Monday, January 20, 2014

Product Review: American Bath Factory - Single Threshold Supreme Shower Package

When we decided to have a stand alone shower in the Master Bathroom project we were doing, I really did not want to learn how to tile a shower in a project as important as this one. When Brenda and I saw this shower system on Lowe's website, I was sold. One of my biggest fears in a shower system, stems from images that have been burned in my brain, from home improvement shows on DIY and HGTV networks. The fear of having a leaky shower pan that I created myself and possibly damaging our 160+ year old home, was enough to invest in this particular shower system. It's pan is completed at factory and shipped whole.

I thoroughly studied the installation manual online, it seemed like a project I could handle. It seemed advanced, but obtainable.

American Bath Factory

Lowe's Home Improvement Store


The options for these packages are so numerous that it is overwhelming (there almost 1,500 to chose from). We opted for the single threshold supreme package with the oil rubbed bronze hardware and an additional option of the shower shelf, with no plumbing fixtures. We knew we liked the Delta "Victorian Venetian Bronze" line that we purchased for our first floor powder room, and that we would probably buy those ourselves.


The shipping and detail that was taken when this unit was packaged was exceptional. I found no damage, I found all of the parts, and it all came in a package I could fit on my utility trailer. I do have to mention a couple of things about this unit and our particular situation.

First, the shower wall panels (ours came with six total) have to be stored laying down so they don't warp at all. This can cause a problem if you do not have space to do so. Fortunately, our garage was a suitable place, until I realized stacking them with shipped Styrofoam panels in 90+ degree temps would cause the Styrofoam to melt to mentioned panels. Luckily I caught it early and was able to clean the panels up, and move them into our air-conditioned house. They resided in our dining room and family room until I was ready to install them. I just felt  I should disclose this, because not everyone has this kind of space, but also not everyone takes a year to complete a project like this. My wife has the patience of a saint...

Second, the glass panel and door is suggested to be stored laying down also, as the edges are the weakest points of it. So ours resided in the garage and because it is very heavy, it remained there until it was installation time.


The installation of this product was as expected. The plumbing prep work was very intense for our particular project, being we were installing it in a new bathroom and not retrofitting one. Our older house with it's out of square walls and not level floors added some complications as well, but we got through it. The manual explained things thoroughly and had pictures which was helpful for myself, I don't really like to read manuals...

I wish it went into a little more detail regarding finishing transitions, where the wall panels finish to drywall. I had the drywall finished and then installed the panels, in hind sight, if I were to do it again, I would have installed the shower and the finished the drywall above it after. We figured out a solution to the transition and we are very happy with how it finished. It is possible that a more experienced DIY warrior would have figured this out before installation. What can I say, I am always learning from my experiences.


The overall operation of this shower system, works as expected. We both really enjoy the finished product, it looks like a professional  installed it to our specs and ultimately I would suggest this product to family, friends and other DIY warriors, just don't expect it to be an easy. I would say this for the more advanced DIY person.

*Update*  (November 2014)
After using the shower for almost a year, we are disappointing and afraid we may have to redo this shower unit in real tile or stone eventually and not get the lifespan out of it the we were hoping for. I just question how the product will hold up over time. I have also received serveral emails that discounts the quality of said finishes, so I would not suggest this product to anyone.


We did opt for the shower shelf, but it is really limited in how much you can place on it. We had to add a shower-caddy to hold some of our other stuff. We ended up using the "Delta Victorian Venetian Bronze 1-Handle Bathtub and Shower Faucet". Yes, we chose to get one with the bathtub faucet, which is what they call a toe tester up in Canada. We saw this on several episodes of Holmes on Homes on HGTV network and planned on having one from the beginning. It's simple, get in the shower and run the faucet on your feet until the water reaches the desired temperature and presto, no "cold water" shock from waiting for the water to get hot. We love it!! I plan on reviewing this particular faucet in the near future, right here on this blog.

*Update* (July 2014) 

We are having some slight issues with some of the Grout/Caulk shrinking as time passes. The company has sent us some new tubes of it to try. Time will tell if these new tubes are better and won't shrink after time. I really don't want to have to re-caulk on a yearly basis, but that maybe one of the downfall to this kit. Real grout does not shrink...

If you want to see some of the other renovations we have done, click here.

Thanks for visiting and reading this review, have blessed day and happy renovating!!

**I have no material connection with this manufacturer or supplier.**

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