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Different Types of Shower Tub Enclosures

No matter what your style or budget looks like, your shower/tub enclosure is an important element to not only complete your bathroom, but to the overall functionality. There are various options to consider for your bathroom, depending on your preference of space, aesthetic, and practicality. Making such a large-scale investment can be scary when you don’t know what you’re looking for, which is why we’ve compiled this list to help guide you. Below are the basic functions and costs for different enclosures, along with tips to help you narrow down which option is the best for your personalized home.

Different Types of Enclosures:

While there are various options to choose from when it comes to enclosures, your specific space, budget, and aesthetic will overall dictate which one is best for your bathroom. Many styles are best suited for modern or contemporary homes, while others may compliment a more traditional or industrial feel. This basic manual will help you navigate the differences between each enclosure for your shower or tub. 

Shower Enclosures: 

While some showers may have doors or open enclosures, floor tiles or concrete, options of left or right handed doors, and so many other features, they be be condensed to three different shapes – quadrant, square, and rectangle.


Quadrant – For a bathroom with limited space, a quadrant shower is a great choice. It is designed to fit directly into the corner of your bathroom and its curved frontage is great for tight spaces. The sliding shower doors provide you with more room to customize.

Square – Square showers entail exactly what you would think, four perfectly squared sides. This allows for more options when it comes to doors and frames and can be a very clean, cut, modern touch. 

Rectangle – Rectangle showers are great for large bathrooms and have a lot of freedom when it comes to placement and design. 


Framed – Framed enclosures are your most basic, and traditional option. They are very functional, but not typically installed for stylistic preference. Maybe try switching up your frames for a more personalized look. 

Frameless – Frameless showers create a very minimalist and contemporary feel. The openness allows for light to pass through, creating a spacious and airy atmosphere. 

Hinged – Hinged enclosures are held together by hinges as opposed to pins. This provides a much larger entrance space for accessibility needs. They are minimally styled and maintain an airy and open feel. 

Sliding – If your bathroom has little space, a swing door may not be your best option. Enclosures like sliding doors take up minimal space and are customizable to any shower. 

Glass Block – Glass blocks eliminate the door all-together. One side is enclosed, while the other half is left entirely exposed. While this gives a very elegant and relaxing appearance, it works best with large spaces. It is also very customizable in regards to size, glass thickness, and color. 

Textured Glass – Textured glass can give the appearance of a bigger shower in a small space. This design is also very soothing and creates a relaxing environment. This is often used in spaces that require privacy, such as guest bathrooms. Frosted glass is another great option for those who want a more private enclosure. 

Dual Entrance – Often used for shared/couple bathrooms, this dual-entrance allows for access on both sides of the shower. If enough space is given, you can also install two shower heads for two people to use at the same time. This also creates an open feel in the bathroom. 

Tub Enclosures: 

In bathrooms with limited space, it isn’t uncommon for the tub and shower to be combined into one. This however, requires an enclosure of sorts in order to contain the water from the showerhead. Tub enclosures can be equally as unique and be an enhancing design element. Below are some of the most popular styles of tub enclosures. 

Tile – Tile is a standard classic when it comes to tub enclosures. Tile can range in shape, color, cost, and material. Ceramic, porcelain, and glass are all common tile materials, which comes in various shapes and colors. While some materials may be more costly than others, tile is an easily affordable and customizable option. 

Plastic – Plastic is the least expensive enclosure material on the market. However, it isn’t a particularly aesthetically pleasing option. It can also be difficult to clean given the finish is often rough and porous. This is a great option if low-cost is your top-priority. 

Marble or Stone – Often the most expensive option, marble and stone surroundings can be very classy and beautiful. There are tile options that can resemble these tiles at a lower price point, but it’s natural high-gloss can be irresistible. It does chip easily, but does not stain easily. While it can be repaired, this is likely best suited for the main suite and not children’s bathrooms. 

Acrylic – Acrylic is a thick, non-porous material, making it very durable and easy to clean. Light scratches and blemishes can be easily buffed out, but certain cleaners can cause significant damage. This enclosure option is very high-quality and is great for subtle or traditional designs. 

Tips for Picking a Shower Enclosure: 

Stick to a Budget – Before you even start your hunt, have a set budget. It’s easy to splurge and spend more than intended if you don’t narrow down your options first. If you have a $10,000 budget for your entire remodel, you don’t want half or all of that to only cover your shower. You can get quality and customizable enclosures at most any pricepoint, you just have to know what you’re looking for. 

Be Conscious of Your Space – If you have a small bathroom, you may want to rule out rectangle enclosures. Be aware of the amount of space you have and what you need to accommodate. Chances are, you don’t want your bathroom shower to be an inconvenience to access, and weeding out options that don’t fit your space from the beginning will speed up your searching process. 

Weight Your Priorities – Establish your top priorities. If having high-quality and visually pleasing aesthetics is your top priority, you may feel comfortable and satisfied splurging to get what you want. If that’s not an option for you, or you simply care about functionality over design, getting a standard or classic enclosure may be a safe investment. Make a list of what you want to achieve with your space to help you see where you should splurge and where you should save. 

Factor in Installation Fees – If you want your installation done by a professional, keep in mind that some enclosure installations cost more than others. Be sure to get a quote before you make any irreversible decisions. If you intend on doing it yourself, know that some enclosures require professional experience and you may not have the skills necessary to properly install certain enclosures. 


There are a multitude of customizable options for any size, design, and budget. Having a realistic understanding of your personal situation and the different options available to you will help you make the most informed and fulfilling decision long term. 

It’s important you feel confident and satisfied with the end results. If you’re looking for further guidance or assistance in the Panhandle Area, feel free to reach out to New Life Homes and our professionals will be more than happy to help.