Super-size shower doors

Michael Turner, technical sales representative at Bohle, argues that the demands placed on shower screen hardware has grown with ever larger sizes.

We’ve recently supported a customer on the installation of a 3m tall shower screen, weighing in at around 60kg. Is that the ‘norm’ for a shower screen? Well possibly not, but shower screens are getting bigger and that’s placing new requirements on hardware.

Bohle offers an extensive choice of shower hardware. In this example the customer opted for the Milano Original hinge. Suitable for glass or wall mounting, it’s manufactured in brass – in this case, chrome plated.

As general rule, the Milano can span door widths of up to 850mm with a 10mm glass. It also features a self-closing function and a continuously adjustable zero position. Maximum door weight per pair is generally 50kg – in this case the customer overcame weight limitations with the addition of a third hinge.

This project was definitely towards the end of the scale but it’s not unique. We’re being approached more and more by customers who need to be able to supply heavy duty hardware for ever bigger shower screens.

What are the drivers? I’d argue that it’s the product of stepping outside of mainstream shower design. Where design is bespoke it tends to be bigger whether that’s a homeowner or commercial end client. These are higher end – and consequently, higher margin – projects. We’re talking about boutique hotel refurbishment or ‘Grand Design-type’ home improvements.

The shower or shower room is a focal-point in the bathroom and it’s being used by interior designers as a statement. Large openings and glass doors are short-hand for high-end luxury with shower screens emulating the shift to use of larger glass installations in architecture more widely.

Other areas of the market are also driving growth. Space is at a premium for many of us and that’s driven a growing number of loft conversions as an additional bedroom – many with en suite facilities and guest bathrooms.

These are often difficult spaces with low or challenging ceiling heights and tight dimensions, which by definition aren’t served by mainstream products. This is, again, contributing to growing demand for specialist product and increased flexibility.

Our range of swing door hinges, and the flexibility that they offer, allows glass processors to meet these increasingly diverse requirements.

We also offer a number of sliding door solutions, which include the easy install and compact Aquant 40. Designed to simplify installation and maximise use of space the ultra-compact shower system is packed with design features.

This includes a soft close action, which despite using cushioning and retraction systems on both sides of the sash and featuring a completely covered roller assembly, uses a slimline profile only 50mm high and 57mm deep.

Robust wall brackets and reinforced profiles mean that there is also no need for ceiling suspension. This includes corner and U-Showers.

The finished product performs to a very high standard and delivers a real sense of premium quality but combines this with really straightforward and non-nonsense installation.

It’s the market at its extremes, which offers the greatest opportunity. That’s the larger statement installations in the commercial and high-end domestic markets but also those products that lend themselves to installations in more challenging settings where space is at a premium.

Each requires specialism, including in hardware, and that’s where we sit. The range that we offer means that in the vast majority of circumstances we can provide glass processors an effective solution – something we underpin with technical support.