custom shower with PEX?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by nbahm, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. nbahm

    nbahm New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Anyone ever plumb a custom shower (thermostatic, diverter, shower head, body sprays, hand-held) with PEX? Pros? Cons?

    If you have, how did you stub out the body spray heads in the balancing loop? I can't seem to find a drop ear with a double inlet.

    Thanks in advance for your help. Really enjoy your forum Terry!

    Nate
  2. Racer814

    Racer814 New Member

    Messages:
    124
    plumbed a many with type L copper but never with pex.....I prefer the rigidity of copper in that type of installation myself.......even if I pipe a house in pex which I have occasionally done on remodel beachfront houses, I still prefer to use copper for my tub and shower valves...use drop earred tee's all the time on a body spray loop....google for it......I use drop earred ell's screwed to a 2x4 for all my water line drops.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  3. nbahm

    nbahm New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Thanks for the prompt reply Racer!

    I have to use two exterior walls for this shower and just for my own piece of mind (of course I will insulate excessively) I would like the added freeze protection of PEX. Or is this benefit more negligible than I've been led to believe? Or will the valve bodies freeze and burst first, regardless?

    I live in Lincoln, NE. The temp gets down to -20F (WC -40) occaissionaly in the dead of winter. Steel siding with blown in insulation on North and West walls.
  4. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    nbam... off topic...but ... I'm planning an "all steel house" with steel siding. Is yours like lapped siding? What do you think of it? Pro's/Con's ????
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  5. Racer814

    Racer814 New Member

    Messages:
    124
    I don't know about the freezing..I'm in the south....when it's 25, I go brrrrrrr!...as long as your piping is close to the living space and the heat is on it should be fine.....I don't see anything inherently wrong with using the pex, I just prefer copper for the strength it affords....I'm not totally depedent on my screws to keep my bodysprays, etc. from working themselves loose over the years....
  6. nbahm

    nbahm New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Do you think that the smaller i.d. of PEX will have have a direct effect on the pressure or flow I get from any given head? (1/2" PEX vs. 1/2" copper). Here is a crude sketch. No more than 2 fixtures will be running at one time. (yes, I have enough hot water).

    Thanks again!


    0 Shower head (ceiling)
    |
    | ____0____
    | | |
    __|__ | |
    0___________| div. |_______________| |
    hand-held |____| | | Body
    | | | spray
    | 1/2 | | loop 1/2"
    ____|____ |___0____|
    | thermo |
    |________|
    | |
    1/2| |1/2
    3/4 supply _______________|____|_____________3/4 to tub filler
    Hot and cold
  7. nbahm

    nbahm New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Wow! that didn't turn out like I thought! And all that precious time I took:D

    oh well....pretty standard set-up:

    3/4 supply, tee 1/2 to thermo, 1/2 to diverter, 1/2 to all stubs...

    let me know if you need a pic. I broke my right thumb yesterday and this typing stuff is starting to hurt.:rolleyes: (especially when it's all for not)
  8. Use 3/4" pex to compensate for the smaller Inside Diameter. This is significant, not negligible. Inside diameter, and elbows, are the only variables that reduce (or increase) flow. The cost of 3/4" pex pipe is the same or almost. Give yourself this margin of safety. Nothing bad will happen if you don't, and I cannot predict how "good" your flow will be in your case, with 1/2" or with 3/4".

    Insulate with spray foam. Do not rely on the "loose" kind of insulation. It acts as an air filter letting air flow through it. Especially batts do that. When outside air pressure is pushing ice cold wind into your walls, your worst enemy is fiberglass batts. Put foam on the pex. Leave the cellulose that is already there, remove the batts.

    I am not a plumber, not a remodeler, not a builder. I built a custom shower with Pex-Al-Pex (Kitec Aqua) which has much larger I.D. than regular Pex. The difference in flow is enormous. Going to my tub, I have different I.D. on my cold and my hot water line -- and the difference in flow impresses everyone who I show it to, and especially all the self-styled experts who make a professional living from home renovations or related trades.

    david
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