Never thought about sitting in a shower? This hub will whet your appetite for thinking about it.
What is a Shower Seat?
Shower seats, shower chairs, shower stools, and shower benches are similar terms for the same thing. They refer to any seat designed to support you sitting while taking a shower. This can be a standalone shower enclosure or a shower-bathtub combination.
Basically, all shower seats have a surface to sit on and legs or a base to support you. Because of the wet environment in which they are being used, shower seats are made from water repellent and water resistant materials.
In this hub you'll learn why you should consider this important bathroom accessory. You'll also learn about the different types of shower seats and some things to consider before buying one.
Why Sit in a Shower?
Many people (mostly women in my opinion – but I could be wrong) enjoy sitting in the bathtub, but don't think about sitting in the shower.
So here are two primary reasons you may want to sit in the shower.
People don't think of the shower as relaxing because you have to stand up. It's difficult to relax while you're standing. But if you use a shower seat, the shower can be an even better place than a tub to unwind and loosen up.
If you are sitting while in the shower, your legs won't get tired. That gives you the time to enjoy all the benefits of a shower. For example, by using an adjustable shower head you can have a steady, pulsating, or massage-like stream of water. And if the shower head is detachable, you can move that flow wherever you want on your body. Sit, relax, and let the shower water soothe away the pressures of your day.
What's more ladies (and some men!) if you want to shave your legs, it will be much easier when you're already sitting. Especially when you don’t have to worry about slipping off the edge of a bathtub.
There are times when you need physical support to take a shower.
Sprained ankles, torn ligaments, and knee surgery are just a few of the times when your doctor will tell you to "stay off your feet." By using a shower seat you can still follow doctor's orders and take a relaxing shower.
These range from chronic weakness to arthritis to complete paralysis of the legs. Standard shower seats as well as specially built shower chairs provide people with disabilities access to a shower. By supporting their weight, these people can keep their balance and sit upright when taking a shower.
Types of Shower Seats
There are three primary types of shower seats: freestanding, built-in, and shower commode chairs.
Freestanding shower seats and chairs are portable. That is, they are self-contained units that can be moved in and out of the shower. Typical materials used in their construction include PVC, aluminum, or teak. In most models, the legs are adjustable and the seats have holes for the water to run through.
A shower chair will have backrests and armrests for supporting your back and arms while you sit.
A shower stool is usually smaller than a shower seat and does not have a back.
A transfer bench is a special type of freestanding shower seat. It allows people with physical disabilities to move themselves from a wheelchair to a shower.
This is a more permanent type of shower seat. One type is a seat attached to the shower wall, which then provides back support. This seat may be hinged so it can be lowered when not in use.
A more elaborate built-in shower seat may be constructed and tiled as part of the shower stall. These can run the length of the shower wall or just be a corner shower seat. The seats than run the length of a shower wall are also called shower benches.
Shower Commode Chair
A shower commode chair is more like a wheelchair that is specially built to let people with physical disabilities sit in the shower. This type of chair is built of water-resistant materials and has large swivel casters for wheels. Some even have frames that tilt. This allows caregivers to help move the physically challenged person when they are in the shower.
Considerations When Buying a Shower Seat
Keep the following in mind when selecting a shower seat or shower chair.
1. Will the chair support your weight? Standard shower seats and chairs usually can support someone up to 250 pounds (113 kg). However, chairs are available if you weigh more than this. Constructed with reinforcement and/or with cross braces, some shower chairs can go up to 500 pounds (226 kg). And I have even seen chairs with specifications for up to 900 pounds (408 kg).
2. What safety features does the chair have? Considerations here include:
- Adjustable legs so the shower seat can be adjusted for your height, thus letting your feet provided added support.
- Rubber tips or suction cups on the ends of the legs to keep the shower seat from sliding.
- Backrests and/or armrests to support your back and legs while in the shower.
3. What will the shower chair cost? The price of shower seats and chairs will vary because of the features you choose and the quality of construction.
For freestanding shower chairs, features that add cost include reinforcement for heavier weights, backrests and armrests, and padding. Transfer benches that allow part of the bench to slide in place will increase the cost. Commode chairs typically cost more because they are specially built wheelchairs.
Construction is another consideration. Construction costs are based on the grade of the PVC used, the type of aluminum used, and if the seats are just one piece of molded PVC or have to be put together by hand such as a shower commode chair.
Obviously, shower benches that are built into the shower will include the cost of construction by a plumbing contractor. You can also do it yourself, but be sure you know what you're doing because if an attached shower seat comes off the shower wall it can be very dangerous – especially if you're sitting on it.
Sitting in a shower can offer you a new bathing experience. Why not think about taking advantage of the many types of shower seats, shower chairs, and shower benches available?
Leave a Comment
Plumber Bobby on October 28, 2010:
My grandmother has a built in seat in her shower as she does find it hard to stand for a long time. If she didn't have a built in chair I would most likely getting her one of the chairs above as they are so useful.
Dennis on August 18, 2010:
I love seeing a fellow shower chair informant hard at work. Excellent article. I am looking for inspiration stories related to shower chair users. Do you happen to have any blogs, people, or sites you could recommend?
Billsnotes (author) on August 10, 2010:
Thanks for the comment.
Ruth Benjamin from Georgia on August 08, 2010:
When remodeling a shower adding a shower seat is a wonderful addition to the space. Nice hub.
Billsnotes (author) on March 08, 2010:
You make a good point. Thanks for the comment.
TJ Stephens from Burnsville, MN on March 08, 2010:
Many seniors also find that the steam makes it difficult to breath, so they can become weak and even light-headed due to lack of oxygen. So many seniors need a shower seat to take a shower.