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Ask Yazmin: How do I pick the perfect shower stall?

An expert’s tips on how to approach your DIY bathroom reno
Yazmin Roman-Kitchen & Bath designer flooring -appliances

You’re finally ready to tackle that bathroom reno, but what are your plans for the shower stall?

We spoke with Yazmin from Heritage Home Hardware in Sault Ste. Marie for some ideas. She shares her take on the most efficient way to approach your DIY bathroom renovation.

She recommends a prefabricated shower stall, which is a great fit for any DIY project. It’s quick and easy to install and is also a budget-friendly choice.

Shower inserts come in a variety of styles, shapes and materials to suit whatever vision you might have for the space, so you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from. You may, however, want to start by thinking about size:

  • Do you need a small one so you can maximize space?
  • Were you hoping for something larger and more luxurious that comes with a modern glass finish?

A little research done ahead of time will guide your decision and help you choose the one that’s just your style.


One-piece showers

one-piece shower is made of just a single piece rather than multiple sections. All-in-one shower kits are prefabricated shower stalls that are completely ready to go; they’re economical and quick and easy to install.

One thing to remember with this type of shower cabinet is that you can’t make any adjustments to it. You need to be sure that both the size and the design will actually work in your space and you’ll want to figure out in advance whether you need a left-hand or a right-hand unit.

You should also know that a one-piece shower unit is bulky to transport and may not fit through a standard-sized door. It’s a common choice for new construction.

Modular showers

modular shower, by contrast, is comprised of multiple pieces, rather than one prefabricated piece. It is designed to fit into an alcove. Modular shower walls come in a range of heights and widths and are designed to fit a modular shower stall base. The walls may include special features such as a built-in shelf or a footrest.

Modular showers are a popular choice for those who are replacing existing showers and doing renos. While the installation is straightforward, you do need to ensure that the shower walls are securely affixed to the bathroom walls and that the installation is watertight.

Multi-piece showers are definitely easier to transport and install in tight spaces, which makes them ideal for renovations and DIY projects.

Corner showers

If you’re looking for a space-saving option, which also happens to be spacious inside, consider a corner shower stall. This type of unit is installed between two walls and comes in a variety of shapes: square, round and neo-angle.

Tiled showers

tiled shower can be customized to fit any space. It is, however, a costlier choice than a standard prefab shower cabinet. It’s also more difficult and time-consuming to install and requires more maintenance, such as regular sealing.


Each of the following popular materials has its own characteristics.

Acrylic shower stall

An acrylic shower stall has a modern and minimalist appearance, and an attractive gloss finish. It’s also low maintenance, stain- and chip-resistant, and easy to install.

Fibreglass shower stall

Fibreglass shower stalls are less expensive than acrylic, but they are more delicate and less stain resistant. It costs less to patch or repair them, however, and they are lightweight and easy to install. They also have a modern, minimalist look.

Glass shower stall

A glass shower stall looks sleek and modern. It is stain-resistant and easy to clean—though you do have to clean quite frequently, otherwise soap scum and any buildup will show. Glass is also heavy to lift and install.

ABS shower stall

Lightweight and easy to install, an ABS shower stall is also less expensive than acrylic. The material is a very tough plastic; it cannot be finished and is more difficult to clean. It may also dull and discolour over time.

Polymer (or styrene) shower stall

A polymer shower stall is less expensive than acrylic, lightweight and easy to install. It’s also more difficult to clean and cannot be refinished.


Standard shower dimensions are:

  • 30"–42" in width 
  • 30"–60" or 72" in length 
  • 64"–78" or 80" in height  

While these are the standard dimensions, shower size does vary by model and manufacturer. Be sure to measure well before making a purchase.


Tempered glass doors are durable and easy to clean; they also look modern and make your bathroom feel open and airy. Glass shower doors come in a variety of textures.  

You can choose from a number of opening and closing mechanisms. Sliding doors require no clearance space but may have a smaller opening than a swinging door would. Because the doors slide over each other, they eliminate the problem of water dripping onto the bathroom floor.

A swinging door opens outward fully and is attached to a shower wall or panel with a pivot. You need ample space in front for the door to open outward. The other option is a bifold door: it features two panels that open outwards or inwards. Attached to the wall with hinges, it requires less floor clearance than a typical swinging door.

Some shower doors pivot left or right to suit your preference. Others are reversible, meaning you can install them on the left or right side—whatever best suits the space.

Framed vs. frameless doors

Framed doors feature exposed framework and trim, which helps with stability. The trim is usually made of aluminum and comes in different finishes. You can use lighter, more affordable glass and these are easy to install. The doors can pivot outwards and inwards or slide back and forth. They are definitely more difficult to keep clean than frameless doors since soap scum and moisture collect in the crevices over time.

Frameless doors look really elegant, clean and minimalist. They’re easy to maintain and there is no metal frame to corrode. They can pivot outwards or slide back and forth, and they can be more difficult to install.


Renovating is easier if you use your existing plumbing. It does, however, limit you; you have to place your shower stall in the existing location. If you had hoped to change the location of your shower, are you prepared to move the drains, plumbing lines or cabinets and knock down any walls if needed? This is quite a big job.

If the shower doors are sold separately from the stalls, make sure the ones you choose are compatible with the shower insert. You might also consider a shower rod and curtain.

When choosing a faucet and shower head, think about the style and finishes in the rest of your bathroom so you end up with a cohesive look.

Heritage Home Hardware’s Home Installs team is happy to help with the installation if required.

For more information about installing a new shower, visit Heritage Home Hardware or call 705-759-5101.