Raise Shower Head Height?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by diydude, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. diydude

    diydude New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    I'm trying to decide whether to raise the shower head height in a tub surround. The current height is 5'10" off the subfloor, and the ceiling height off the subfloor is 7'2". I thought about installing a handheld on a slide bar and just leaving the shower head where it stands. Any thoughts?

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  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    I like to not have to duck to rinse my hair with the shower, so for me, having it higher is a very nice feature, but the further it falls, the more it cools off, too; so, shorter people do not need it 'way up there' - adjustability is nice. I ended up with a unit similar to what you have shown, and find it nice. It also makes cleaning the shower/tub easier since you can get the head closer and exactly where you want it. It does take it a few seconds for any changes in temperature to get through all of the hose, and initially to warm it up, but that's not a huge issue, just a point of interest.
  3. dhagin

    dhagin builder:anti-builder

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    oahu
    I'd raise the drop ear in the wall for the shower arm to 80 - 82" or so. The slide bar can be mounted so the handshower will top out up around there as well. If there's a bench in the shower, consider a separate handshower hook/mount reachable from sitting on the bench. Moen makes hooks/mounts that match that specific handshower. :)
  4. diydude

    diydude New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm leaning towards both raising the ear drop and installing the handheld on the slide bar. I plan on installing DensArmor on the ceiling, so I'm not that concerned about moisture issues.
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,151
    Location:
    IL
    Even though you don't need it now, consider screw and glue some pieces of 4x4, or other suitable wood, to the studs to serve as screw/lagbolt attachment places for a grab bar in the future. Keep a picture before you close the walls.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,943
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The plumbing outfit I worked for in the 70's installed all of their shower heads at 70" off the rough floor.
    The owner was 5'-6"
    I've been hearing how short those showerhead locations were ever since. I like somewhere between 75" and 80"
    If you have a shower bar, then I sometimes location the wall outlet lower in case somebody wants to use the length of the handheld and move it around a bit. Maybe you have a seat in there, and want to use the handheld sitting down.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The lower outlet is for a tub spout; used to fill a bucket.

    [​IMG]

    Opposite is the bench.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I install mine at 75" above the floor.
  8. diydude

    diydude New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    I'd planned on about 76". I read something about coordinating the tile layout with the plumbing rough-in, but I didn't quite grasp everything. Can someone provide a brief explanation and/or pics? FWIW, I've chosen a 12"x24" tile. Thanks
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,943
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Sometimes, if we know the tile layout, we can put the plumbing on the seams, or between the tiles.
    So much of that is personal taste; how you layout the tile to the plumbing.

    For tub spouts, I like to know the tile size first. Sometimes it was on the grout line, sometimes centered on a tile.

    For a shower head, you want either 3" above tile or more, or you plane to put it in the field.
  10. diydude

    diydude New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    Thanks,Terry. Go Hawks! :)
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    I'll second Terry's thought on lower may be better for the wall outlet. Especially if you're using the handheld for cleaning the tub/shower area, or if you have a child that may be sitting there you want to use the handheld, you may not have enough hose length if you place it high. The only disadvantage of having it too low is it drags on the floor, so when you pick the unit, make sure the outlet is at least 1/2 of the hose length from the floor, then you won't trip on it if it draps on the floor.
  12. dhagin

    dhagin builder:anti-builder

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    oahu
    I'm 6' tall, and ducking under shower heads is a pet peeve of mine - so I typically like to raise em up. You can easily loose 6" - with the newer larger shower heads - from the drop ear to bottom of shower head. That said, there's no right or wrong answer and what works best for you with your specific fixtures is best.

    Regarding layout with tile. We layout the shower valve, shower head, handshower, etc... so it's works well. We layout tile so it looks good. If you can get both AND have tile or grout joints line up with the fixtures, all the better. We don't like sacrificing one for the other though. :)
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    Mount the bar so that you can raise the head as high as possible, then, decide where you need the outlet on the wall to give you whatever flexibility you want (the low end will still be much better for a child, if they ever get to use that shower), whether a child is in there, or a taller adult. Also, the fixture company often makes the same finish hose in various lengths...I ended up getting a longer one (I have a 6' tub) so I could use it in all corners while cleaning things up to rinse stuff off - so, whatever combination of placement, looks, and convenience works out best for you.

    Get someone to hold one end of the hose, then remove it from the mockup's holder, and then see if it will reach where you want it to, then use that as your guide. Nobody's idea of perfect will be the same - it's what works out best for you, your circumstances, and the aesthetics of it all that pleases those who must be pleased!
  14. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    409
    Location:
    California
    OR...install an S shape shower arm, to raise the shower head by 11".
  15. diydude

    diydude New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    Thanks for reminding me. I thought about the "S" arm as an option then I got focused on handhelds. Wow, great info here. I've noticed in several pics I've seen online that the wall outlet for the handhelds varies in height based on the user's preference. Would you or have you installed a stationary shower head along with a handheld on a slide bar? What are the pros or cons of this approach?
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    There are probably more choices in single showerheads verses handheld designs, so it somewhat depends on what you have or have found that you like. To select between two heads, either singly or in tandem means a more complex piping and valve, which over time, you may not find that useful. Plus, if you configure it to be able to use both, you will be taxing your hot water supply and shorten your shower. A handheld can be really nice if the bath/shower is used by both young and old, as the flexibility of sliding it up or down, or taking it off, to direct the spray just where you want it is helpful. But, some would say it clutters up the look.

    I think Grohe discontinued it, but there are still some around for sale: Freehander is a dual-head, pivoting assembly where you can shut one of the heads off. They swivel as you raise or lower the loop they are held on - kind of neat, but not inexpensive. Down low, sort of a body spray, up higher, a traditional showerhead (but on a loop rather than an arm).
  17. dhagin

    dhagin builder:anti-builder

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    oahu
    lag.jpg

    We've done a number of these type of configurations. The biggest advantage is having the best of all worlds: fixed, handheld, additional hook accessible from bench.

    We design and build for folks with mobility and grasping limitations & the elderly regularly. The bench and accessible handheld is requested often. The handheld is great for cleaning up too.

    This particular configuration is all Moen - Moentrol valve, 4 position shower head, 4 position handheld. :)
  18. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Just to mention, I had the showerhead raised in my house because my husband was complaining that it was too low, hurting his back washing his hair, etc.

    It would be better had I NOT done this, for the following reason. It is a bathtub with a sliding glass door. The problem is the height of the showerhead relative to the height of the sliding glass door. Now, whenever my husband takes a shower, water (small amounts) bounces off his head and over the shower door into the bathroom itself.
    Not sure if this is a consideration in your case.
    Ruth
  19. diydude

    diydude New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    Good point. I'll keep that in mind.

    Dana, thanks for the pic.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  20. diydude

    diydude New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    I ended up raising the shower head outlet to 77".
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