Outdoor showers have grown in popularity over the years and are now largely considered a functional extension and valuable addition to the home. So says Liza Watermeyer, retail and display co-ordinator at Tile Africa.
“Arguably the primary reason outdoor showers have become so popular is the fact that they enable people to get up close with nature,” notes Watermeyer. “Showering amidst trees, near a beach or under the stars can be an incredibly soothing and therapeutic experience and a great way to start or end the day.”
Although viewed as a luxury by many, outdoor showers need not cost an arm and a leg and can be used as a great focal point in your garden, next to the pool or adjacent to the house notes Watermeyer. Importantly, such add-ons can also boost your home’s chances come time to sell.
Now that summer has arrived, there’s no better time to fit an outdoor shower, but there are some important aspects to consider before installing one explains Watermeyer.
“The first aspect you need to think about is where the water supply will come from. This is important, as an outdoor shower will likely have to be linked up to your existing plumbing which means that it will probably have to be positioned within close proximity of the house.
“One of the benefits of extending your plumbing from the house is that it makes your structure more permanent and professional, and it doesn’t limit you to a time of year to shower as you’ll have access to hot water year-round.”
According to Watermeyer, should you choose not to use your existing plumbing, the next option is to use a garden hose that can be hooked up to a shower fixture. Obviously this will only be a cold water facility and will not be suitable for use when it’s chilly outside.
In addition to plumbing considerations, you should pay attention to a number of other aspects before arbitrarily installing an outdoor shower says Watermeyer. For instance:
• Evaluate the function: What do you intend to use the shower for? If all you want is a quick rinse then you may be able to get away with minimal plumbing work. However, if you intend bringing indoor conveniences outdoors you need to consider upgrading your hot water system – especially if you have guests who enjoy lingering under the spray.
• Examine the conditions: Natural elements can take their toll on an outdoor shower. As such, it’s important to purchase fixtures that will endure salt, sand and sun. Use materials that are both rot and mildew resistant and carefully seal the area where the outdoor shower joins the house. You also need to waterproof under the tiles up to shower rose height. This is important to remember if you are using tiles as backing.
• Be discreet: Ensure your proposed outdoor shower will be adequately screened from prying eyes. The last thing you want is to realise too late that your neighbours have been watching you perform your daily ablutions over their morning cup of coffee.
• Design the drain: Soap and shampoo can clog drainage systems. Residue from these products can also threaten natural vegetation so try and use environmentally friendly products. Also note that if you’re building on soil that drains slowly you will require more than just a simple opening in the floor. If this is the case, consider fitting a French drain which directs water underground or into the main waste line.
• Slope the floor: Make sure the floor slopes towards the drain outlet so that the water drains completely. To achieve this, lay a mortar bed that incorporates a gradient. When this has cured, apply a waterproofing system, following which you can begin tiling.
• Choose the tiles: Avoid smooth and polished tiles, rather use textured tiles. Mosaics are great as they are long lasting, create a textured floor surface that is less slippery, and enables you to design your own unique motif.