There are so many options out there for showering. A lot of people are skipping the tub option in the Master Suite and maximizing the shower space. Once you open that door- it’s a slippery slope! (haha) There are so many options! Steam or no steam? Rainhead? From the ceiling or from the wall? Do you want water pressure? Or are you wanting more of an “experience”? Do you want a handheld for cleaning? Is there a seat in your shower? Oh- lets not forget about digital! If that’s not all enough- there are a multitude of finishes!!! Chrome? Polshed or Brushed Nickel? Bronze? Gold is making a HUGE comeback in a softer, gentler way! One of the most popular right now? BLACK!?! Is your head spinning yet?
Well, that’s where I come in. My customers walk in confused and frazzled and feeling rushed, and 99.9% of the time they walk out feeling much more informed and comfortable with their choices and thanking me for making it so easy. My secret? Training. Lots of training and experience helping customers with all types of situations. We sometimes have to get crafty in this line of work to make it happen for our customers. So lets break it down a little. This will most definitely have to be a multi-part series- there are so many parts that go into a custom shower. So lets start with the basics: Valves.
The first thing your plumber needs to know is what manufacturer you are going to go with and how many valves to install. And he wanted to know it yesterday.
Brands/Manufacturers are important. You want to ALWAYS go to a supply house to get your valves and plumbing fixtures. Avoid the big box stores. They have their purpose- but plumbing fixtures are not one of them. Don’t believe me? Ask your plumber. Still don’t believe us? Walk in the big box store and ask an employee how many gallons per minute can the valve they are selling you handle? How many shower heads/functions can you run off of that valve? Oh- and what about a diverter? Your plumber mentioned something about one of those? Now that you’ve good and confused the poor guy/gal- come see me. The manufacturers mostly make specific lines for these stores designed to sell at a lower price point. And how do they do that you may ask? Well they aren’t giving away the good stuff for free! 😉
Once you make the choice to set up a consultation- it’s time to consider a few of your options. If you want to keep it simple and have only one shower head, wether it be in a tub/shower or a shower only, you’re only going to need one valve. So yay! Decision #1 is made!
HOWEVER- if you are going to add functions, such as that ceiling mount raincan, body sprays or a hand shower- we have a bit more to discuss. There are two ways to do this in a shower. The first way and the more budget friendly and most common way is to use a diverter system. In this case you will need two valves. The main valve controls the temperature AND volume and the diverter directs the water to the function you are desiring. I can go more in depth on this and the options- but for the sake of your eyes reading this on your computer/phone screen- just consider that with this you cannot run more than 2 of the functions together at the same time. Also with this system you cannot have more than 3 functions total and the water pressure is more limited. This is not a good system for the “carwash” shower.
The best option, and also can be the most costly, for multiple functions is going to be a volume control system. This system has a mixing valve for temperature only. You have a handle that controls how hot or cold the water is- and then you have a volume control to turn EACH function on and off. Which gives you much more control over each function. It requires a volume control valve for each function as well as that all important mixing valve. Aside from cost- there are other considerations on this system. Some feel that it makes the shower extremely “busy”.
A new solution to that “business” in the shower is eliminating the handles all together! Digital Valves are making a splash (pun intended) in the shower! You get maximum pressure out of the system, and full control with so many options! My one piece of advise on these systems- have a hand shower that is run to a good old fashioned regular mixing valve in the case of power outages or just for general cleaning.
There are other considerations to go over- and that’s where a one on one consultation is important. Your plumber is most likely overbooked and working hard to squeeze everyone in- and they are not going to give you a week or two notice in most cases that they need your valves. That’s where you need to take the bull by the horns and stop in to discuss your options. Appointments are not necessary, but encouraged if you would like to have plenty of one on one time and not have to wait for it! 🙂
Call me at 770-887-1420 ext 2410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to set up an appointment!