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6 Tips for Comparing One-Piece Fiberglass Showers

one-piece fiberglass showers

Not all shower stalls are created equal. When comparing your options, consider both form and function. One-piece fiberglass showers all offer the convenience of a more streamlined installation, but are they truly one piece? Do you need to level a mortar bed, shim the base, or extend PVC legs or wooden supports down from the shower back? Are they durable enough to reliably survive shipping and installation without any chips or cracks?

One must also prioritize visual appeal. The last thing your client will want is a boxy, featureless shower that feels more clinical than welcoming in its design. This is especially important when comparing ADA-compliant models that can sometimes emphasize accessibility without concern for aesthetics. 

Here are a few tips that should help you winnow down your options to the best of the bunch:

Compare Strength Tests & Weight Loads For Accessories

Full height reinforcement is not a given in one-piece fiberglass showers. However, models that do offer this perk will allow for the installation of accessories like grab bars and seats wherever the client or end-user prefers — either before or after the shower is put in place. EverFab’s strength test results speak for themselves. With our fully compliant, full-height reinforced fiberglass showers, tests have verified that our accessories support at least double the ADA required weight capacities, and in some cases much more. One grab bar location withstood 1,505 pounds of force before failure…six times the limit set by ADA standards.

Look For Optimal Fiberglass Composition

A fiberglass shower has a simple makeup, in theory, but it’s easy to get the balance of basic materials wrong. Fiberglass composite is basically a mixture of glass and calcium sulfate (plus any dyes used to add color to the material). 

The more calcium sulfate in the mix, the more rigid the fiberglass feels. However, this is a misleading trait because calcium-heavy fiberglass is actually more brittle and prone to chips and cracks. More glass and less calcium sulfate make the shower tougher and more durable. You can’t skimp on the calcium sulfate too much, though, due to the flammability of fiberglass — calcium sulfate mutes this trait. The right balance is essential for an ideal shower.

Examine the Shower Bottom for Thickness and a Level Base

The shower bottom is easily the most common failure point in one-piece fiberglass showers. A thin, warped, or unbalanced bottom can lead to substantial trouble in installation. Contractors must often lay and level a mortar bed to provide better support for insufficient shower bases.

The EverFab Bottom Plate is unlike anything else on the market. All of our showers have this durable one-piece composite — the same material that makes up the rest of the shower — fully laminated onto the unit base. It’s pre-leveled, diamond-cut, and a vast upgrade over flimsy PVC legs or wooden supports extending down from the back of the shower (which don’t support the base at all).

The Lighter the Better

Lightweight showers reinforced entirely with fiberglass offer more strength and longevity and are far easier to ship, carry, and install. Shy away from heavy one-piece fiberglass showers that are reinforced with wood backing, which is cumbersome and can lead to delamination in a moist environment. 

In general, heavier showers are a sign of poorly selected and cheap materials. EverFab uses a proprietary core material that is 50% lighter than plywood but sacrifices no strength and actually soaks into the fiberglass resin, improving bonds between the reinforcing layers in the unit’s structure.

Storage Space

Corner shelves, recesses for soap, ledges along the back wall, and other contours for storing soaps, bottles and personal items are signs of conscientious design. Not only are these details aesthetically pleasing compared to a blank box shower, but they offer home-like convenience not always found in one-piece fiberglass showers.

Consider Simulated Tile or Recesses for Tile Inlay

Surface finishes like simulated tile can lend sophistication and class to a fiberglass shower. We also offer models with a recessed band along the mid-line of the shower for post-installation custom inlay of real tile, to complete the shower’s look and blend it into the bathroom’s decor. Take a look at these options while comparing showers and ask yourself whether the client or end-user will prefer a sleek look that’s easiest to clean or a more refined tiled appearance that’s still far easier to install and maintain than a full tile shower.

Looking for more options? Browse our catalog of one-piece fiberglass showers and choose the best design for your project!

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