Built-in shower seats come in a variety of shapes, styles, and materials. Your choice will largely depend on the structure of your shower and how you want the bench or seat to be used. Typically, shower seats are installed when the bathroom will be used by someone who has mobility issues and is in a wheelchair, or who can't stand without assistance for extended periods of time. However, an increased number of luxury showers come with a built-in seat as well. If you want to incorporate this seat element in your new bathroom, read on to learn more.
Shower seats come in a few different styles. One of the more popular varieties has a bench-type look and can be folded up or down depending on whether it's needed. Mounted corner seats are also quite functional. Still others consist of a chair or bench that is separate from the shower and can be removed and replaced as needed. Large showers often have a built in bench style seat as part of the design. Prices range from as low as about $30 for a removable folding seat, to as high as $2,000 for a full shower that is designed with the seat attached. Popular manufacturers for shower seats include Swanstone, Moen, Kohler, Steamist and Mr. Steam.
If you choose a shower seat that can be removed from the shower, make sure that it is small and light enough to be easily maneuvered by the person who will be using the seat. If wheelchair access is necessary, that will be your primary consideration in the design of the shower and placement of the doors and seat.
Most experts recommend that shower seats or benches be about 17-19 inches from the floor at the highest point, and that they are located near the faucet and controls for ease of access and use. If you're installing a new bench in your existing shower, make sure that there is a slope downward to allow the water to drain off the seat, preventing moisture and mold issues.
Because shower seats are typically used by people with disabilities, you should contact the Association for Disabled Americans (ADA) when you're planning the design of a new shower with a seat installed (or for a bench to be placed in an existing shower). The ADA has created guidelines that can help ensure your shower seat is safe and accessible.