Shower for very different stature people

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by bjmifsud, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. bjmifsud

    bjmifsud New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Hi All,

    My brother used this forum a few years ago and did a great job remodeling his Master Bath. That's saying alot... he's an Attorney...;)

    My turn... (I'm an Engineer so am planning on totally screwing it up!!!)

    I've got two teenage sons who are (or will be) of average height 5'10"), and a daughter (9) who is a Little Person. She will most likely not be much taller than 4' at her adult height. We are remodeling a bath that they will all share. I've done some measuring on my daughter and here is some Ergonomic information that is relevant to this question.

    She is 3' 8" right now.
    Her "reach" is about 8".
    I figured that a comfortable counter height for her right now (Vanity elevation) is about 25"

    I am building a custom vanity for her so she won't have to step on a stool or other platform. Little People struggle with having to work in Kitchens and use bathrooms built for average sized people. Imagine carrying boiling pots of water from the stove to the sink to dump some pasta. How many times will a mother do that in her life and what are the chances she will slip while stepping up and down? Similar hazards in bathrooms... Okay, end of soapbox..

    Anyhow, the shower is the challenge. With space enough to put in a prefab corner shower (want to avoid hazard of stepping over edge of bath tub), I'd like to set up the shower with two heads and one set of controls. I envision one head on each of the two walls and the controls being at a height that is a compromise for all three kids who will all soon be at their respective adult heights. I don't care for the shower head on a "wand" as our water is very hard, and I don't want the complexity nor fragility, nor cleaning burden of all that stainless steel "hose" and hardware. All those units break anyhow after enough use.

    Two simple heads at two heights seems to be the best choice.

    So how do I plumb it?

    1 diverter and 1 valve?

    Thanks

    Brian
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    15,303
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You can use one valve with a diverter and two shower heads, but it's going to still run about the same if you use two valves.
    A diverter does wind up taking less space. Some valves incorporate the diverter on the same trim.
    The bigger problem, if you lower the shower head for her, is having the taller kids knock into it. You may want a slightly longer arm for the high shower head.
    Most corner showers are very small. A typical NeoAngle pan is 38" on the the wings, which works well setting the shower arm at 14.5" from the corner on the rough-in. Centering doesn't work well with a neo angle cutting back on the space behind.
    When we install tubs, we center at 14.5" too.

    Is there room for two basins in the room? One low and one higher?
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
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    That's funny.

    25" is really low for your boys. Would your daughter mind using a step that is concealed into the kick of the vanity? I have seen some slick designs that incorporate a toe kick drawer that extends out and doubles as a step. Perhaps this way you could get a small 3.5" step in place and work with a 28"-29" counter height?
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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  5. bjmifsud

    bjmifsud New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    The boys have their own sink at average persons height. I'm adding a new custom vanity just for my daughter. Steps are bad news because EVENTUALLY, no matter how careful she will be, she's going to slip and fall onto a hard tile surface. (Imagine in the throes of a flu and a dizzy spell hits you or nausea.....)

    It's really just trying to imagine yourself in a world where everyone is 7' high and things are built for them. You are ALWAYS inconvenienced...

    So.. thanks anyway but NO steps.. to dangerous in wet/hard areas. The custom vanity with it's own sink is an easy solution... it's the shower which is the challenge.
  6. bjmifsud

    bjmifsud New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Can you give me an example of a valve with diverter? (Brand/Model)

    I keep running into tub/shower setups where "diversion" happens by blocking flow out of the tub spigot/faucet. Since this isn't a tub, that won't work.

    I think that is the biggest problem and will cause issues.


    What do you think about just installing one shower head in the ceiling, so it doesn't matter how tall or short you are?
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    15,303
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Brian how are you building the shower? Will you be doing a California Hot Mop, traditional liner system, fiber glass / acrylic or something newer like a Hydro Ban or Kerdi type topical shower? I would guess you need to plan on a lower shower curb? Your install sounds like it would appeal to many people who share similar struggles. Will you be so kind as to share with use some progress pictures as you tackle this project?

    JW
  9. bjmifsud

    bjmifsud New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Well, after being an Engineer for 22 years, there's one thing I learned very very well... I will never have all the answers.. but the trick is to know WHO to ask....

    That valve with diverter is exactly what I was hoping to find somewhere. My daughter agrees with you Terry on sometimes not wanting to get her hair wet....

    SOLD!
  10. bjmifsud

    bjmifsud New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Photos will simply give you guys solid evidence to laugh at me!

    For the kids shower, we need to get something in place and fully operational by Sept 1. Our budget for the house is spent almost entirely (with pros doing the work) on:
    • digging a new leach field
    • replacing an original (1986) an badly deteriorated asphalt shingle roof
    • correcting the bad drainage on the property
    • putting in a softener and filtration system for a very hard and high iron well water system
    • plumbing a gutted and expanded Master Bath
    • fixing dozens of Electrical hazards by previous "DIY" owner who miraculously didn't kill someone


    That leaves getting the kids bath operational for the whole family to use by the time we move in as the Master Bed and Bath expansion (growing both rooms by 6') won't be done 'til after we move.

    The kids bath has the remains of the plumbing from it's orginal tub with shower, but the previous owners removed the built in tub, and "installed" a freestanding contemporary tub. It looks like a 12 year old plumbed it. Technically water goes in and drains out (into a piece of corrugated vacuum cleaner hose) somewhere beneath the floor....

    But that's what you get when you buy a "short sale"....

    Anyhow, we think a fiberglass/acrylic stall will be most expedient to install. With the really hard water and high iron, even after treatment, we don't want the hassle of having to scrub miles of grout lines, so a solid surface stall kit is what we are thinking. I'm pretty sure I can set it and do any dress up tile to trim it out. We are having a pro plumber do the rough as I've finally accepted that even though Dad taught us a little of everything (he was a machinist, and we learned electrical wiring, plumbing, woodworking, and of course metal working), I'm not familiar with code and best practices in plumbing to do a good job the first time.

    Figuring out placement of the controls and shower heads to fit all the parties involved and not interfere with each other will be the next trick.
  11. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,721
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Photo's do more than that. A lady in California emailed me some construction photos a few days back and after a quick look I emailed her back a short email.

    The title line read

    !!! STOP WORK ORDER !!!

    When we chatted on the phone the other day I encouraged her to send my concerns to her structural engineer. My concerns where well founded and the job was being built wrong. The engineer is going to inspect the job and have the crew make changes.

    One nice thing about sharing photo's is you put more eyes on the job. Terry and the crew who hang out here have been helping me for years. It's a humbling experience to have your work "Picked Apart" online but I think it is wiser to be safe than sorry. That and you try a little harder when you know you plan to share your work with the world and not just your friends and family.

    I'm cleaning shop and have mostly drains on the short list to clear out - these needing a more custom shower pan. I do however have some fun Grab Bars from ELIO that might make your daughter smile and the boys to. They are LED versions and provide a little light as well as safety in the shower. I would be happy to give one to you if you cover the shipping. Let me know if you would like it.

    I will require a finished picture as well as the shipping costs to complete the transaction.

    JW
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