A level access shower provides safe, easy access to washing facilities for those with mobility problems. It’s the ideal solution for people who need access to washing facilities at home but struggle with getting into or out of a traditional bath or shower, such as the elderly, wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. 

By removing the bath and installing a specialist level access shower, you can create a wet room that is user-friendly and safe. It’s built without steps or trays making it easy for anyone to get into and out of, and allowing plenty of space for a wheelchair or anyone who needs assistance with washing.

Level access showers are stylish and functional and won’t devalue your home, making them a great choice for many homeowners in need of bathroom adaptations. 

As with any home modification, it’s important that you understand what it is you’re installing, how it works and what potential problems to be aware of. As adaptations specialists, we’re here to answer your questions and make sure you have all the information you need to make the right choice for your needs. 

When it comes to level access showers, the most commonly asked question is “Does a level access shower leak?”

The answer is simple. No, a correctly installed level access shower won’t leak or flood. This is mostly thanks to a slight gradient, or slope, on the floor that helps to carry all the water to the drain. 

How Does The Floor Work?

Much like in a traditional shower, the floor has a very slight slope that ensures all water runs away safely to the shower drain. 

This slope is called a ‘fall’ and it’s found on things like driveways and patios to help them manage rainwater. The same approach is used with a level access shower. The slight fall is essential for drainage and it means that any water that finds its way outside of the main shower area will run into the drain preventing pooling and flooding.

Don’t be put off by the idea of a sloping floor though, as it’s so slight you probably wouldn’t even notice it and it won’t affect your balance.

Level access shower

Level Access Shower Floor Types

There are two types of level access shower flooring to choose from; ceramic tiles or vinyl. Both are completely watertight, prevent leaks and look great.

Ceramic Tiles 

Ceramic tiles are a popular choice as they’re a common occurrence in many traditional bathrooms. With a wide range of tiles to choose from, you can create a style and design that suits your needs. 

But there is an important consideration when it comes to installing ceramic tiles. Because a level access shower is essentially a wet room, the whole floor needs to be waterproof – and traditionally installed ceramic tiles may not be, especially if the incorrect specification of grout is used in the joints. 

This is no problem – it just requires a special process during installation that’s called tanking. Tanking is when we use a waterproof membrane to ensure that your floor is completely watertight.

It can be painted underneath the tiles, or you can get rubberised sheets that overlap each other until the whole of the floor is covered. 

The tanking is placed up the walls, usually by at least a metre. This prevents any water from leaking through the tiles over time, for example, if the grout in the tiles started to degenerate. 

If water ever did get through the tiles, this tanking stops any potential water damage.

Vinyl Floor

Vinyl is another popular choice for a level access shower as it’s easy to install and comes in a variety of designs. It’s also much cheaper than tiling. Sheets of vinyl are used to cover the entire bathroom floor, creating a single covering that’s waterproof and slip-proof. 

Vinyl doesn’t require tanking like ceramic tiles because the vinyl is the tanking.

All joints are hot welded together to create a fully waterproof membrane and to prevent any leaks from seeping through. It’s usually turned up the wall by 100mm -150mm, to protect your walls and prevent water ingress. 

How Is The Floor Fixed?

How the tiles and vinyl are fixed helps to prevent leaks. Even with a slight slope to the floor, our work is 100% watertight.

Ceramic tiles are fixed on top of the tanking with super strong tile adhesive. They’re cut into triangular shapes (envelope cuts) to create the slight bend needed to lay onto the grade of the floor.

For vinyl, it’s much easier as it’s more pliable. The floor is first laid with plywood and then the vinyl is attached with professional-grade adhesive. 

It’s laid completely smooth, the joins are concealed and are finished by being hot welded to ensure total waterproofing.

Tiles Or Vinyl?

Trying to decide between the two is tough and is down to personal choice and budget. 

To help with the decision, we’ve made a list of all the benefits of each option: 

Why Choose Ceramic Tiles For Your Access Level Shower

  • More Choice – There is a huge variety of styles, shapes and sizes on offer which offers greater scope for the design and aesthetic of your wetroom.
  • Hard Wearing – If properly cared for, tiled floors can last for many years.
  • Non-Slip -. We only use tiles that have a high non-slip rating so you can be assured of your safety.
  • Underfloor Heating – The use of underfloor heating with a level access shower helps to dry out the floor quicker following use. It also adds a luxurious finishing touch.
  • High Specification Finish – Ceramic tiles will give your new wetroom a high-end, boutique hotel look. There’s no compromise on style with our wide range to choose from.

Why Choose Vinyl Flooring For Your Access Level Shower?

  • No Additional Tanking Needed – Unlike a tiled floor, vinyl flooring doesn’t require tanking – the vinyl is sealed creating a complete water barrier for the floor.
  • Non-Slip – Vinyl, like tiles, will have a slip rating and vinyl covering offers a greater slip resistance than most tile types. 
  • Great Choice – There is a vast selection suiting all styles, tastes and designs.
  • Underfloor Heating – You can have underfloor heating installed very easily.
  • More Cost-Effective – A vinyl floor in most cases will be much cheaper than a ceramic tiled floor.

Want To Find Out More?

Level access showers are a safe, effective and leak-free solution that can give people in need better access to adequate washing facilities. Making life a little easier and helping them to stay in their own homes for longer. 

When properly installed, a level access shower won’t leak and will be a long-lasting solution that’s suitable for the whole family to use. 

Want to learn more about level access showers? Check out our blog post “level access showers: everything you need to know” here… 

Getting the right advice from the start can have a big impact on the end result of your adaptations. At John Ford Group we specialise in adaptations – so we know exactly what you need to make life easier. 

To find out more, get in contact with the John Ford Group today.