3/4 or 1/2 shower?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by lybern, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. lybern

    lybern New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    new york
    We are rebuilding our shower. The walls are open and we can do it with 3/4 or 1/2. We are using PEX. I am undecided. On one hand, I like the idea of increased water flow for nice strong showers with 3/4. On the other hand, the 1/2 fixtures are a lot less expensive and there is a lot more choice. Also, we like the idea of conserving water, especially since we have a private well. But, then again, I really like a nice strong shower. Is there any way to get the advantages of 3/4 without the disadvantages (expense)? (My plumber is also making a lot of noise about the idea of using 3/4 - I think that means the price goes up.) Does it make a difference that we want to use PEX? I have just a few hours to make up my mind. I have already bought both 1/2 and 3/4 valves, so I am ready - just don't have a decision! I'd love to have a good understanding of the issues - also if it matters that in the end the arm to the shower head is standard. By the way, we will be using 1 fixed head and 1 hand-held - maybe at the same time occassionally.
  2. good info given. You seem to have a good grasp.

    With only two showerheads, you'll be satisfied with the smallest Pex and the smallest valves.
    1/2" valves are the flow limiting factors. 3/4" Pex is about the same cost and labor, in my opinion. But installing it is not an advantage, it's just a bigger pipe leading to a 1/2" valve connected to two showerheads.

    "Strong" shower feeling will be provided by the showerheads.

    Pipe diameter is not a limiting factor, with two shower heads.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,026
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pipe

    With most valves the restriction to flow is in the valve itself. That is what determines how much water you get, NOT the pipe size in most cases. Even 3/4" shower valves have openings smaller than a 1/2" copper line, but PEX is smaller than that. With PEX you need 3/4" to approximate the capacity of 1/2" copper.
  4. lybern

    lybern New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    new york
    ID PEX vs. Copper

    Is the inside diameter of 3/4 PEX different from the ID of 3/4 copper? I can understand that PEX has thicker walls than copper, but wouldn't the inside diameter be consistant? If not, why not call it what it really is, like 5/8"?
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,026
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pipes

    IPS sized pipes ALL have the same o.d. as steel pipe, regardless of what the i.d. is. PEX and all other CTS, (copper tube size), have the o.d. of copper tubing, but the i.d. varies according to the wall thickness. IF the i.d. stayed the same and the o.d. varied, they would have to make different fittings for every grade of pipe.
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