Whether you’re designing a new walk-in shower or looking to replace your current one, figuring out the walk-in shower dimensions is one of the most challenging parts. It’s easy to assume that bigger is better. However, choosing a size that works for your space and meets all of the minimum size requirements matters.
Walk-in shower dimensions can vary, though they at least need to meet local building codes. The International Building Code sets the minimum at 30 inches by 30 inches. However, 30 inches or 32 inches by 60 inches is closer to the average size in the United States.
But that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to those sizes. Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to choose walk-in shower dimensions for your new bathroom or bathroom update.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- Walk-in Shower Dimensions
- Standard Walk-in Shower Size
- Average Walk-in Shower Dimensions
- Minimum Size for a Walk-in Shower
- What’s the Maximum Size for a Walk-in Shower?
- 2-Person Walk-in Shower Dimensions
- Smallest Shower Size
- What Is a Comfortable Shower Size?
- Doorless Walk-in Shower Dimensions
- ADA Walk-in Shower Dimensions and Requirements
- Walk-in Shower Shapes
- Can You Design a Custom Size Walk-in Shower?
- How to Choose the Right Size Walk-in Shower for Your Bathroom
- Taking Care of Your Walk-in Shower
Walk-in Shower Dimensions
When considering walk-in shower dimensions, it’s more common, to begin with, sizes available in prefab designs. However, it’s critical to factor in the minimum requirements outlined in building codes, as even custom showers can’t dip below those parameters.
Every prefab shower manufacturer can have unique lines that fall outside the standards, aside from meeting the minimums. But most stick with classic dimensions, as these are more popular with consumers.
Here’s a look at some walk-in shower dimensions, including minimum sizes, standard sizes, maximum available prefab sizes, and the minimum size based on requirements outlined in the Americans with Disabilities
|Dimensions in Inches||Dimensions in Centimeters|
|Minimum Square||30 inches x 30 inches||76.2 cm x 72.6 cm|
|Minimum Rectangle||30 inches x 48 inches||76.2 cm x 121.9 cm|
|Standard Square||32 inches x 32 inches
48 inches x 48 inches
|81.3 cm x 81.3 cm
121.9 cm x 121.9 cm
|Standard Rectangle||36 inches x 42 inches
36 inches x 60 inches
|91.4 cm x 106.7 cm
91.4 cm x 154.2 cm
|Maximum Prefab Square||60 inches x 60 inches||154.2 cm x 154.2 cm|
|Maximum Prefab Rectangle||92 inches x 72 inches||233.7 cm x 182.9 cm|
|Minimum ADA-Compliant||36 inches x 36 inches (transfer)
30 inches x 60 inches (roll-in)
36 inches x 60 inches (roll-in w/seat)
|91.4 cm x 91.4 cm (transfer)
76.2 cm x 154.2 cm (roll-in)
91.4 cm x 154.2 cm (roll-in w/seat)
Standard Walk-in Shower Size
While any walk-in shower size above the minimum requirements is legal following building codes, specific walk-in shower dimensions are more common. As a result, they’re great places to start with typical bathrooms.
For square showers, 32 inches by 32 inches and 48 inches by 48 inches are considered standard sizes. They’re both above the minimum standard, for one. Plus, 32-inch by 32-inch showers work well in tighter bathrooms, while 48-inch by 48-inch designs are a bit more spacious and fit comfortably into average or larger-size bathrooms.
For rectangular showers, 36 inches by 42 inches and 36 inches by 60 inches are more of the norm. Both meet the minimum requirements and offer extra room, making them more comfortable. Typically, they also fit in average or larger-sized bathrooms, and the 36-inch by 42-inch option may even work in some smaller floorplans.
Average Walk-in Shower Dimensions
The average walk-in shower dimensions are difficult to determine, as it’s challenging to factor in custom showers that don’t rely on prehab measurements. As a result, the figures vary depending on the data source.
However, estimates suggest that 30 inches by 60 inches or 36 inches by 48 inches are likely to close to the average for rectangular showers. For square showers, 36 inches by 36 inches or 48 inches by 48 inches are similar to the average size.
Minimum Size for a Walk-in Shower
The minimum size for a walk-in shower based on building codes outlined by the International Building Code is 30 inches by 30 inches. Anything smaller typically won’t pass inspection regardless of where you’re located.
However, local building codes may vary. Individual municipalities can set their minimums. When that occurs, they’re typically above what the International Building Code requires.
If you’re building a new walk-in shower or updating an existing one, review local building codes for guidelines that apply to your property. That ensures your chosen design will ultimately pass inspection.
What’s the Maximum Size for a Walk-in Shower?
Technically, there isn’t a maximum size for a walk-in shower if you’re going with a custom shower. In that case, you can design a shower as large as you’d like as long as the length and width are at least 30 inches.
With prefab showers, you’re limited based on what manufacturers produce. In rare cases, you can find prefab showers up to (or potentially over) 92 inches by 72 inches for rectangles or 60 inches by 60 inches for squares.
However, some manufacturers don’t produce prefab showers that large. In some cases, the upper end for rectangular showers is closer to 60 inches by 72 inches. As a result, if you’re looking for a bigger walk-in shower, you might need to stick with a limited number of manufacturers or opt for a custom shower.
2-Person Walk-in Shower Dimensions
For a two-person walk-in shower – also called a double shower – you need enough space for two people to use the area comfortably. Plus, you’ll need room for two shower heads, two valves, and proper storage on each side.
For space efficiency, going with a rectangular design is usually best. When it comes to the two-person shower dimensions, 36 inches by 60 inches is generally considered the minimum. For a more comfortable layout, 48 inches by 72 inches is often preferred.
Smallest Shower Size
Typically, the smallest walk-in shower size available is 30 inches by 30 inches. That’s the minimum allowed dimensions based on the International Building Code, so anything tinier may not pass an inspection.
However, many prefab companies start a bit above that mark. For example, 32 inches by 32 inches is a common beginning point for square showers, as it provides some room for error.
With rectangular shower designs, a 30-inch width is also the smallest allowed size per the International Building Code. But it’s also more common for manufacturers to start with widths closer to 32 inches or 36 inches. Again, this creates room for error while making the space more comfortable.
If you’re looking specifically for an ADA-compliant walk-in shower, the minimum dimensions are 36 inches by 36 inches for a transfer shower. Anything smaller than that doesn’t meet ADA requirements, even if it’s allowed by local building codes.
For roll-in ADA-compliant showers, the smallest size depends on whether there’s a seat. Without a seat, the minimum is 30 inches by 60 inches. With a seat, the minimum is 36 inches by 60 inches.
What Is a Comfortable Shower Size?
What’s considered a comfortable shower size is a bit subjective, as people come in different sizes, have unique preferences, or may have specific needs to address. For those who are especially petite, a 30-inch by 30-inch shower may seem fine. However, average size or larger individuals may find that cramped.
As a result, most consider a 36-inch by 36-inch shower to be the minimum size for a comfortable experience. It provides enough room to move around without hitting the sides or struggling with positioning.
However, if you want to add features like a built-in bench, you may need a length of at least 48 inches. If you’d like a two-person shower, then a length of 60 inches is usually considered the minimum for comfort, though 72 inches might feel better depending on the size of those using it.
Doorless Walk-in Shower Dimensions
With a doorless walk-in shower, most consider 36 inches by 36 inches to be the minimum size. There’s still enough space to use a glass panel to prevent splashing while having a large enough opening to enter the shower.
However, the recommended size is typically closer to 36 inches by 60 inches or 42 inches by 60 inches. That gives you enough space to shield the bathroom from splashes using a glass panel and have a comfortable opening.
If you want to build a doorless walk-in shower that’s wheelchair accessible, you may need to go at large as 60 inches by 60 inches. With room for a larger opening, it provides enough space to maneuver without hitting the glass panel.
ADA Walk-in Shower Dimensions and Requirements
As mentioned above, the ADA outlines the minimum walk-in shower dimensions and other requirements to make a shower accessible. When it comes to the size, the minimum is 36 inches by 36 inches. Anything smaller than that won’t meet the requirements.
If you’re designing a wheelchair-accessible roll-in shower without a seat, the minimum size is generally 30 inches by 60 inches. That provides enough space for safe maneuvering. For showers with a seat, the minimum is 36 inches by 60 inches for proper clearance.
For an ADA-compliant shower, the threshold height is limited to just ½ inch. Anything taller doesn’t qualify. As a result, many homeowners open for a no-threshold design for simplicity and to avoid any issues a tiny threshold may cause.
The ADA also outlines additional requirements. For example, grab bars are required on three walls if there isn’t a seat, and they have to be no more than 6 inches from the corner of the shower. Shower controls need to be a minimum of 36 inches above the grab bars to ensure they don’t interfere.
There are also rules regarding handheld shower sprayer placements, seat placements, and more. As a result, it’s best to work with a professional familiar with the ADA requirements when designing an ADA-compliant walk-in or roll-in shower.
Walk-in Shower Shapes
The two most common walk-in shower shapes are square and rectangular. These fit well in many bathrooms and can easily meet any requirements concerning the minimum dimensions.
However, there are other shapes available. One that’s common in tiny bathrooms is the neo-angle shower. The shower pane is essentially shaped like a square with one cut-off corner, making the final shape look like the outline of a gemstone.
A neo-angle shower is usually placed in the corner, with the cut-off corner serving as the door. The design takes up less floor space than a traditional square, making it a solid choice for tighter spaces with less maneuvering room.
An alternative to the neo-angle shower features a curve instead of a straight line at the cut-off corner. They’re slightly roomier than a traditional neo-angle shower and may seem more elegant based on the flow of the design.
Finally, there’s the wet room design. With this, there isn’t a shower enclosure at all. Instead, the entire bathroom is designed to tolerate splashes, making a door or glass panel for shielding unnecessary.
Can You Design a Custom Size Walk-in Shower?
Designing a custom size walk-in shower is an option. While many homeowners prefer to use prefab designs for simplicity, those aren’t required.
Prefab designs speed up the installation process since the components are created to fit together. Plus, they typically come with a shower pan and waterproof walls and doors, giving you a full shower enclosure that goes together like a puzzle. The issue is that they’re only available in specific sizes, which may not be ideal for your space.
With a custom size walk-in shower, you may miss out on some of the simplicity. You won’t find prefab shower pans or similar elements that you can just purchase and install.
Instead, you’ll either need a custom shower pan for your base or go with another material like tile. You can cut tile to fit into any space, so it’s highly versatile. As a result, you can create any size of walk-in shower you’d like in your bathroom.
Similarly, custom manufacturers can create glass panels to protect the rest of your bathroom in any size. Then, you can choose a standard matching glass door and attach it to the custom paneling.
If you’re opting for a doorless walk-in shower, then custom glass panels are often unnecessary. You can instead choose more common dimensions that still give you a wide enough opening to enter and exit comfortably.
How to Choose the Right Size Walk-in Shower for Your Bathroom
Choosing the right size walk-in shower for your bathroom is a multi-step process. Along with ensuring the walk-in shower is large enough to exceed the minimum dimensions outlined by building codes, you have to ensure it doesn’t intrude on other components.
For example, most building codes require the toilet to be at least 15 inches on-center away from walls and similar potential obstructions and 30 inches from center to center with sanitary fixtures. There also needs to be at least 24 inches of clearance in front of the toilet. Sinks must also be a minimum of 4 inches for the wall.
For ADA-compliant bathrooms, more distance between various fixtures might be required. These ensure there’s enough room to maneuver safely. Plus, additional components – like grab bars – could be necessary, and those can have unique space requirements, too.
Since that’s the case, you need to review local building codes (or ADA requirements) to determine the minimum permitted distances between the various fixtures in your bathroom. That helps you figure out potential placements for each piece, making it easier to ensure you’ll have enough walking space after you choose a shower size.
It’s also wise to look at recommended distances between the various fixtures. For example, while 24 inches of front clearance for a toilet might be the minimum to meet code requirements, many recommend having at least 30 or 32 inches of space. These larger distances improve comfort and make the bathroom easier to clean, so they’re worth considering.
Once you have that information, it’s wise to create a to-scale drawing of your bathroom floor plan. You can then make moveable pieces for each component that include the size of the item and any related spacing requirements. With those, you can position them in the bathroom drawing and relocate them until you find a suitable design.
Taking Care of Your Walk-in Shower
Once you install your new walk-in shower, taking care of it is essential for its longevity and overall hygiene. Fortunately, many maintenance steps are simple and highly effective.
Make sure your bathroom has a suitable exhaust fan. That removes excess humidity and can prevent issues like drips on walls, mildew, and mold.
Using a daily shower spray is also helpful. It breaks down soap residue and grime, which may reduce hard water spots or soap scum buildup. You can also use a squeegee to get excess water off your walls or glass partitions before spraying, further reducing spotting and helping the shower fully dry.
Do a more thorough cleaning once a week. Use a suitable cleaner based on the materials in your shower. That could include a commercial cleaner or natural options like a vinegar solution, depending on whether there is stone, tile, glass, metal, or other materials in place.
For scrubbing, opt for a nylon brush. It’s more flexible and isn’t likely to damage grout. Make sure it’s safe for your materials, and keep the pressure light moderate while you work.
Choose open-bottom shower caddies to prevent pooling, as leaving items on tile shelves or the floor can lead to grime and slick or sticky residue. Additionally, plan to reseal any grout lines or your tile based on the manufacturer’s or installer’s recommendations to preserve them.
If you use a shower curtain and have a plastic liner, consider dipping it in salt water before you hang it. Put the curtain in a bucket or tub. As you fill the bucket with clean, warm-to-hot (but not scalding) water, add one cup of salt, stirring to help it dissolve.
After that, allow the shower curtain to soak for about three hours. Remove the curtain and hang it up to dry. Once it does, the salt soak creates a layer that helps fight mildew, giving you more time before it’ll need replacing and making it easier to clean.
Walk-in showers come in all shapes and sizes. While 30 inches by 30 inches is generally considered the minimum walk-in shower dimensions, you have plenty of other options, including ADA-compliant shower designs. As a result, you can choose a size that makes sense for your bathroom, all while ensuring you meet building code requirements.
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