Shower enclosures are a fantastic way to add a sense of elegance and aesthetic quality to your bathroom while also boosting the value of your home. As the world of home improvement continues to grow and expand, so does the variety and selections of shower enclosures, specifically glass shower enclosures. 

No two bathrooms are alike, and therefore when selecting a shower enclosure for your bathroom it is imperative that you make an informed, intentional choice.

When looking at the landscape of enclosures today, we can break down the varieties of options into three families of designs. Understanding these designs and the functionality that they offer will help you in determining which type of shower enclosure best suits your situation.

Read The BLGLASS Blog!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Three Designs of Shower Enclosures 

Shower enclosures can be broken down into three general design categories: 


  • Shower and tub enclosures
  • Walk-in or built-in showers
  • Steam showers


Understanding the latest innovations as well as the pros and cons between these types of shower enclosure can assist you in making future-focused decisions as you go about your bathroom renovation or home building project. 

To assist you, the experts at B&L Glass Santa Rosa have broken down each type of enclosure below so that you can determine which enclosure may be the best fit for your home. 


1. Shower and Tub Enclosures

Individual shower and bathtub enclosures are often considered the two standard parts to your bathroom design. A standard glass shower stall displaces approximately 9 to 12 square feet on average, and a freestanding standard-sized tub encompasses roughly 13 to 15 square feet whereas a classic bathroom shower tub enclosure design will require less space than the two individually. 

Considering that an average bathroom consists of approximately 40 square feet, these types of enclosures can generally occupy a large amount of real estate and therefore may not be the prime selection for smaller bathrooms or bathrooms with high traffic that will be occupied by multiple people at the same time. 

Similarly, in a world where home design has put a premium on elegant aesthetics and heightened minimalism, these combination enclosures represent a more traditional design and do not often fit the style of modern designers. For the homeowner looking to invest in future value, the standard shower and tub enclosures may not be the best option to glean long-term value and higher returns as the combo tub and shower can feel a bit dated or inelegant.

That being said, there have recently been some innovations in the field of shower and tub enclosures such as quadrant shower enclosures which feature a modern, streamlined aesthetic or various other types of tub enclosures that utilize different geometric styles to make use of space. 

The tub enclosure allows for the ability to integrate different design elements to give your space a certain classic feel, allowing for the flexibility of both features in the home, and can be coupled with glass partitions to finish a tub enclosure with a sleek, clean, modern look- which a shower curtain could never do.

One of the challenges of shower tub enclosures is that they can be hard to clean and maintain. Shower bathtub combination enclosures are often glazed with treads to prevent slips, which inevitably hold on to dirt. The treads also make for a rather inelegant place to sit in the tub, and while soaking, the shower curtain, often mildewed and damp, hangs beside you when not in use. 

The combo offers many compromises to get both functions. Having a glass pane surrounding the tub eliminates the soaking wet curtain and much of the challenge in cleaning. Glass panes wipe down easily, especially when finished with our clear, textured or frosted glass finishes. 

Download our shower enclosure guide

  • download our shower guide CTA
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

2. Walk-In or Built-In Showers 

Walk-in showers have become a staple in modern bathroom design and carry several advantages over the more conventional shower and tub enclosures. The walk-in shower often utilizes a frameless design, which gives a clean, minimalist look and features large glass panes with open edges that create a relaxing sense of space and seamlessness. 

With that minimalist design comes a sense of elegance and class. A walk-in shower is more than sleek: it’s a beautiful focal point in your bathroom when designed with custom glass and finishes.

On a practical level, walk-in showers can be far more functional as they are easier to enter and exit, making them ideal for modern designs, and also homes that cater to multiple generations. The ease of entry is both a design choice and a practical choice for buyers of all ages and needs.

The open style lends itself to easy maintenance and cleaning requirements and the absence of a curtain ensures a lower mildew level and an easier clean. Further, tile and glass tends to be an easier surface to clean as opposed to the typical porcelain or acrylic that is utilized in low-end shower interiors and tub enclosures. 

Walk-in showers have also become popular as of late due to their flexibility, as this design can fit easily in almost any sized bathroom and can be situated to match both the aesthetics and the layout of the space. With a walk-in shower, the challenge of fitting standard-sized shower enclosures into an existing bathroom layout is eliminated. Designers can now work with the natural elements of the space rather than against them. Windows, entry doors and even antique fixtures and piping can be utilized rather than avoided. 


  • Dimensions of small walk-in showers: 32” x 32” to 34” x 34”
  • Dimensions of medium walk-in showers: 36” x 36” to 48” by 36” 


Walk-in showers can also be used in hybrid with free-standing tubs, eliminating the need for a single shower and tub enclosures. For certain bathrooms, semi-frameless designs can also be used which combine elements of both framed and frameless enclosures to add extra design elements and accessibility. In the world of shower and tub design, there is a custom solution for every room and style.

With every style and design in mind, you can customize more than just your layout. Custom shower enclosures now offer the ability to add voice temperature control, LED lighting, and speaks and entertainment systems to play your favorite morning wake up playlist.

To begin your custom shower enclosure design, reach out to the experts and B&L Glass, to begin building the perfect in-home spa and shower. 


3. Steam Showers 

Steam showers have become especially popular as of late as they create a spa-like environment in your home bathroom and can add a substantial degree of value to your shower. 

Combining elements of the frameless shower enclosure, frameless steam shower enclosures can be installed as stand-alone structures to reap the design and space benefits of frameless enclosures while still creating enough sealant to capture moisture from the steam. Then a simple control mechanism is installed through a control panel to activate the shower’s steam generator, which heats the water to produce the relaxing, therapeutic steam effect. The steam is channeled through a specialized shower head, which fills the enclosure. 

Alternatively, a steam generator can also be added to a standard shower enclosure, so that there is no need to install a separate enclosure. In this instance, no additional ventilation is required as the steam simply condenses back into water over time and drains away through your shower or tub’s system. 

The digital controls of the steam shower make activation simple and give the user the power to adjust the length of time and temperature of the steam. Many models come with additional esthetic perks such as:


  • Built-in sound systems– water-resistant and specially designed to withstand moisture. 
  • Scent infusion- lavender, amber, and rainforest moss are all great scent infusions to bring a relaxing vibe into your bathroom spa. 
  • Adjustable lighting- dimmers are only the beginning to the world of adjustable lighting. Program your lighting preferences to specify when you’re in the tub or the shower, or for daytime and nighttime use. 


For enclosures, steam showers can utilize either framed or frameless styles – this may depend on the available space in the bathroom as well as the homeowner’s specific preferences.  

While steam showers do come at a slightly elevated cost, the consensus in the home improvement community is that these features substantially boost the evaluation of a home and can, therefore, be a sound investment for creating future value. 

To learn everything you need to know about shower enclosures, download The Ultimate Guide on Shower Enclosures and call the experts at B&L Glass, today.


Shower Enclosures- Which is Best for Me?

In the end, determining which type of shower enclosure is best for your bathroom comes down to a question of your space, your style, and your budget. Each enclosure brings a different set of pros and cons and must be evaluated with the context of your individual bathroom in mind. 


The professionals at B&L Glass are specifically trained to assist you in determining the best type of enclosure for your property and can walk you through the steps of designing, purchasing, and installing the perfect enclosure for your bathroom. 


Call us today at 707-546-4143 or use our online contact form (link here) to begin building your dream bathroom today.