The Answer to an Easy Clean Shower: the Ablutions Zero System
The Best Easy Clean Shower Enclosure on the Market Today
Hands up – who likes cleaning their shower enclosure?
I doubt there are many people whose idea of fun is snapping on a pair of Marigolds and scrubbing away at filthy tile grout and mouldy silicone sealant. Who has time for that these days?
I know I don’t, and I doubt you do either.
When it comes to cleaning your shower, mould problems stem from the poor design of the enclosure.
As award-winning bathroom designers, we knew we could do a better job. We wanted to make the job of cleaning showers fast, easy and painless. A quick wipe and a squeegee are all it should take. So, we took a completely fresh look at how shower enclosures are designed.
The outcome of our research and development is the Ablutions Zero System, and we think it’s the easiest to clean shower enclosure on the market today.
So how did we do it?
In our research, we identified three problem areas with a traditional shower enclosure design. These are the use of plastic seals, silicone sealant and tile grout. We felt that if we could cut the use of these to zero (or near zero), we could make shower cleaning a breeze.
The perils of plastic seals
Most typical shower enclosures are made from multiple panels of glass or acrylic sheet, housed in an extruded aluminium frame that has lots of nooks and crannies.
Wherever the glass meets the frame or another piece of glass, you’ll find a plastic seal that either clips on or is captive within the enclosure.
No matter how efficient the seal, there is always a tiny gap between the seal and the glass. The problem here is that water, by capillary action, works its way into the smallest gap and this moisture remains long after you have finished your shower.
Over time, this moist environment creates the perfect breeding ground for algae – a living organism you’ll notice in your shower when the plastic seals turn a pale green colour. Eventually, this algae can become black with mould and look very unsightly.
It made no sense to us why traditional shower enclosures were made in a way that required them to have so many plastic seals. We wondered if it was possible to get rid of them. Our theory was if we could eliminate these algae-loving water traps, and instead create a design where water drained away by gravity, then the simplicity of the enclosure would make it much easier to keep clean.
We set about testing our theory, which would depend upon the success of two basic ideas – neither of which are rocket science.
Mind the gap
The first idea was to eliminate gaps that required sealing. This meant we would need more precision when sizing the components – near enough would no longer be good enough.
Where gaps were unavoidable, we designed them so that, while not watertight, they’d be small enough to frustrate any escaping water, which would be caught by the glass edges before draining away by gravity.
This is where the second part of our solution comes in. Our idea was to suspend the glass within the rim of the tray, not on the outer edge. Water running down either side of the glass would still drain away, instead of onto the edge of the tray, which would still require a seal or a bead of silicone to prevent the water leaving the shower area altogether.
The system works, and an added benefit is that using uninterrupted panels of clear glass with no joints makes the shower enclosure seem less obtrusive and more modern and elegant.
Say farewell to silicone sealant
In a traditional shower, silicone sealant is used where the enclosure meets the walls and the shower tray, to keep the shower watertight.
This process often creates dirt-collecting corners. Gaps also vary – silicone sealant is commonly used to hide some shoddy construction, and an enthusiastic but unskilled installer can leave untidy, bulbous beads of silicone behind. These trap water and encourage the mould growth that thrives in warm, humid conditions.
In the Ablutions Zero System, there are very few corners. Our glassware touches only the support feet at its base, leaving an air-gap which makes both the tray and the glass edges accessible and easy to clean.
We use the same air gap at the vertical connection between the glass and the wall. The glass is set inside the tray to create a catchment area. Any water that does succeed in passing through either falls into the shower tray or creates an insignificant amount of spray, which is not a problem in a well-ventilated bathroom.
The trouble with tile grout
When cleaning showers, the third issue is dirty tile grout – especially if the grout used was a cheap, DIY-quality product that has been poorly applied to an enclosure with little or no air movement.
We have two solutions. The first is simple. If possible, we don’t use any grout at all. To do this, instead of tiling, we line the walls of the shower in bespoke coloured glass (as shown below). This way, tile grout is eliminated, so there are no hiding places for moisture and no risk that high humidity will result in a cleaning problem.
The bonus of using bespoke glass is that it looks stunning and becomes a unique talking point in the bathroom. We can supply shower glass in any Farrow and Ball colour, with either a plain or sparkle finish.
Bespoke shower glass, however, is not the cheapest option. So our second, more affordable solution, is to minimise the amount of grout by recommending the use of large, rectified porcelain tiles, fixed with a 2mm gap. The edges of rectified tiles are cut square, which means they can be laid closer together with a very narrow grout line. This reduces the surface area of the joints and, therefore, the dirt problem. If a high-quality branded grout is used, the low humidity of an Ablutions Zero System enclosure means you’ll have many years of use without any issues.
You can bin those Marigolds – we’ve designed the mould away!
With Zero clip-on seals, Zero beads of silicone and Zero tile grout, we believe the Ablutions Zero System is the easiest to clean shower enclosure on the market today.
Come and see it for yourself in our innovative bathroom showroom in Coalville, Leicestershire. We’re open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday and 10am-3pm on Saturdays.