May 032011
 

You always want to choose a shower seat that is going to permit you to be able to sit in your shower in comfort and feel secure. But what if the space available in the shower is an issue?

Many homes are being designed and built with neo-angled showers. Other showers are just too small for a shower chair, especially if you live in an apartment. Even your bathtub may be too small to fit a shower seat into.

If you are facing these situations, a corner shower seat may be the only possible solution. Fortunately, there are many options when trying to pick the ultimate corner shower chair.

Teak Shower Stool

A freestanding teak corner shower stool is probably the most beautiful option. These kinds of chairs are designed specifically to go fit neatly into your shower or bath. Teak is a hard wood that is known the world over for its resistance to water. And teak shower seats feel warm and look stylish.

One of the major drawbacks of a corner teak stool is that it may not offer as much seating area as other portable shower seats. This means a larger person may feel less secure while sitting on them.

For more information read Choose a Hardwood or Teak Shower Seat for Elegance and Quality.

Poly or Stainless Steel

Stainless steel and polyethylene chairs are also available for the corner of your shower. They are sturdy and very easy to clean and maintain. They can be quickly sprayed and sanitized after each use. In most cases, you will not have to buy any special antibacterial products.

Additionally, some of the seats have holes in the top, which prevents water from pooling.
Although stainless steel chairs are not as attractive as many of the teak stools, they tend to be less expensive.

Built-in Shower Seat

Many people decide that they would prefer to have a shower seat built permanently into their showers. Once installed, this corner seat cannot be moved. Many people feel more secure using a built in shower corner seat. They do not have to be concerned about the seat shifting or moving in any way.

These type seats are usually tiled to match the décor of the shower enclosure. That makes this seat look like part of the shower design.

You can also buy a complete acrylic base for your shower which has a corner seat as part of its design. Because of its size, the base can be a much more expensive option than other types of built in seats.

One of the major drawbacks of a built in corner seat is that if the person who wishes to use it is restricted to a wheelchair, they may not be able to get in and out of the shower without help. Many of these corner seats require that the person be able to stand for a least a short period in order to get onto the bench. If the person is unable to stand, the only alternative is to have someone help to lift the disabled person to and from the corner seat.

Installation of the Built in Corner Seat

Installation of the tile type built in corner chairs must be done correctly. The seat must be securely attached to the shower wall and sealed to prevent water from seeping into the wall. You may want to hire a professional plumber to be sure the seat is built correctly.

The other types of freestanding corner seats may come already assembled or can be assembled very quickly and easily. They will then be available for immediate use.

You may also want to consider a built-in shower bench.

Summary

If shower space is a concern, but you still want the benefits a shower seat can offer, consider buying or installing a corner shower seat.

Apr 132011
 


There are shower seats, then there are elegant shower seats. I own a PVC and aluminum shower seat, but someday intend to own a wooden shower seat – just because it looks good. There are actually a few different types of shower seats made of wood. The most common are:

  • Teak
  • Hardwood
  • Rubberwood / Parawood.

Teak

A teak shower seat is not only practical, but will add beauty and style to any bathroom. Due to its natural water resistance, a teak stool can be placed directly into either a shower or a bathtub. Teak is a durable hardwood which will last for many years and, over time, take on an attractive grey patina. For both its elegance and quality, there are few shower seats that can compare to one made of teak.

When selecting a teak shower chair you have three basic designs to choose from. There are teak shower stools, corner benches, and folding chairs.

Teak Shower Stools

The most common design is that of the teak shower stool. These square three or four-legged stools can be found with either all teak or aluminum legs. The seat has vents in it to allow water to drain through. Some also come with a basket feature. This permits an individual to store shower items right beside them. You wouldn’t have to stand up or move around if they need to reach the shampoo or conditioner.

Teak Corner Bench

Depending on the size and shape of your shower, you might want to select a teak corner shower seat. This will still give you the benefit of having a chair in the shower, but will take up less room and make getting in and out of a shower much easier.

Not all shower enclosures are square. Many homes have neo angle showers, and the square shape of the standard stool often makes it awkward to use. The triangular shape of the corner stool allows it to fit compactly into this type shower as well as a bathtub.

Teak Folding Chair

For those who want a shower chair they can remove from the bathroom or shower, a teak folding shower chair is an ideal solution. These can be picked up and moved easily. Additionally, a teak folding shower chair can be stored almost anywhere, when it is not in use.

Many people use these for outdoor showers or as part of their backyard landscaping. That’s because of their design and larger size.

Hinged Teak Shower Seat

There are hinged or fold down shower seats made of teak. As with other retractable shower seats, these type seats provide more room in the shower because when not being used they are folded out of the way.

But even when folded up or down, the teak seat will still provide visual interest in the shower, unlike the typical plastic hinged seat. They can also be spruced up by using fancier connecting hardware, such as brass.

For more information read The Difference Between a Fold Down Shower Seat and a Folding Shower Seat

Benefits and Features

The advantage of buying a teak shower seat is that teak is the world’s most water resistant wood. This is why you often see teak used in all kinds of bathrooms and in the construction of outdoor furniture. Teak is such a classic wood that you often only see it stained. It can be painted, but due to the natural beauty of the grain, most people prefer to not alter the color.

For additional information about teak wood, read Shower Seat Materials: PVC, Stainless Steel / Aluminum, Hardwood, and Mesh.

The price of a teak shower stool or a teak shower chair can range in price from about $45 to $70 and up. However, the cost is minimal when one takes into account that it will last for years and unlike many of its metal and plastic counterparts, teak has a look of elegance.

If you are looking to buy a chair for the indoor bathtub or shower or for your back yard, you should consider getting a teak shower seat. You will be pleased by its comfort, practicality, and attractiveness.

Hardwood

Woods other than teak are also available. These include

  • Iroko, a moisture resistant wood from Africa
  • Brazilian walnut, known for strength and durability and its resistance to moisture
  • Bamboo, a more ecologically friendly choice
  • Rubberwood, also called parawood

Rubberwood is typically grown in Southeast Asia. It is a lighter color than teak, but can be stained. It is also water resistant and less expensive than teak. If you want the look and feel of wood, but want something that is ecologically friendly, you may want to consider rubberwood.

Given all these options, why not consider a hardwood or teak shower seat now?

Nov 052010
 

If you’re short on space in your shower, but still want a place to sit while in the shower, the fold down or retractable shower seat may be your best choice. Another name for this type shower seat is the hinged shower chair.

The fold-down seat is attached to the shower wall. The seat can then be lifted up or down and locked into place when you want to use it. When not being used, you again fold the chair down or up. That means that when not in use the seat will lie flat against the wall, taking up little shower space.

This type shower seat is very convenient because it stays in the shower where it’s handy for anyone who needs to use it. But if someone taking a shower doesn’t need it, the seat is out of the way. For more information about the benefits of shower seats, read What Are the Benefits of Shower Seats?

Attachment of the Seat

Since people are going to sit on this type shower seat, how it is attached to the shower enclosure is important. These chairs should NOT be attached to a shower wall enclosure that is only a hollow type surface such as drywall, fiberglass, acrylic, or sheetrock.

These seats need to be attached to a reinforced backing such as wood or steel that is behind the shower enclosure wall. The mounting or anchoring bolts or screws should be appropriate for the type of backing they are being attached to. If you are not comfortable doing this type of construction, consult a plumbing professional.

As an alternative, some fold down shower seats are sold with legs. The legs will provide added support to the person sitting in the chair and fold up with the chair. Some of these legs are also adjustable so the seat can be used by people of different heights. Adjusting the legs also lets you take care of shower floors that slope downward toward the drain in the middle.

Features

Here are some of the key features you should consider when buying a new fold down shower seat.

Weight capacity: Assuming it’s attached correctly, a typical seat can hold about 250 pounds (113 KG). With legs, seats can hold more weight, such as 400 pounds (181 KG). Always check the weight capacity of any fold down shower seat you buy to be sure no one will get hurt while sitting in it.

Seat size: Seats come in different lengths and widths, so be sure to find one that will fit the bottom that’s going to be in it. A typical length is 18 inches (45 cm), while a typical width can be from 16 to 18 inches (40 to 45 Cm).

Seat material: You will have many different options when it comes to the material you choose for your retractable shower chair.

Teak is a stylish and popular option. It’s a brownish wood that is strong and resistant to moisture. It typically costs more than any of the other seat material options.

Rubberwood, also called parawood, is a lighter color than teak, but can be stained. It is also water resistant and less expensive than teak. If you want the look and feel of wood, but want something that is ecologically friendly, you may want to consider rubberwood.

Both teak and rubberwood seats usually have slats in them to let the water drain through.

Phenolic is a water resistant plastic often used in hospital fold down shower seats. It is a hard and strong material. It will also have slats to allow water to drain through.

Some manufacturers offer phenolic seats with padding for greater comfort while sitting.

Hardware: There are also many options for the mounting bracket and hinge materials used for these chairs. In addition to stainless steel, chrome, brass, and brushed nickel are often available options.

With the combination of hardware and seat material you can be sure the fold down seat fits in with the décor of your shower and bathroom.

Be sure the hardware you use has no rough edges so it will not cut anyone using the shower seat. Also, some shower chairs come with covers for the metal hardware.

Other options:

Some fold down seats are sold with backs and arms. A chair with a back offers greater support to the person using the chair. Arms allow people to sit more comfortably. These are especially useful when this type chair is being used by a physically challenged person who requires caregiver help when taking a shower.

Commode type chairs with U-shaped cutouts are also available for handicapped people who need the additional convenience.

Summary

The retractable shower seat is a great solution for a small shower that needs a shower seat. Choose the features you need before buying. When installing, be sure all the hardware is attached securely so the seat can be used without any worries.

Don’t confuse this seat with the folding shower seat which does not attach to the shower wall.

Jun 262009
 


Not many people think about what shower chairs are made of – but I did – so I’ve researched the topic and have filed the following report for you.

The shower is a wet place. Water sprays. Tiles and grout gets damp. The materials used for shower seats must be able to survive water, mildew, and mold. The types of materials most often used for shower seats include:

  • Plastic, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • Stainless steel / aluminum
  • Hardwood
  • Mesh

PVC

PVC might also be referred to as vinyl or plastic. It’s a smooth material usually with a high gloss finish. Although PVC is a generic term, some shower chairs might say they use furniture- or medical-grade PVC. This is specially formulated PVC containing chemicals to protect against ultra violet sun rays, improve strength, and prevent shattering.

Some shower chairs are molded – that is, they are one piece of plastic material shaped into a chair or seat. Other shower chairs are constructed by gluing PVC pieces together. If not done well, pieces of the chair can become loose, thus becoming a potential hazard.

PVC typically will not chip, dent, or peel and is easy to keep clean. PVC shower chairs are lighter in weight than steel, aluminum, or hardwood chairs. They should not damage your bathtub or shower floor if dropped. They do not rust or corrode, assuring a long life.

Another benefit that you might not think of is that PVC surfaces don’t get cold. This can be very important when you have to put your bottom down on a shower seat.

The one negative about PVC shower seats usually relates to aesthetics. If you are going for an elegant look in your shower or bathroom, a PVC chair may stand out like a sore thumb.

Stainless steel or aluminum

Stainless steel or aluminum is most often used as either framing or hardware for shower chairs and benches.

Wheelchairs built especially for showering use stainless steel or aluminum to give the chair high strength and provide resistance to rust and corrosion.

Hinged shower seats and benches (also called fold-down shower seats) often use stainless steel for the brackets that attach the seat or bench to the shower wall. These brackets should have smooth edges to prevent someone from getting cut when using it.

Shower seat product descriptions may mention the gauge of the stainless steel used. As a general rule, better quality steel frames and tubing will have a lower gauge number.

Aluminum is often used for the legs of shower seats made of PVC. Aluminum legs are strong, lightweight, durable, and corrosion proof. Most aluminum legs have holes in them so the height of the seat can be adjusted. A potential problem is water getting into the open holes and causing corrosion inside the legs.

Two terms you may read in descriptions of shower chairs using aluminum are “anodized aluminum” and “powder coated aluminum.” Anodizing is a process used to increase corrosion and wear resistance. Powder coating is a finish that helps the metal resist corrosion and damage from the elements. Powder coating can come in virtually any color or finish, matte or smooth, is rust-free, scratch resistant, and ecologically friendly.

Hardwood

You might not think of using wood in a shower, but some woods are both water resistant and good looking. In particular, teak wood shower seats and benches are very popular. They are known for being durable, comfortable, and giving your shower a dash of style.

Teak is a tropical wood most often found in Indonesia. It has natural oils which make it resistant to the moisture and humidity found in bathrooms. The popularity of teak has led to growth in sustainable production throughout the seasonally dry tropics in forestry plantations. The Forest Stewardship Council  offers certification of sustainably grown and harvested teak products.

Teak comes in brown hues that bring nature’s organic earth tones into your shower. Some shower seats will take on a silver grey patina after months of exposure to water. This is natural. However, if you find your wooden seat beginning to crack and buckle, you should become suspicious about it being genuine teak.

There are teak shower chairs with adjustable aluminum legs, triangular teak shower seats that fit into the corner of a shower, and longer teak benches that can be raised and lowered. Typically, there are spaces between the teak slats to allow water to flow through.

You may also find shower seats made of Iroko, which is a hardwood from tropical Africa. It is sometimes referred to as African Teak. For environmental threats to this type of wood, see this link.

Mesh

Mesh is typically found in folding shower seats. Because mesh is pliable it is excellent for shower seats that need to be portable and lightweight. Mesh cleans easily and is resistant to mold and mildew. Shower seats made of mesh will fold into a small space for easy storage.

Typically, mesh shower seats hold less weight than those made of other materials. But if you need shower seat for traveling, mesh may be your best solution.