Talking About Bathroom Showers

Bathroom showers can be anything from a place to get a quick wash to a place that you can linger for a relaxing shower massage.

Shower sprays range from a fixed bathroom shower head sticking out of the wall to hand held spray heads to shower towers with multiple spray heads. Some even have steam attachments.


  • The first question is – “How much room do you have?”


  1. The second question is – How much money do you want to spend?”

Shower heads by law may not deliver more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. However, there is no limit on how many shower heads you can install. The limit is the amount of water flow and the pressure you get from the source. (These are water conservation laws that apply to the United States).

If you live in an older home and the pipes are ½” galvanized steel, the inside diameter is somewhere only around ¼” inch. Replacing them is a good idea as the galvanized pipes rust from the inside out.

How can you tell easily? If the water has not been turned on for several days and you turn the valve on and rust comes out, you most likely have galvanized steel piping.

In newer homes, the pipes for bathroom showers could range from copper, PVC, CPVC, PEX or hopefully, not Polybutylene because it was not a good product. So check the type of plumbing you have before you spend any money and fixtures.

As to the size of the pipe, a smaller diameter will give you more pressure with less water flow. A larger diameter will give you more water flow with less pressure.

For bathroom showers, a ½ inch diameter pipe on the hot water line is normal. A ¾ inch diameter pipe on cold water line is normal. However, your local building codes in effect at the time your home was built will determine what you actually have.

Shower heads for bathroom showers are available in a wide range of applications and prices. I was just looking at one of the catalogues from my local plumbing supply store and the prices range from $9.00 for a basic spray head to over $10,000 for a Kohler Body Spa that uses recycled water to deliver 80 GPM (gallons per minute) from a 37 gallon water supply. You can, however, turn off the spa and use it as a conventional shower.

I wonder if this is the same system that commercial car washes uses? If you really like to shower and want to be “green” friendly, this might be the shower combination for you.

Whatever your style may be, whether it is a one piece fiberglass style, a custom glass block style or a custom stone style that resembles a cave, be sure to plan the final results carefully so that there are no surprises.

Dave Altman

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