When undertaking home construction projects, always use the right measurements, which will help ensure accuracy and that your project will last a long time. When it comes to installing shower fittings like valves and heads, the height measurement is crucial. A head set too low can make washing your hair incredibly difficult. Improperly set faucets at hard-to-reach heights will require you to bend over or reach up high to turn water on and off and adjust the temperature. By following a few guidelines, you will be able to set your fittings properly.
Shower Head Height
Installing the shower head at the right height helps ensure that everyone in your home can comfortably fit under when taking a shower. The authors of "Popular Mechanics Complete Home How-To" and the "Ultimate Guide to Plumbing" list the standard head height at 72 inches, or 6 feet. However, the author of "Ultimate Guide to Plumbing" adds that many people prefer a height of 76 inches, or 6 feet 4 inches, to keep the shower head above the top edge of prefabricated shower stall walls.
The height of the valve for a shower depends upon whether you need it for a shower stall or a shower set in a bathtub. Showers set in bathtubs require lower valve heights because the valve must connect to both the shower and the bath tap. A height of 28 inches, or 2 feet 4 inches, is standard for valves in bathtub shower units. For shower stalls, install the valve at the standard height of 48 inches, or 4 feet. Install faucets at the same height as the valve, equidistant from the valve.
Distance Between Fittings
In a shower stall with a head set at 72 inches and a valve set at 48 inches, the piping between the fittings is 24 inches, or 2 feet. In a tub with a head at 72 inches and a valve at 28 inches, the space between the fittings is 44 inches, or 3 feet 8 inches. The spacing between these elements can vary. For instance, if you install a valve at 48 inches but move the head to 76 inches, then 52 inches of space exists. Never use distance as the sole barometer for spacing fittings vertically. The author of "Ultimate Guide to Plumbing: Complete Projects for the Home" recommends installing hot- and cold-water handles 8 inches from one another, one 4 inches to the right of the valve and the other 4 inches to the left of the valve.
Personal Choice and Local Law
Personal choice and local laws are two of the most important considerations when installing shower fittings. For instance, though sources recommend 72 inches as standard for heads, with 76 inches as preferred by some, if someone in your family stands 6 foot 5, or 77 inches tall, you need a higher head. Ultimately, you can install fittings at any height that makes you comfortable as long as you adhere to local plumbing codes. Always check with local codes before undertaking any type of installation.