Tekra Builders Main Logo

Walk-In Shower vs. Standard Shower: A Comparison of Space, Functionality, and Style

Shower Choices Unveiled

Ever found yourself pondering the differences between a walk-in shower and a standard shower, especially when planning a bathroom makeover?

Or perhaps, you’ve wondered which one suits your Beacon, NY home the best?

Today, we’re going to dive deep into the world of showers.

From the sleek, modern walk-in shower to the traditional, enclosed standard shower, we’ll explore every nook and cranny.

By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge to make an informed decision for your bathroom remodeling in Beacon, NY.

Walk-In Showers: An In-Depth Overview


A walk-in shower with a traditional zero entry curbless design.

Walk-in showers are often seen as the crowning jewel of modern bathroom design, symbolizing both luxury and simplicity.

They’ve come a long way from being mere functional spaces to becoming central features that define the aesthetics and feel of a bathroom.

The Evolution of Walk-In Showers

The traditional concept of a walk-in shower, often characterized by its lack of any curb or threshold, is now frequently referred to as a “zero entry” shower design.

This design eliminates any barrier between the shower space and the rest of the bathroom, creating a seamless and continuous look. This completely open design is often used in wet rooms.

The zero-entry aspect is not only visually appealing but also serves a practical purpose, especially in creating an accessible space for individuals with mobility challenges.

However, the definition of walk-in showers has broadened over time.

Many now feature a low curb or a ledge, a slight modification from the zero-entry concept.

These curbs are typically just a few inches high, designed to subtly demarcate the shower area while still maintaining the openness of the walk-in design.

They serve a critical function – containing water within the shower area and preventing spillage into the rest of the bathroom.

This containment is essential, especially in bathroom designs where waterproofing the entire bathroom may not be feasible or desirable.

Now let’s take a closer look at some walk-in shower pros:

Pros of Walk-In Showers

Walk-in showers have become a staple in modern bathroom designs, not just for their sleek and contemporary look but also for the multitude of benefits they bring to homeowners.

Here’s a closer look at each of these advantages:


  • Uncluttered Design: A walk-in shower eliminates the need for shower curtains or doors, offering an open and expansive feel. This openness can make even smaller bathrooms appear larger and more inviting.


  • Seamless Aesthetics: The lack of barriers in a walk-in shower creates a continuous visual flow, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the bathroom. This shower-style design aspect is particularly effective in minimalist or contemporary decor.


Better Accessibility

  • Ease of Entry and Exit: The absence of steps or high ledges in a walk-in shower makes it highly accessible, especially for the elderly, those with mobility issues, or anyone who might find stepping over a traditional bathtub ledge challenging.


  • Adaptable Features: Walk-in showers can be equipped with additional accessibility features such as grab bars, built-in seating, or adjustable showerheads, further enhancing safety and comfort. For this reason, a walk-in shower may be best for those who want an aging-in-place bathroom design.


High-Tech Options

  • Advanced Shower Systems: Many walk-in showers feature state-of-the-art systems with multi-nozzle spray or rain shower heads, providing a spa-like experience.


  • Customization: Advanced thermostatic controls allow for precise temperature and flow adjustments for hot showers, adding to the luxury of the shower experience.


  • Smart Features: Some walk-in showers incorporate smart technology, like digital controls that remember your preferred settings or even voice and remote control options.


Ease of Cleaning

An elaborate tile design in a shower niche

  • Simplified Maintenance: The open design and lack of hardware, such as shower doors or curtains, make walk-in shower enclosures easier to clean compared to traditional shower enclosures.


  • Less Mold and Mildew: Reduced crevices and corners mean fewer places for water to collect and for mold or mildew to develop.


  • Durable Materials: Walk-in showers often use materials like tile, stone, or seamless glass panels that are not only stylish but also resistant to stains and easy to maintain.



  • Customizable to Any Layout: Whether you have a small, awkwardly shaped bathroom or a spacious one, a custom walk-in shower can be designed to fit perfectly.


  • Design Freedom: You can choose from a variety of designs, finishes, and materials to match your bathroom’s decor and your personal style.


Perfect for Any Size

  • Adaptable to Different Spaces: Walk-in showers are not constrained by size – they can be compact for small bathrooms or expansive for larger ones.


  • Optimizing Bathroom Space: In smaller bathrooms, a walk-in shower can free up bathroom floor space that would otherwise be used for a bathtub, making the room feel less cramped.


Cons of Walk-In Showers

While walk-in showers offer many benefits, it’s important to consider their potential drawbacks to make an informed decision.

Here’s an in-depth look at some of the disadvantages:

Cost Factor

  • Initial Investment: Walk-in showers often come with a higher price tag compared to traditional showers. This is due to factors like the cost of materials (such as high-quality tiles or glass panels) and the complexity of the design and installation.


  • Customization Costs: If you opt for custom features like designer tiles, premium shower heads, or advanced technology, the costs can increase significantly.


  • Renovation Expenses: In some cases, installing walk-in showers may require extensive bathroom remodeling, including additional waterproofing, a shower screen, and a new shower floor or shower base, which can add to the overall expense. You can learn more about bathroom remodeling costs here.


Privacy Concerns

  • Open Design: The very feature that adds to the appeal of walk-in showers—their open and doorless design—can also be a drawback for those who prefer more privacy while showering.


  • Suitability: In households with multiple members sharing a bathroom, the lack of privacy with walk-in showers can be a significant issue. This is particularly true in homes without a separate master bathroom.


Child Bathing Challenges

  • Less Convenient for Young Children: Bathing small children in a walk-in shower can be more challenging compared to a full-size tub. The open space and lack of a shower enclosure can lead to more water spillage and a less controlled environment for kids’ baths.


  • Safety Considerations: Without the confines of a tub, young children may find it difficult to stabilize themselves, increasing the risk of slips or falls.


Less Traditional Appeal

  • Aesthetic Preference: Some individuals prefer the classic look and feel of a traditional shower or bathtub. The modern and minimalist design of walk-in shower enclosures may not resonate with those who favor a more conventional bathroom aesthetic.


  • Resale Considerations: Depending on the market and potential buyers’ preferences, a home with only walk-in showers (and no bathtub) might be less appealing to certain segments of homebuyers, such as families with young children.



Step-In Standard Showers: A Traditional Choice

A step-in shower design with a glass enclosure and door.

Step-in showers, often seen as the quintessential element of a traditional bathroom, hold a firm place in many homes.

These showers blend functionality with familiarity, offering a bathing experience that many find comforting and practical.

Step-in showers typically fall into two main classic design categories :

  • Built-in Tubs: Many step-in showers come with built-in tubs, offering the dual functionality of showering and bathing. This feature is particularly appealing to families with children or individuals who enjoy a relaxing soak.


  • Enclosures: Other step-in showers are enclosed with either a curtain or glass doors. This design provides privacy and contains water and steam within the shower area.


Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of standard step-in shower designs:

Pros of Standard Step-In Showers

Step-in showers, with their traditional design and practical features, offer several advantages that make them a favorable option in many homes.

Here’s a deeper dive into the benefits they provide:

Boost in Resale Value

  • Broader Appeal: Step-in showers, especially those with a bathtub, often appeal to a wider range of potential homebuyers. This is particularly true for families with children or people who enjoy baths.


  • Versatile Attractiveness: Their classic design can complement a variety of bathroom styles, making them a safe choice for increasing the overall appeal of a home on the market.


  • Perceived Value: The presence of a bathtub in a bathroom is sometimes seen as a valuable feature in real estate, potentially boosting the home’s resale value.



  • Lower Initial Cost: Compared to walk-in showers, standard step-in showers are typically more budget-friendly, both in terms of the materials required and the installation process.


  • Cost-Effective Renovations: For homeowners looking to update their bathroom without a complete overhaul, retrofitting a step-in shower can be more economical than installing a new walk-in shower.


Ideal for Kids

  • Convenience for Bathing Children: The combination of a shower and bathtub makes it easier to bathe young children or pets. The bathtub provides a contained, safe space for kids to sit and play during bath time.


  • Flexibility: As children grow, the same space can be used for showering, offering a long-term, versatile solution for evolving family needs.


Enhanced Privacy

  • Seclusion: Step-in showers with curtains or doors offer more privacy compared to the open design of walk-in showers. This feature is particularly appreciated in shared bathrooms or in homes where personal bathing space is valued.


  • Personalization: Shower curtains or doors can be chosen to match the bathroom’s décor, adding an element of personal style while enhancing privacy.



Cons of Standard Step-In Showers

While step-in showers have their advantages, it’s important also to consider their potential drawbacks.

Understanding these can help homeowners make more informed choices for their bathroom renovations.

Cleaning Woes

  • Complex Cleaning Areas: Step-in showers often come with tubs and enclosures that have multiple corners, edges, and surfaces. This complexity can make thorough cleaning more time-consuming and challenging.


  • Grime and Mildew Accumulation: The crevices around the tub, along with the tracks and frames of shower doors, are prone to the accumulation of soap scum, grime, and mildew. This requires regular, sometimes strenuous cleaning to maintain hygiene.


  • Shower Curtain Maintenance: If using shower curtains, these need frequent washing or replacement as they are prone to mold and mildew, especially in damp bathroom environments.


Accessibility Hurdles

  • Challenges for Mobility-Impaired Individuals: The need to step over the tub’s edge can be a significant barrier for people with mobility issues, such as the elderly or those with disabilities.


  • Risk of Slips and Falls: The combination of a wet surface and the need to step over a high tub wall increases the risk of slips and falls, making step-in showers less safe for some users.


Installation Intricacies

  • Complex Fitting Requirements: Installing a step-in shower, especially in a space that wasn’t initially designed for one, can be complex. It often involves plumbing alterations, tiling, and ensuring proper sealing to prevent leaks.


  • Incompatibility with Some Layouts: In bathrooms with unconventional layouts or limited space, fitting a step-in shower with a tub can be challenging and might require significant structural changes.


Space Constraints

  • Limited Space in Small Bathrooms: In smaller bathrooms, the tub and enclosure of a step-in shower can occupy a significant amount of space, making the bathroom feel cramped.


  • Restrictive Shower Area: The actual area for standing and moving around in a step-in shower can be limited, especially when compared to the open space of walk-in showers.



Walk-In Shower vs. Standard Shower: Which Is Right For You?

A close up of a black shower faucet fixture with white tile background

As we wrap up this exploration of walk-in showers versus standard showers, it’s clear that both have their unique place in the world of bathroom design.

Walk-In Showers

Walk-in showers offer a blend of aesthetic appeal, functional convenience, and adaptability, making them a popular choice for homeowners in various settings, from compact city apartments to spacious suburban homes.

Their ability to be tailored to your individual preference and needs, combined with ease of use and maintenance, positions walk-in showers as a preferred choice for modern bathroom renovations.

Standard Showers

On the other hand, standard step-in showers bring a combination of practicality, cost-effectiveness, and traditional appeal.

They cater to a wide range of needs, from families with young children to those looking for a budget-friendly bathroom upgrade.

The added privacy and potential to boost a home’s resale value are significant factors that make step-in showers a popular choice for many homeowners.

These showers strike a balance between functionality and familiarity, making them a reliable and appealing option in the world of bathroom design.

Whether you’re swayed by the allure of an open, spacious walk-in shower or prefer the traditional, enclosed comfort of a standard shower, your choice will significantly impact the look and functionality of your bathroom.

By weighing these drawbacks against their advantages and personal needs, homeowners can make a decision that best fits their lifestyle and bathroom design goals.

Transform Your Bathroom with TEKRA Builders

A Japanese-inspired bathroom remodel with quartz countertops

Still pondering over the best shower option for your home in Beacon, NY?

Remember, the team at TEKRA Builders is here to guide you through every step of your bathroom remodeling journey.

We’ve even created a bathroom remodeling step-by-step guide to help you plan and execute a successful remodeling project.

We’ve dissected the ins and outs of both walk-in and standard showers and now it’s your turn to make the dream a reality.

Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call – let’s create a bathroom that’s not just a space but a statement.

author avatar