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Shower Conversion Kit Buying Guide

 

 
Shower Conversion Kit Buying Guide
 
Shower conversion kits are the perfect solution for adding a conventional overhead shower system to your freestanding tub. Whether you are giving a facelift to your old clawfoot tub or starting from scratch with a brand new one, these shower kits are the perfect space saver when adding a separate shower enclosure is not possible.
 
Conversion Kit Components
 
It’s important to be familiar with the make-up of a conversion kit before you begin shopping. The kits have three main components: the faucet, the shower, and the curtain rod.
 
   Faucet  
     
  tub faucet The tub faucet is the heart of the shower system. This is where you will turn the water on and off, mix your water temperature, and divert water between your tub spout and shower head. These will typically be available in either deck mount or inner tub wall-mount configurations.  
     
   Shower  
     
  Shower Ring The shower portion of the system will include the riser pipe as well as the shower head. The riser pipe is the vertical pipe which supplies water to the shower head. Some systems will also include a handheld shower in addition to the overhead shower.  
     
   Shower Curtain Rod  
     
  Shower Curtain Rods The curtain rod will run along the circumference of your tub, enclosing the shower to prevent water from escaping. These will either be suspended from the ceiling or supported by surrounding walls, and are a must-have to keep your bathroom dry.  
     
Installation Types
 
There are a few different types of shower conversion kits available, and it is important that you are making the right selection to work with your tub configuration and plumbing setup. Your tub will only allow certain types of faucets to be mounted to it, so pay close attention to the faucet configuration that comes with each conversion kit.
 
   Deck Mount  
     
  Deck Mount Tub Faucet Bathtubs that have a tap deck with faucet holes must be paired with a deck mount shower conversion kit. These faucets will sit on top of the tub rim, and can be located at the end of the tub or the back wall.  
     
   Inner Tub Wall Mount  
     
  Tub Wall Mount Faucet Some cast iron tubs will have faucets holes located on the inside wall rather than on the top of the rim. These will require shower kits which mount to the inner tub wall and will always be located at the end of the bathtub.  
     
   Bathroom Wall Mount  
     
  Wall Mount Shower System If your tub contains no faucet hole drillings at all, you’re not out of luck! Exposed pipe shower systems mount to a surrounding wall near your tub, and are the perfect solution in this scenario. These systems are available with or without a tub spout, so be sure to select a system that will still allow you to fill your bathtub when desired.  
     
Other Considerations
 
   Temperature Control  
     
  Shower Valve Temperature Control Some shower kits will come with a thermostatic faucet. Thermostatic faucets contain a mixing valve that automatically maintains the temperature setting, +/- 1 degree Celcius, by regulating fluctuations in water temperature at the water inlets and immediately adjusting the ratio of hot and cold water that is discharged by the valve. While this is a huge convenience, it also provides safety from the risk of scalding. Check with your building and plumbing codes to find out if this anti-scalding feature is a requirement in your locale.  
     
   Water Supplies  
     
  Water Supplies Most shower conversion kits will not come with a set of water supply lines. These are the pipes which bring water from your wall or floor to your faucet. Supply lines are typically either made of copper or flexible braided stainless steel, and will contain shutoff valves which allow you to cut off the water to the faucet when needed. If your shower conversion kit does not contain these parts, be sure to add them. Pay close attention to the type of water supplies that you are purchasing since your faucet configuration as well as the center measurement of your rough-in will determine the type that you need.  
     
   Don't Forget The Curtain  
     
  Shower Curtain The finishing touch to your new shower system will be the shower curtain. Due to the size of the curtain rods in these conversion kits, you will need make sure that you are selecting an appropriate size. In some situations, it may be necessary to use two curtains. Plan to have 6-12" of overlap where the curtain opens, which will ensure a water-tight enclosure. If you are looking for a low-maintenance material, try vinyl or microfiber, which require minimal upkeep to remain looking new. For a different material option, consider cotton duck or polyester, which feature a variety of fabric densities. To hang your curtain on your rod, using open shower curtain rings will allow the curtain to easily pass by the curtains rod's supports before and after shower use.  
     
 
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