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Custom showers can transform any bathroom into a rejuvenating, spa-like retreat. With so many options in style and functionality, you can completely customize your bath to create the shower experience you’ve been envisioning.
Things to Consider
Depending on the outputs added and hot water demands, your water heater may need to be replaced or upgraded to accommodate a custom shower. The number of outlets selected may also require an increase in the shower drain size. Your plumber can determine the proper plumbing layout and requirement for your customized shower configuration. A professional should complete all rough-in work.
There are two stages of a shower system’s installation. The first stage, or the “rough-in” stage, is when the plumbing parts, pipes, and valves are installed. Essentially, this means everything behind the wall that you’ll never see. The second stage of installation comes after the drywall and includes all the parts that you do see, referred to as “trim.” A trim kit will include the shower head and arm as well as any control handles, body jets, handheld showers, and slide bars included in the system that you select. Any piece that has a decorative finish is part of the trim kit.
The important thing to note is that not all shower valves are sold with the trim kit included and vice versa. They are often sold separately, so make sure that the rough-in components and the trim pieces that you choose are compatible with one another. If you’re unsure or need some help, consult with your contractor or a customer service representative to ensure you’re getting everything you need.
These valves mix hot and cold water to ensure constant, safe outlet temperatures and prevent scalding. This mixing valve compensates for variations in both the temperature and pressure of the incoming water supplies to maintain a temperature that is within 1 degree Celsius of the selected temperature.
Along with providing immediate response to temperature fluctuation, thermostatic mixing valves also allow high storage temperatures, thereby reducing the risk of exposure to bacteria. The constant temperature regulation also greatly reduces the risk of thermal shock to the fixtures, increasing the lifespan of the faucet.
Volume Control Valves
A volume control valve gives you the ability to choose how much water flows through the shower system. In other words, you can adjust the water pressure to your liking. Before you add one of these to your custom shower system, check the specifications of your mixing valve first. Volume control valves are meant to be paired with thermostatic valves only, and many thermostatic mixing valves have this functionality already integrated.
A pressure balanced mixing valve provides constant water pressure to prevent fluctuations in water temperature. Its internal parts are designed to safely maintain water temperature despite pressure fluctuations in the hot and/or cold supply, as when someone flushes the toilet.
A requirement in some municipalities, this mixing valve ensures a scald-free environment and a constant temperature within a few degrees Fahrenheit. Check with your plumber to find out if a pressure balanced mixing valve is required in your area.
A diverter allows you to alternate between any of your selected shower outputs by directing the water from the shower head to each additional accessory, one at a time. The diverter will not adjust the water temperature or turn the water off or on. You can select a combination of shower heads, body sprays and hand showers to create your own customized shower system. If only two outputs are desired, simply close the third output with a threaded brass plug (provided).
Some mixing valves have diverters built into their design, so check the specifications of the one you choose before you purchase a standalone diverter. Mixing valves with push-button diverters are a great way to add modern technology, seamless functionality, and uncluttered style to your shower wall.
The diverter and thermostatic shower system features three valves. The upper valve operates as a standard three-way shower diverter, allowing a combination of shower heads, body sprays and hand showers. The middle valve acts as a thermostatic mixing valve and connects conventionally to your hot and cold water supply.
The lower valve enables you to have an additional output. This valve operates independently, allowing two outputs to be used at one time. This valve is typically connected to the body jet feature, allowing the body jets and shower head to be used simultaneously but can be configured to accommodate any specialty shower design.
Body Sprays & Jets
The addition of body sprays or jets is one of the most popular ways to create a spa-like shower experience. Most body jets are adjustable, so that massaging streams of water can be aimed where rejuvenation is needed most. Body sprays can be arranged in any pattern to best suit your needs.
Rainfall Shower Heads
Rainfall shower heads provide a truly unique experience. Normally installed from the ceiling, rainfall shower heads cascade water from above to simulate the experience of being soaked by rainfall. Rainfall shower heads come in many sizes and finishes but most have a large head that ranges from 6 to 12 inches in diameter.
Hand showers allow complete customization and flexibility with the ability to point the water flow in any direction. Hand showers deliver massaging water streams and rest in a holder installed directly to the wall for convenient storage. From personal use to bathing pets to watering plants, this low-profile tool delivers multi-functional use all within your shower.