My Grandma and I have had several quotes over the last couple of weeks from various specialist bathroom companies to have her existing bath replaced with a walk in shower. She can manage at the moment with her bath but she wants to be prepared for later on when she may start struggling to step in and out of the bath and any other eventualities were having a walk in shower would make life easier and maintain her independence for as long as possible.
After getting over the initial shock of the first quote, I realised what an expensive business this was. It is also a ridiculously bitchy business. Every man we have seen for a quote seemed shocked that we were getting other quotes. As if it is normal for an older person to just say yes at the first £8000 quote, I can’t see many people having that money just lying around and I find it very hard to believe that they wouldn’t want to think about such an expense. To be fair, they didn’t pressure us to make a decision but they did all question when we would decide by and my Grandma felt that one man would have pressurised her if I hadn’t been with her.
All of the men seemed to have worked for the other companies and happily told us what the companies were like, the quality of their products, that they knew the staff, some of which had been bragging about their commission blah blah blah. It definitely isn’t a professional industry and I’m glad we haven’t any other appointments booked in. Anyway, I digress…
What to consider when looking for a shower
- What is the shower tray made of? Buying a regular shower from B&Q may appeal due to price but spending more on the resin shower trays that these specialist companies offer will hold up to 40 stone (I am going to double check that) so if you need a support worker in the shower in the future it will take the extra weight. Is the tray slip resistant?
- Is the shower unit thermomstatic so you can get a temperature and leave it, using another handle to just turn on and off. This also makes the shower compensate for any change in water pressure so if someone else puts a tap on, the water won’t scald you in the shower. Does the unit stay cool so you don’t get burnt if you touch it or need to grab it for stability?
- Do you want a static shower screen? This would make it safer if you need to grab it to steady yourself at any point but it may make it harder to get in if space is an issue. You will also be offered a splash screen at the end of the shower screen if you choose static which is a further part of shower screen but it moves allowing more space to get in, my Grandma decided against this incase she grabs it and it moves causing her to slip. Would you prefer a shower door? Sliding or inward/outward opening?
- Do you want a shower seat? Does it fold up to be out of the way when it isn’t needed? Plastic or wood? Plastic is more hygienic but wooden looks less clinical.
- Do you need grab rails? Where would you like them positioning? Do you want them to double up as something else such as a soap dish or towel rail? These are usually white or chrome.
- Where is the entrance of the shower going to be in relation to everything else in the bathroom. Will there be enough room to manoeuvre if you have a walking aid in the future?
- Can you see the waterproof boarding properly? How high are you having it over your existing tiles? A couple of companies we saw had their samples in what was like a photo frame, we were a bit dubious about this as we couldn’t properly tell how thick it was or how strudy it seemed.
- Do the company sub-contract any work out? If they do, who is liable for what if anything goes wrong in the future? You don’t want to have spent all that money and then have everybody passing the blame with no body sorting it out.
- What are the guarantees on everything? We were told lifetime but that was actually only for the shower tray, not the workmanship, the boarding or shower fitting.
*photo- Premier Care Bathrooms