In the ever-evolving world of tile installation, trends emerge with a swift current. As a keen observer in the technical side of the industry, it's always fascinating to see which trends do more than merely ripple the water's surface and instead create a bona fide splash. Right now, that splash is the shift towards engineered shower installation systems in residential projects. And it's making quite a wave that’s reshaping the industry.

Home renovations have soared in the wake of the pandemic, with bathrooms – especially showers – becoming a primary focus. As homes became sanctuaries, bathrooms have transformed from purely functional spaces to personalized retreats. This change is reflected in the growing trend towards customization in shower installations -- from unique shapes and sizes to sleek linear drains and barrier-free designs. Homeowners today seek showers that don't just serve a purpose, but also express their personal style and provide an elevated experience. It appears “standard” is out, and “standout” is in. 

The demand for customized showers has led the industry to move towards products and practices that marry efficiency with performance. Innovative products like pre-formed pans have emerged as an appealing alternative to traditional mud bed/dry pack installations, significantly reducing installation time without sacrificing quality. 

Waterproofing has also risen in the ranks of importance. Easy-to-apply solutions, from roll-on paints to ready-to-tile waterproof boards, have grown in popularity -- simplifying the process and reducing potential errors. For challenging installations, like steam rooms, high-performance thin-set adhesive mortars compliant with the ANSI A118.15 standard are becoming a go-to option that offers long-lasting results.

As we focus on performance and efficiency, it's equally essential to consider the broader impacts of our work. Installer health is an important factor in deciding which products to use. Lightweight materials and ergonomic solutions are gaining favor by reducing the physical strain associated with installations.

These lightweight products also hold environmental benefits. Their reduced weight translates to less gas consumption during transport, contributing to lower carbon emissions. By adopting these products, we both make our jobs easier and play our part in mitigating environmental impacts.

In this bustling market of varied products and solutions, using single-source manufacturers is winning favor. Such manufacturers ensure compatibility among all the components of an installation, enhancing reliability and offering improved system warranty coverage. 

As a single-source manufacturer, Laticrete guarantees product compatibility, rigorously tests all product combinations and provides system warranty coverage ranging from five years to lifetime. This level of assurance offers installers and their customers peace of mind and a promise of durability.

The trends in residential shower installations mirror the larger societal shifts we're seeing: a growing preference for customization, efficiency and sustainability. It's incumbent to adapt installation practices to cater to these changing tides. 

The move towards engineered shower installation systems allows us to improve our practices, deliver superior results and contribute to a more sustainable future. By staying informed about these trends and embracing change, we can ensure that our industry is not just keeping up with the times but shaping them.