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A solid first step in creating a multi-generational design bathroom is to assess as best you can the current and projected needs of the people who will be living in the space. Whether embarking on a new construction or a remodeling project, the design of the space and the selection of product should be a reflection of those who will live in and use the environment.

Depending on the lifestyle and requirements of household members, the options can vary. While new constructions generally include a tub in each secondary bathroom, do bathrooms for teenagers or guests really require tubs? And even though most people think “tub” when planning a remodel for universal design, this may not be the only or best choice.

In designing a bathroom that is truly multi-generational, or universally user-friendly, showers emerge as the “unsung hero” of this endeavor, providing an attractive, versatile and functional solution to the challenge.

Accommodating Shower Systems

Why are showers multi-gen design-friendly? Three good reasons:

  1. Transfer ease. By their very design, shower bases are easier bathing vehicles to enter and exit than tubs. Any shower base has a shallower threshold to step over than the wall of any tub, thereby requiring less dexterity, regardless of bather age.
  2. Transfer time. A shower allows one to start the water running and adjust it to a comfortable temperature in advance.

The combination of these two factors decreases the amount of time the bather is subjected to the ambient air temperature of the bathroom while unclothed before entering the warmed water environment. This is especially important for a person who has mobility impediments. The time it takes to enter a shower with a modest or zero threshold is much less than the time it takes to navigate over the wall of a tub, and then to lower oneself – or be lowered – into the warmed bathwater.

  1. Resting possibilities. Showers afford a variety of options for providing seating areas as a resting place during transfer or during the actual showering process. This is also a very nice convenience for women when shaving their legs. Seating areas can either be integrated in the shower base itself, or seats can be positioned inside as well as outside the shower. MTI’s shower seats are constructed of genuine teak with stainless steel hardware, both of which can withstand the wet environment of the shower. MTI Teak Shower Seats are wall-mounted and can be folded-up, out of the way when not in use.

MTI excels in providing assistance and solutions for all of the areas cited above. MTI’s comprehensive range of shower bases includes over 75 models in various sizes, shapes and materials. Some are constructed of Engineered Solid Stone® material, which is a mixture of ground minerals and high-performance resins that are liquefied, poured and then hardened. The matte surface meets ANSI standards for slip resistance. These “molded stone” bases feature a low-profile, multiple-threshold design for versatile installation, great looks and easy access. These bases are high in both design and function.

Other bases are constructed of cross-linked cast acrylic with strong reinforced backing to eliminate flexing of the floor pan. They are attractive and easy to clean. Some are single threshold, and others are low-profile, multiple threshold, which means that they can be specified from the factory to accept glass enclosures on one, two or three sides. The low-profile design not only presents a very clean look, but it also makes entrance and exit easier. As a standard feature, MTI acrylic shower bases include a slip-resistant textured bottom that meets ASTM F-462-1994 certification requirements for safer showering.

Taking this one step further, if a zero-barrier entrance is desired, the low-profile, multiple threshold bases can easily be recessed in the floor. When used in combination with a teak shower tray, a flat, barrier-free transfer surface is created between bathroom floor and shower.

Another alternative for a zero-barrier entrance are MTI’s  Barrier-Free Shower Bases in various sizes, both seated and unseated, made specifically for easy, seamless transfer from bathroom space to shower. Constructed with slip-resistant bottom, the front threshold is a mere 1-3/4″ high, which is designed to be recessed in the floor, creating a flat transfer surface between bathroom floor and shower floor. A special drain design with stainless steel grate cover efficiently drains water to the center.

Complementing MTI’s extensive assortment of shower bases are shower enclosures with a true frameless design and no old-fashioned headers for a clean, uncluttered appearance as well as convenient entry and exit, even for tall persons. Glass doors and panels are constructed of very substantial tempered safety glass. For strength and durability, hardware is made of cast brass and attaches through the glass to ensure security and long-term proper alignment.
Download MTI’s White Paper: MTI White-Paper: Shower or Walk-In Tub.

Click here for information about MTI products that are ADA-compliant for municipal and commercial purposes.