shower panels have a fully jetted body sprayer section and/or waterfall feature. These features are great if you love standing in the shower and enjoying the water falling down over your body.
The principal showerhead is generally positioned at the top of the panel for a normal rinse choice for brief showers, while the hand-held showerhead connects to the panel below the main showerhead. After muddy excursions, wash your feet, walls, or pet’s paws with the hand-held showerhead before storing it in its holder.
Shower Panel Options to Consider
Committing to a specific shower system requires a fair amount of research. As you consider such a big purchase, you’ll want to take into account the following features that each shower head may have:
Tub Spout With a Diverter
Some shower panels come with a tub spout and a diverter mechanism to direct the water flow from the showerhead(s) to the tub spout. This is a feature to look out for if you have a bathtub/shower combo or you like to switch up your daily shower with a bath on occasion.
Keep in mind that a shower panel with a diverter would not be useful in a walk-in shower, but only in a bath and shower combination piece.
Shower Panel Temperature Control Faucets
Shower panels either have a singular temperature faucet that provides hot or cold water depending on the direction you turn the lever, or two separate temperature control faucets. One faucet is for hot water and the other for cold.
Both these types of temperature control faucets work exceptionally well for getting exactly the temperature you want; however, water pressure is also controlled with the two-knob set-up.
Shower Panel Body Jets
Shower panels have body sprayers with either mist or jet settings situated in the middle of the shower panel above the control faucets. They provide additional water settings that make every shower feel like a day at the spa. Body sprayers have the look of a showerhead built into the shower panel, so water flows outward at a horizontal angle.
Shower Panel Body Sprayers
The jets on these are super helpful when you want to rinse off your body without getting your hair wet. They also help when you want to get a super thorough clean from additional angles than just the main overhead showerhead.
Shower panel body sprayers are incredibly useful when you need to do things like fill a mop bucket, spray off rugs, clean the dog’s feet or whole body, rinse a pair of flip flops, and so much more!
Shower Panel Setting Control Faucets
These shower panels usually have a setting control feature in the form of one or more control knobs or buttons. These control features allow you to switch between the handheld and main showerhead, spray jets, and misting sequences. Looking for an ultra-modern shower panel? Some panels come with digital setting controls.
Consider the look and “feel” you’re going for in your bathroom. Choose a shower panel style that matches your bathroom’s current decor. You want your fixtures to match, too, usually. Try to stick with the same finish that’s on your faucet, lights, knobs, handles, and towel racks.
Tips for Installing Your Shower Panel
Keep in mind that any licensed plumber will be able to help you install your shower panel properly. If you worry about it leaking or degrading too quickly due to hard water, remember to keep your water softening system stocked with a softener. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you select a shower panel for installation:
- If you will be doing the installation yourself, make sure the shower panel you buy comes with everything you need. If it does not come with things like thread seal tape (Teflon tape), make sure to order some of that, too.
- Remember that your pipe is at a fixed height. Don’t purchase a shower panel that will rise too high towards the ceiling or be too low for you to fit underneath.
- If you will be hiring a professional to install your shower panel, make sure that the instructions are available to them. They are well-equipped to install any piece of equipment, but there may be pertinent information like sizing and other measurements.
How to Take Care of Your Shower Panel
If your shower panel was correctly installed, you’ll find that there are fewer leaking and water pressure issues. However, you’ll still need to maintain your shower panel so that it does not degrade faster than it should. Spending the extra money on a shower panel with a sturdy build and quality internal components will help. You’re ultimately responsible for keeping your shower panel working well. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Shower Panel Heads Need to Be Cleaned Often
Have you ever seen the pink-ish bacterial growth in your shower? This is only one of the problems that may arise from not cleaning your shower panel head often enough. You should clean your shower panel head every couple of weeks to once per month. Keep an eye on the head and clean it when it starts to look dirty.
Hard Water Needs to Be Dealt With
If you don’t already soften your hard water, you need to install a water softener along with your shower panel installation. Hard water builds up inside fixtures like these and causes irreparable damage. Shower panel systems range from moderately to very expensive. If you invest in a nice shower panel, make sure it will last!
Make Sure the Seal Stays Intact
As with any fixture that hangs out around water, you need to seal your shower panel to the wall. Keep an eye on this sealant over time, and don’t wait until a gap has opened up. Waiting for a gap to open up submits your wall to water damage. As you might know, repeat water damage leads to black mold.
Choose the Best Shower Panel for You!
At the end of the day, choosing from the best shower panels is going to be up to you and your family’s personal preferences! We hope this article helped you get a good idea of what to look for in a shower panel for your home.