DESIGN DILEMMAS: ‘Showers’ of questions

Question: I am considering redoing my bathroom. Nothing major, just some new paint, accessories, shower curtain, etc. I have two questions for you. Number one, I feel like I am constantly changing our shower curtain because of mold and mildew. I generally purchase the vinyl liner and a cotton curtain. It seems the mold accumulates so quickly no matter what we do. I feel like I am always spending money on new liners and curtains. Is there any way to prevent this from happening so often? And, second, do you have any suggestions for a decent looking bath mat? The typical ones are so ugly.

Answer: I agree. Shower liners and curtains are forever turning moldy no matter how often you change them. There is a fairly new curtain on the market made from hemp. I, personally, have not tried it but have heard that it remains mold and mildew free for an extended period of time. What happens with your typical fabric curtain is it gets wet, stays wet and, therefore, turns moldy fairly quickly. The vinyl liners also become moldy and are not easy to clean. I do run my fabric curtains through the washer but the liner makes a total mess. Apparently, the hemp shower curtain, while not waterproof, absorbs water and then dries more quickly than most shower curtains. The cost is higher, but you’ll replace it less often. Plus, it is good for the environment. The look is hip and the environmental benefits and, in the end, you’ll probably save a little money. What more could you ask for?

The answer to your second question is, yes. I have recently used a shower mat with much more style than its vinyl relative. There are new pebble style shower mats, which will give the appearance of pebbles in a stream when placed in your tub. The stones alternate between rough and smooth to provide a non-slip texture. Another feature is that you can custom fit them to any size and shape you like with a pair of kitchen scissors. They actually look nice enough to place on the floor outside your shower as well.

Question: We are installing a new showerhead in our master bath and have heard much about conservation of water with the new showerheads. Is this going to affect the flow and intensity of our water pressure to a point that I can’t rinse my hair?

Answer: There are so many new options available to you regarding the type of showerhead you need and like. The “old” version used upwards of six gallons of water every minute, I believe. This is too much for the environment to handle. The new ones are much more conservative. The new showerheads spray at most 2 1/2 gallons of water per minute. This is a big savings in water usage. The manufacturers have come up with all sorts of new technology to conserve water but still provide an enjoyable shower. To find out how fast your water flows put a gallon bucket under the showerhead and see how long it takes to fill it up. If it is time for an updated more conservative showerhead, they are quite simple to install yourself. It’s a win-win situation.