Hidden benefits

Paul Bailey of Grohe explores the many benefits that come from installing concealed bathroom systems in new developments.

Trends in the marketplace show that the demand for concealed bathroom products is continuing to grow, and it seems the shower space is set to transition from traditional exposed systems to more sleek and stylish concealed models where the services are hidden behind the wall. Bulky fittings and unattractive pipework can now be a thing of the past, offering homeowners the freedom to have a more streamlined and visually attractive bathroom design.

Minimalist design has been in favour in the home over recent years, and there is no space where this is more prevalent than in the bathroom. A frequent design problem when planning a bathroom is how to make the most of space. As such, with space often considered a particularly valuable commodity in the bathroom, concealed shower valves are useful for example, if there is limited space in the showering area. From a consumer perspective, there are additional benefits such as easier and more convenient maintenance, as there is less exposed product to keep clean.

Thanks to design innovation from leading brands, concealed showering can equip the modern bathroom with the latest showering technology that will work beautifully in any bathroom style. Modern design doesn’t have to be synonymous with a contemporary bathroom look, as some market-leaders offer a variety of different shapes, controls and finishes in order to suit all bathrooms, from classical and heritage-style to on-trend or avant-garde designs.

It is not only design flexibility that concealed showering can offer; it can also allow housebuilders to create more personalised spaces. The positioning of a shower valve in an exposed system is limited by the length of the shower hose, however this is eliminated with a concealed shower system. The freedom to create a truly bespoke shower space is enabled thanks to the concealed valve being able to be placed on an opposing wall away from the outlet.

Another USP of concealed systems is their capability to offer a multi-dimensional, high performance shower experience, which is in high demand due to the trend for walk-ins and wetrooms, as well as the desire to create a spa bathroom at home. Concealed systems can offer much more than just simple bath/shower combinations, allowing multiple outlets to work simultaneously, from head showers to hand showers and even body jets, for a premium shower experience.

Concealed showering is still alien territory for many housebuilders and contractors. While the installation criteria and process is seemingly more complex than traditional exposed systems, forward-thinking brands in this sector are introducing new functionalities and concepts that make installation easier than ever before, and thus giving the potential for a more mass-market product. One of the reservations some installers have against concealed systems is that they require a recess behind the tiled wall of the shower space, with cavity wall space varying from one property to another.

Typically, 100 mm of depth is required for installation, and where this is not achievable, a false wall would be needed. This is by no means an ideal solution, so in response to this some manufacturers are starting to develop methods to reduce installation depth. Now, some systems can be fitted in spaces as small as 75 mm, meaning concealed showering is increasingly becoming more accessible for the typical UK home, while helping to build trust among developers and specifiers.

Innovations like this will continue to evolve the concealed market and help to make it the preferred solution for the modern bathroom.

Paul bailey is senior product manager at Grohe UK