Wall height for shower: Full or partial?

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Arby

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The shower in my soon-to-be constructed home has three framed walls. Two are full height. I'm trying to decide if the third wall should be full height too....or partial height.

I enjoy long, hot, and steamy showers. This leads me to want that third wall full height...to keep the steam and heat in. However, the bathroom and shower are smaller....so things might feel/look roomier if the wall is not full height.

That said, I do have some glass block that I could stick in a full height wall that would help things appear roomier....and it would let in some light to the shower.

Thoughts?
 

JG plumbing

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I think you have it figured out. Glass block up to full height sounds like a winner. Just make sure you keep access to the shower valve and trap somehow. There are plenty of creative ways to make it look good and still be accessible.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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If you do a little research from a design standpoint, you will find that the use of glass block in the residential environment is very polarizing. Architects and designers either love it or hate it and so do many people.

That being said if you plan on staying in the house for a very long time, and you like Glass block, then go for it. If the time in your house is uncertain, then you may consider just a flat panel of glass to achieve the same goal. You probably know what I’m talking about, it’s the 3/8 inch thick tempered glass used to make custom shower enclosures. If privacy is a concern, the glass can be sourced with different patterns on it to allow light but not full transmission of what’s behind it.

You said you like to take a long hot and steamy showers. Ensure you have a very powerful ventilation fan for that bathroom, and make sure it vents to outside.
 

Arby

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If you do a little research from a design standpoint, you will find that the use of glass block in the residential environment is very polarizing. Architects and designers either love it or hate it and so do many people.

That being said if you plan on staying in the house for a very long time, and you like Glass block, then go for it. If the time in your house is uncertain, then you may consider just a flat panel of glass to achieve the same goal. You probably know what I’m talking about, it’s the 3/8 inch thick tempered glass used to make custom shower enclosures. If privacy is a concern, the glass can be sourced with different patterns on it to allow light but not full transmission of what’s behind it.

You said you like to take a long hot and steamy showers. Ensure you have a very powerful ventilation fan for that bathroom, and make sure it vents to outside.
Thanks. I retired myself (mostly) from architectural design ~18 yrs ago. Though I was not a big fan of glass block myself, I speced it often due in part to it being a big thing here at the time...and due to many of my clients liking it. Never thought I'd consider using it in my own house yrs later....but, I enjoy using salvaged materials, and acquired (24) 8x8 blocks that came out of a 50s home that was demoed.

So, I'm sitting on this little pile of glass blocks thinking I could put them to good use but, given my latest indifference to them, am a little hesitant on whether I can pull it off in a way I like.

I also have some salvaged 3/8" x 18" x 48" plexi glass panels that I may be able to incorporate instead. I almost favor the glass block though.

Re the exhaust fan. Seems the norm to place them in the center of the bathroom but I'm considering installing mine right above the shower....thinking that I'll capture and exhaust the steam close to its source. Thoughts on that?



I plan to stay in this home till I pass. So, am not concerned if other's like it or not.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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I also have some salvaged 3/8" x 18" x 48" plexi glass panels that I may be able to incorporate instead. I almost favor the glass block though.

Re the exhaust fan. Seems the norm to place them in the center of the bathroom but I'm considering installing mine right above the shower....thinking that I'll capture and exhaust the steam close to its source. Thoughts on that?
I've never heard of Plexi being used here; but why not? Just have to be exceedingly careful when cleaning or wiping, it will scratch like nobody's business.

In my own bathroom(s) there were/are generally two exhaust fans; one for the toilet area (particularly when that was in its own cubby or room with either a normal or pocket door, and the second for the shower. Electricians, wiring to spec from the builder, generally put them on their own switch. However I've run into far too many people (including too many in my own set of friends and family) that seemingly don't understand that you need to exhaust the hot moist air from a shower; so whenever given the opportunity, I've tied the light together with the fan. That made it better except for yet another subset :mad: that prefer to shower in the dark or w/o the light on. Cannot tell you how many times I've "caught" people leaving our bathroom like a swamp because they "forgot" or didn't know any better to turn the $#@& fan on! [sound of head exploding]...

If your bathroom is small enough or the toilet is "exposed" with the rest of the fixtures, I suppose a single fan would do--just ensure it's a good one for those hot showers. The last one I knowingly bought and installed was a quiet Panasonic (100+ cfm?) that ramped up to full velocity and was very quiet. Now, they make them with timers or humidity sensors on them so they stay on for X amount of minutes after power off or some such. Even some very nice custom homes around here (approaching $1M) have these cheap builder's grade Broan or Nutone fans that sell for under $20 and exhaust maybe 50 CFM, and are noisy. Best to install a better fan now while you have the opportunity.

That's my two cents!
 

PerplexedPlumber

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I like plexiglass for some purposes, but after a while, you can see the effects of cleaning. When you can clean without physical contact or without using chemicals, it is good. It is more "transparent" than glass for framing, and for book shelf covers, if you can use it frameless and clean it in a shower, rinsing with hot water and not wiping, it works well. (That also works well for sunglasses.)

We also thought about a partial wall in our shower with glass above. By the time I looked at the way the glass would be framed and the cost of custom-cut glass to adjoin the shower door, along with the use of caulk at the base, it wasn't as appealing. When you can build a shower without using caulk inside, you don't have that strip of what eventually looks dirty and must be cleaned frequently until it is eventually re-caulked. I like low-maintenance when we can get it. We chose tile with epoxy grout, and a high-mounted shower. Let's see how this works out in the long run.

We use only one 100 cfm fan, centered near the shower. That works well enough for all purposes. But Mitchell makes an excellent point: bath exhaust fans are for moisture as much as anything else. There are a number of moisture-absorbing or moisture-collecting surfaces in a bathroom. If you don't eliminate the moisture while it is removable as steam, you provide support for microbial growth. Bath fans are an important part of humidity control in a home. Design for humidity control should be for reducing excess humidity and maintaining a healthy level of humidity during dry times. Unlike Mitchell, we don't have trouble with use of the fan - hard to use a bath mirror after a shower if you don't. Vent fans are good for laundry rooms and other "wet" rooms also. There are some that will automatically shut off when a certain humidity level is reached.

I like using/reusing materials too. (beginning to need a larger storage space) We have leftover glass blocks that will find a purpose at some point, perhaps in a greenhouse or sunroom. Good for letting light in when you need privacy, like a bath window, or for adding at a high point in a wall instead of a window.
 
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