Design For All Generations

Nick Graville, Sales & Marketing Director from British showering manufacture Kudos, explains why they are predicting an increased demand for anti-slip shower trays…

According to the Office for National Statistics multi-family homes have been the fastest growing household type over the last two decades. In September last year Aviva research reported that 34% of adults are now living in a multi-generational household.

The mix of these homes appear to be mainly adult children either not leaving home or moving back into their family home with partners whilst they save money for their own house. Some however are where grandparents are moving back to a flat within the property.

Whatever the circumstances, it is unquestionably a trend that is growing and one that needs to be considered when designing a new bathroom for these homes. The bathroom needs to not only look great but be functional and safe for young and old and that needs a little more consideration. Thankfully long gone are the days where a cautious, safe design would result in the fitting of a doc-m pack. Product designers have over the last decade been creating products that are ‘designed for all’ ages which has resulted in a great choice of solutions.

Comfort height WC pans, that are that little bit taller and easier to stand up from, are now readily available in some very modern designs. Bath replacement shower enclosures, which are designed to the same footprint as a standard bath, are a very popular alternative where ageing adults feel that a bath is becoming a little difficult to get out of and a specialist side entry bath option not what they require. And there is now a choice of steadying weight bearing accessories, cleverly disguised as towel rails, for added security and assistance.

Low level shower trays have made access really easy for any enclosure, removing, what in the early days, could be a large step up to enter an enclosure. Today there is little, or no step required when fitting a shower tray, all possible with the development of clever shallow waste technology.

Kudos Connect2 SR shower tray has a super-low profile and clever dual waste system designed to avoid floor joists
The bathroom is a place where accidents happen, largely from scalding or slipping. The former is a concern for young and old and the range of thermostatic showers and mixer taps have certainly helped reduced this.

The latter fear of slipping however appears to be a fear in particular for older adults. I’m not sure what age you get to when you become nervous of slipping or falling, it probably varies for everyone, but suddenly you do. It may be that from experience you know how much it can hurt and as you become older, how much a fall or injury can immobilise you for a longer period of time.

Kudos Original6 sliding shower enclosure with low profile, 45mm high, Kstone tray.
In response to this there have been a number of anti-slip products promoted on the market, especially for the shower tray. Many were applied to the surface after manufacture of the tray but there were always some concerns over longevity with a secondary applied surface and the cleaning regime required. Then came fibreglass trays with texture as part of the gel coat surface but these could be both uncomfortable to walk on and not so easy to clean.

Kudos Connect2 SR shower tray with slip resistant properties embedded in the material
However, the very latest material seems to have solved the anti-slip tray issue. Today shower trays, like the new SR range from Kudos, can be sourced with an anti-slip texture in the base acrylic skin. It results in a comfortable tread pattern that exceeds all EU standards for barefoot bathing. Once more it is all down to the industry product designers understanding the issues and resolving them with clever product innovations. These anti-slip trays, where the integral material tread pattern is the anti-slip ingredient, have not been easy to achieve and have taken many years to develop. But the result is that they are not only slip resistant, they’re also easy to clean, stain resistant and scratch resistant. The acrylic skins are then back filled with mineral resin for strength and rigidity and, in Kudos’s case, backed with a lifetime guarantee.

A perfect solution for the next multi-generational bathroom?