Good for wood

Bathroom experts Saniflo explain why shower cubicles are an ideal bathroom solution for timber frame buildings.

The advancements in timber manufacturing and recent developments such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) have encouraged developers to adopt structural timber frame for a growing number of buildings across the UK. The material’s strength, coupled with the fast pace of construction it offers and the fact that it can be relatively inexpensive makes timber frame buildings cost-effective, but also highly versatile, as they can be clad in almost any building material.

Wood’s sustainable credentials and the fact that the fabric stores carbon makes it an ideal ‘green’ alternative to traditional construction materials, and provided that the timber used has been ethically sourced, the environmental benefits become even more impressive.

Today, the vast majority of new-build homes in the UK are built with a timber frame, as the industry tries to catch up with the 70 per cent of the global population that has already adopted timber frame homes as standard. The growth of the glamping (luxury camping) industry is also largely thanks to flexible and affordable timber frame accommodation.

However, some industry professionals are yet to fully appreciate that timber frame buildings require special considerations, especially when it comes to the bathrooms, and in particular, the showers.

Timber changes naturally over time; the material can shift and warp, causing movement to the building, and the bathroom is an area which can be affected. Traditional shower enclosures with their tiles, grout and silicone gel could be more prone to leaking in timber frame buildings. This is because as the building warps, the grouting in the shower enclosure is more likely to crack. If this cracking happens, it would mean the enclosure is no longer watertight and is therefore prone to leaking.

The potential problem there is that if any water finds its way into a building’s timber frame, it can cause rot, which in turn can jeopardise the building’s structural integrity. A traditional shower enclosure in a timber frame building could be a costly accident waiting to happen.

Cubicles over enclosures

A growing number of independent house builders across the UK are realising the benefits of shower cubicles and installing them from the outset. Shower cubicles don’t require any tiles, grouting or silicone, which means no unhealthy build-up of mould, and no broken or loose tiles to repair. Furthermore, their installation is swift, cost-effective and hassle-free, and the cubicles are also low-maintenance bathroom solutions.

These features make cubicles ideal for timber frame buildings. Since no tiles or grouting is necessary, there’s no danger of cracks forming when the house warps over time. There’s no risk of leaks forming in the bathroom, minimising the chance of water seeping through to the structural frame and causing it to rot, thus jeopardising the building’s structural integrity.

For existing timber frame buildings with traditional shower enclosures, aside from costly periodical maintenance, complete replacement is a viable option.

The replacement can be completed relatively hassle-free, sometimes even in less than a day, guaranteeing homeowners peace of mind and ensuring their bathroom wouldn’t be off limits for weeks. Instead, they can have a clean, stylish, future-proof bathroom in no time at all.

Shower cubicles’ low-maintenance profile, coupled with their modern design and quick installation times, are ideal for timber frame homes, which need bathroom solutions that aren’t prone to leaks. Regardless of a timber property’s purpose, architects should consider specifying cubicles as a cost-effective, long-term bathroom solution, which would continue to look pristine for years on end.