Whenever undertaking a home construction project, measurements are king. The old saying “measure twice, cut once” exists because getting the right measurements is essential to the project. Off by even a fraction of an inch and things can be noticeably off.
Knowing the proper height to install a shower valve is just as crucial for shower installations. The standard minimum height for bathtub shower units is the 28-inch mark. For shower stalls, however, the shower valve will need to be about 48 inches high.
Table of Contents
- Why is Valve and Shower Head Height Important?
- What About the Distance Between Fittings?
- The Most Important Considerations for Installation Heights
- Other Shower Installation Considerations
- Toilet Clearance in Relation to the Shower
Why is Valve and Shower Head Height Important?
Ideally, everyone in your home will be able to fit comfortably beneath the showerhead when they take a shower. Likewise, the valve should be at an accessible-height that is accessible, yet not too close to the tub or shower itself.
Of course, the former is a bit more arbitrary and there is an acceptable range for shower head height. Industry standards are as such because they have worked for a long time. For those who are either quite tall or short, heights may change accordingly.
Shower Valve Height
The most important determining factor in the height of the shower valve is whether it is for a shower set into a bathtub or a separate shower stall. Don’t just assume that valves are a one-size-fits-all situation, or you will be sorely disappointed.
Showers that are set into bathtubs have lower valve heights. The reason being that the valve has to be able to connect to both the bath tap and the shower. For this reason, 28 inches is about standard for said valves.
When it comes to shower stalls, meanwhile, a 48-inch height should work just fine. Just make sure that you install the faucets at the same height that you would the valve (equidistant to the valve).
Now that we know the proper heights for shower valves in both shower stalls and those set into bathtubs, the shower head height is next most important. Ideally, it needs to be at a height where everyone in the household can comfortably fit beneath it.
For that reason, the standard minimum when installing a shower head is 72 inches. That said, the general recommended height is actually 80 inches from the shower pan. That height gives a little extra room for everyone, even taller people, to fit comfortably beneath it.
Rainfall showerhead. Those who want a higher reach could be potentially limited by the height of the stall itself. A workaround could be to run pipe from the faucet all the way above the shower, installing a rainfall showerhead instead. Rainfall showerheads are very much in demand these days.
What About the Distance Between Fittings?
Knowing what our showerhead and valve heights are, it becomes easier to determine the distance between the two fittings. We need to know the distance for the proper length of piping that runs between the two fittings.
With a 72-inch head and a valve that is at the 48-inch mark, that means the piping in between the fittings would be 24 inches. Obviously, the spacing can vary depending on the two individual heights, so be aware of your measurements.
Conformity to the space of a widespread bathroom faucet is recommended. What does that mean? Well, the cold- and hot-water handles should be about 8 inches from one another. That is, one should be 4 inches to the left of the valve while the other is 4 inches to the right.
The Most Important Considerations for Installation Heights
When it comes down to it, there are two important considerations for valve and showerhead heights: local codes and personal choice. The former tends to win out as the showerhead and valve need to be comfortably accessible to the entire family. Taller people will simply need a higher shower head than a family of average height.
Local codes. Whenever undertaking a construction project of any kind, be sure to check the local construction codes. The last thing that you want to happen is to sink a bunch of money and time into a project only to find out that it is not up to code.
Failing to follow municipal codes can lead to a fine, require changes to the installation, or could require you to remove the installation entirely. Save yourself the time, money, and hassle by checking ahead of time.
How Far Should Shower Valves Stick Out from the Wall?
For the most part, shower valves will come in very similar dimensions. That said, there are custom options to be had, so it is important to know the recommended distance that your valve should stick out.
It is recommended that they stick out no more than 12 inches. Anything more could potentially interfere with the shower area itself, providing an inconvenience during showers.
Other Shower Installation Considerations
Installing the shower valve and showerhead are not the only considerations to be made. Depending on the size of the bathroom and any special requirements necessary, there may be certain specifications added to the installation of the shower.
Shower seats, toilet placement, and toilet clearance are just a few of the things that one would have to consider in a DIY venture. A contractor would worry about these requirements for you, so be aware if you plan on tackling a bathroom DIY project in the near future.
Though the valve should be about 24 inches for showers in tubs and 48 inches for shower stalls, those are just the recommended heights. The most convenient place to install them is to line them up directly beneath the showerhead.
Still, personal convenience is the most important thing. It is recommended that the controls be out of the range of water spray to preserve longevity. At the end of the day, controls can be placed anywhere the user prefers.
In homes where someone is mobility or balance challenged, a shower seat can be infinitely helpful to the bathing experience. Whether it be due to age, injury, pregnancy, or another condition, the shower can be hazardous without the proper precautions.
Some larger showers may accommodate for a shower seat simply out of convenience. It is important that the shower seat be planned prior to the installation, however.
Shower seat height. A shower seat should be installed so that it sits between 17 and 19 inches high from the finished portion of the shower floor. Moreover, it should be 15 inches deep at a minimum when finished.
The bench should also not interfere with the minimum recommended shower size of 36 inches by 36 inches. Some codes, however, will adhere to a 30-inch x 30-inch floor area. Check with your local codes before undertaking this project.
Shower Pressurizing and Local Codes
Though they can vary based on where you live, there are certain codes behind the pressurization of your shower valve. Codes typically dictate that the control valves be pressure balance, come with thermostatic mixing, or possess some combination of both these things.
The reason for these codes is to prevent potential scalding when the water changes pressure. Most importantly, both cold and hot controls should be easily discernable with blue and red indicators, respectively.
In some homes, the shower is big enough to accommodate two people. Where multiple showerheads are installed, there should be separate controls for each. The design of the shower should take things like jets, body sprays, diverters, and control valves into account prior to installation.
Toilet Clearance in Relation to the Shower
Though it may not seem obvious, most local codes have standards when it relates to the distance between the shower and toilet. Since people need to turn, stand, sit, or remove clothing while on the toilet, there needs to be proper clearance.
It is recommended that there be 30 inches of clearance in the front of the toilet to allow for proper movement. Depending on individual needs, that space may need to be larger. Some building codes allow for 21 inches of space, though that could make maneuvering difficult.
Additional toilet accessories. There is also the possibility that the user has special requirements (think about the shower seat). In that event, there may be a requirement for grab bars so that the elderly or disabled can properly use the toilet. It is recommended that grab bars go on the wall beside the toilet as well as behind it for optimal accessibility.
Why is the Toilet Always Next to the Shower?
You may have noticed, though not particularly considered, that bathrooms nearly always feature the toilet and the shower in the same area. This is not random, no dumb luck. It is done by design.
The reason that toilets are more often than not installed next to the shower is due to the water lines running into the bathroom. Simply put it is far more economical for the builder to do it this way. There is, of course, the option to have them separate. Just keep in mind that running the lines separately will cost more.