A shower bench is often a necessity in a shower to provide safety and security, especially for someone who is older. It can give them a place to sit throughout their entire shower or a temporary resting place when needed. It serves many other uses, also.
It can be a shelf, a pedestal to assist shaving, or decorative. Shower benches have come a long way since the plastic chairs we all know. Those chairs are still available, but they are one option out of many.
Knowing the details about shower chairs can help you decide which one is right for your needs.
Types of Shower Benches
1. Built-In With a Base
A built-in bench with a base is one that is a part of the construction of the shower. Typically, these are found in walk-in showers. This bench is attached to the shower, which makes it much sturdier and more supportive.
Most often, when it comes to a built-in bench, it blends in seamlessly with the shower because the bench is the same material and color as the shower itself. These benches are part of the design and can be decorative as well. To make it creative, the bench can be a different material than the rest of the shower. For example, if the shower is tile, the bench can be marble.
A built-in bench is typically going to take up more room than most other types of benches. However, it does not have to. It can be designed to be both functional and not intrusive. These types of benches are usually the most expensive option you will find.
Once this bench is built, there is often not enough space for a wheelchair to get under it. In addition, this type of bench requires custom building, and you would need a professional to install it for you. It also requires you to have your shower remodeled.
2. Corner Seat
A corner seat bench is ideal for a smaller shower. It can be built so that there is space for a wheelchair beneath it. The seat can be full size for someone to sit on, or it can be a smaller shelf for a few shampoo bottles or to place your leg.
A corner shelf does not get in the way while you are standing in the shower. However, these shelves require a professional to install them as they are part of the shower construction. This may require you to remodel your shower.
There are two different types of corner seats: floating or framed. A floating seat is just a seat with nothing but open space beneath it. These allow room for a wheelchair underneath but have a weight limit. The weight limit is typically about 200 pounds. This type of corner seat tends to give the shower a modern look.
A framed corner seat is one that is framed into the shower. This means that it has support underneath it. There is no open space beneath it. This means there is no ability to roll a wheelchair under it. This type of shelf can hold more weight. It usually has a weight limit of 250 pounds or more.
3. Floating Bench
A floating bench gives a minimalist design to your shower. This is a more modern design making it stylish and functional. This type of bench can be constructed from a variety of materials. It can be constructed from wood, steel, or other materials. Some floating benches have mixed materials like wood and steel.
A floating bench has space beneath it that allows room for a wheelchair. It can be a full size seat or a narrow ledge based on your preferences and needs. These benches are mounted to the wall. Professionals must install these benches to ensure they are strong enough to allow someone to sit on them safely.
4. Folding Bench
A folding bench is ideal if you do not want or need the bench to be available all the time. These types of benches can be stylish and functional. This type of bench gives the shower a different type of look. Sometimes this look is best suited for a child or the young at heart. However, not everyone cares for this style of bench.
A folding bench is a low profile. It attaches to the wall and can be folded and out of the way when not needed. This type of bench is a great safety measure, even for those that are not older. However, anyone, regardless of age, may find a bench in the shower useful at times.
A folding bench needs professional installation. They must be reinforced structurally to ensure they are safe and sound. Due to the nature of this bench folding, placement is critical.
5. Freestanding Shower Bench
A freestanding shower bench is not integrated into the shower. It is one that can be brought into the shower as needed. It tends to be smaller than a built-in bench. That is by design because they are created to fit into a variety of showers. These shower benches can be made from different materials.
The most common material found on the market is plastic shower benches. You can find them in wood and other materials. They are intended to be portable and compact.
A freestanding shower bench often has a rectangular shape but can be found in different shapes to fit in the corners of the shower. They can also be found in different colors. This type of shower bench is usually between 18 inches to 22 inches long. They can be found in other sizes, also.
This type of bench may also be called a standalone or standard shower bench. They often have rubber feet, a wide seat, handgrips, and back support. These benches are not as secure as ones that are built-in. For example, they could move on a wet shower floor.
6. Rolling Shower Bench
A rolling shower bench is similar to a standalone shower bench, except that it has wheels and can be moved by rolling it. The wheels are rubber and can lock into place. There are some different models available. Some have cushioned seats. You can even find some that have a seat that flips up. This allows the bench to have a commode attached or can be positioned over the toilet.
7. Transfer Bench
A transfer bench is ideal for someone that has limited mobility. This type of bench helps someone get over the side of the tub. For some, trying to lift their leg over the side of the tub is difficult and dangerous. It can cause falls and injuries.
A transfer bench is ideal for helping people navigate getting into the tub. It provides a surface that is safe and allows a person to transfer into the tub. This is especially helpful for those in a wheelchair. They can transfer from the chair and slide across the bench and into the tub or shower.
A transfer bench has rubber feet. Two are placed outside of the shower, and two are placed inside. There are a variety of options available when it comes to transfer benches. You can find them for a tub only, a shower, or a tub/shower combination. You can find options that are not weight-bearing. There are transfer benches that have grab bars and others without them.
How Big Should My Shower Be For a Bench?
It is recommended that you have a floor space of 3 feet by 3 feet for a shower bench. If you have a smaller space than that, you could trip, fall, or stub your toe. The best way to determine the size of your space is to measure the width and length of your current shower.
Before you make a purchase, check the dimensions of the product to ensure you still have space in your shower. If you do not have a large enough space, you can find custom options that take up less room.
Where Should My Shower Bench Be Placed?
The best place to place your shower bench is the opposite side of your shower head. This way, you have the shower spray directly where you are sitting. This allows you to get the maximum amount of spray while in the shower. If you cannot do that, you should get an adjustable shower head so you can direct it wherever you sit.
Why Should I Put a Shower Bench in My Shower?
There are many benefits to having a shower bench available for your shower. Sometimes having a relaxing space to take a shower is what is needed at the end of a hard day. With a shower bench, you have a place to sit where the hot water and steam can roll over you.
The steam and hot water can help soothe you when you are sick or have tired muscles. Another great reason to have a shower bench is if you or someone in your house is older and may need a little assistance in the shower. For example, some may not be physically able to stand up in the shower, and a bench can help.
If you have a built-in shower bench, you can also use it to store items, like shampoo, in your shower.
Could I Sit On the Shower Floor Instead?
While there is nothing wrong with sitting on the shower floor, it may not be the easiest for you to do. You may have difficulty getting down on the floor or standing up from it. If you have a combination shower and tub, you are technically sitting on the shower floor when you sit in the tub.
However, if you share the shower, you want to ensure that it is always clean if you plan to sit down.