Overwhelmed... Remodeling 3 bathrooms at once

msbrandywinevalleyNovember 19, 2012

The resolution of a plumbing problem we encountered a few months ago has us in the throes of three bathroom remodeling projects at once, and my head is spinning. I know there's a lot for me to read on these boards in order to make informed product choices, and I've begun to do that, but some of what I've read is adding to my confusion.

Let me start with the toilets. I thought I had them selected -- the Kohler Santa Rosa (K-3323) for a very small powder room, and the Kohler Cimmaron (K4309 and K4421) for the other two (also small) bathrooms. But then I read about the MaP testing. And I saw a mention of Class 5 vs Class 6 flushing technology. And I really don't know if I want/need 1.6 GPF or 1.28. And now I'm not even sure I should get Kohler toilets.

I live in a mid-sized, mid-priced home; my renovations are not intended to be top-of-the-line, only updates for 35-year old bathrooms. I'd like to keep the cost of these renovations "reasonable" although, truth be told, I don't even know what "reasonable" means. I'm not working with a bathroom designer because the layouts of the bathrooms will remain unchanged. In an ideal world, someone who is knowledgeable and unbiased, with no vested interest in my purchases would tell me exactly what products to buy and where to buy them. My plumber sent me to a large plumbing supply house where I spent almost a whole day choosing products -- everything from tub/shower units to toilet paper holders. But when I got the itemized cost breakdown and did some follow-up online price comparisons, I saw that the supply house's online prices were, in some cases, lower than the quote I received, and that those prices were still higher (by about 35%) than comparable prices on Amazon and other websites.

The enormity of this job has immobilized me. Can I/should I negotiate with the plumbing supply house? Should I place my order through my plumber or on my own? Is it okay to order items like toilets and sinks online? How can I save money on things like vanities, vanity tops and medicine cabinets without sacrificing quality? I should mention that I do have a general contractor, too, but he's a "worker" not a decorator, so I can't rely on him to help me with product choices.

What's the best (most sane) way for me to proceed? Thanks!!!

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I don't know about those specific toilets but I'd either negotiate with the plumbing supply house or go online.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:21AM
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I would find a high-end plumbing/kitchen/bath showroom with a real life salesperson with some design expertise. See if they will extend contractor discounts. Then buy everything through them. With 3 bathrooms, you are bound to have some problems so you really need a person who will help you and be on your side. I would start with design/look and feel not toilets. I think you need to define what each bathroom will look like and function like first. Then handle each one one by one. It will be very time consuming but good things take time.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:31AM
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We renovated our guest bathroom first, a year or two before tackling our two upstairs bathrooms. We did so because we added a shower to this bathroom as part of the reno (turning a 1/2 bath into a full bath). We planned to reno the other two bathrooms at the same time (stealing space from the hall bath in order to add a foot of space to the MB), so we needed to have a working bathroom and a shower (!) in place before we demolished them.

We used the same kitchen/bathroom showroom for our all of our fixtures and cabinet hardware. Because we had worked with the same salesperson throughout, he took very good care of us. Not only did he do what he could with regards to pricing, but he helped with aesthetics and design, and with quality--he wouldn't let us get junk, but also wouldn't let us overspend (e.g. not that I'd have seriously considered it, but he emphatically nixed a perfect, but uber-pricey towel bar from Italy or Spain or something). He oversaw all of our deliveries (he labelled every box and item by bathroom, even though most items were duplicates). He held onto stuff for us, until we were ready for it. And so on, and so on.

I can't tell you how invaluable it was having him "on our side" before, during, and even after. We were our own GC's; DH did the demo and construction (took longer than it would have had we used a contractor/builder, but saved us enough $ to not only allow us to renovate, period, but also allowed us the splurges, like floor heat for ex.). We did use our longtime plumber, and the tile guy we'd used in our kitchen and guest bathroom, so they helped and advised us when needed as well.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:03AM
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You have my sympathy. Our bath remodel left me exhausted. I cannot imagine doing three simultaneously.

I bought everything but our tile online... I spent an insane amount of time shopping, reading, comparing, searching... It was pretty much a full-time job. (A really terrible job that I did not trust anyone else to do.)

My personal experience is that you CAN do it yourself. And that the Internet will provide you with some great prices, IF you can tolerate the experience of trying to find what you want.

For me, the information/choice overload was paralyzing... I can't say if it was worth it or not. I LOVE the finished product. But the stress/amount of time I invested was overwhelming. The decisions and debating were endless and I had a hard time detaching from the idea that there was one, perfect answer.

Here is a link that might be useful: My experience/stress/photos of remodeling our bath.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:37AM
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We did 2 in sequence, but one was a basement bath so I wasn't terribly picky about it. For our main bath, though, I did care, and was intent on saving money. I had a summer free (I teach), so I spent a shocking amount of time research and shopping. This is the most complicated remodel project I've ever undertaken; I was really surprised about how many decisions go into making a bathroom "just so". I do think I saved us a lot of money. By being willing to research and find bargains on pretty much every element in the room, I was able to hire a contractor who is affordable and "a worker" - like yours. So you could go this route, and spend a ton of time. Or you could connect with a plumbing supply pro and be assured everything will work together. It's time and loss of sleep vs. money, to put it simply!

As for toilet research, I recommend reading over the forums at terrylove.com. You'll be amazed how much info is there, and much of it points toward a Toto toilet. I had one of the Toto dual flush toilets I got from craigslist, and ending up selling it because I didn't like how it flushed. (got an Inax, instead) But I had a Toto Drake in my last house, and it was great. Those are no more expensive than a mid-level Kohler, and many people would say the Toto's are far better than Kohler, in general.

Vanities are kind of a pet peeve of mine. Everything I saw that was affordable had abysmal storage - basically heavy on doors and light on drawers. And the drawers they do have tend to be tiny. I've used recycled kitchen cabinets in 3 bathrooms now, and highly recommend them if you have the space for a couple inches extra depth. Go to a salvage store, or go to Ikea, and you can get very high quality, efficient storage even on a tight budget. Then splurge on a nice stone or composite countertop, and it will look great.(And you can look for remnants to make the splurge a little less, or find prefab granite counters if you live in an area where those are sold)

Medicine cabinets from Home Depot and Lowes look really good in pictures people have posted on this site. People love Robern, but I'm not sure a medicine cabinet is where I would splurge. I got mine at the Habitat store; same with my vanity and linen cabinets.

You can learn a lot on this forum, so you came to the right place. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Phylhl -- I love the idea of finding a "high-end plumbing/kitchen/bath showroom with a real life salesperson with some design expertise." However, I'm not looking for high-end bathrooms and I don't want to pay high-end prices. After reading your post I searched for -- and found -- two such places in my area, but after looking at their online photo galleries I'm left feeling that they're out of my league. I'd love and appreciate their expertise, but don't want to overdo these bathrooms. I wonder if there's some sort of compromise.

VictoriaElizabeth -- your bathroom is BEAUTIFUL!! I'm driving myself nutzo, much the same way that you did. I've been procrastinating for so long that I no longer notice the sections of missing walls and ceilings that have been that way since we discovered the leaky pipe that gave birth to these bathroom renovations. I'm not convinced that there's only one true "right way" to have bathrooms I'll be happy with, but I do know that left to my own judgement, I'm highly likely to make regrettable (and costly) mistakes.

kmcg -- thank you for directing me to the forums at terrylove.com. There IS a ton of great information there and I need to sift through it. The Bertch vanities I chose (or thought I chose) are the most expensive items. I'm not at all convinced that I need to get custom made because they're relatively small (one is 36" and the other 42"). OTOH, I have no idea which semi-custom manufacturers make really good quality products. I guess I have LOTS more reading to do.

cat mom-- Like you, I need to work with someone who I can feel is "on my side." One concern of mine is that my plumber said that unless he orders the products for me, he won't take responsibility for products that may arrive broken, with missing parts, etc. This could be problematic if I order these things online. An in-store advocate would be helpful, but I'll need to figure out how much that peace of mind is worth to me.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 4:08PM
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I did a kitchen and 2 bathrooms at the same time, so I had similar overload. For the bathrooms, I ordered all fixtures, including toilets, bathtubs, faucets, shower heads and valves online. The only things I ordered from a brick and mortar store were the vanities and countertops, as I wanted to see and touch them-- or at least the samples. I ordered a Bertch vanity for one of the bathrooms, by the way, and I shopped it at a number of different stores. I found they varied widely as to price.

Anyway, before ordering the toilets, the various valves and more complex plumbing items, I gave a list to our GC for him to show the plumber. This way I could make sure that I was ordering the right size, type, etc. I had very little trouble with anything that arrived broken or with missing parts. One of our shower pieces arrived with a missing part and I was able to get the situation rectified easily and quickly with the online merchant.

I saved a ton of money purchasing online, but you do need to make sure you order the right parts. A friend of mine ordered her bathroom items online but didn't do the appropriate diligence about whether she was buying the right things. She ended up paying a lot of restocking fees.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 4:50PM
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I echo cat_mom's advice - we found the one salesperson (with design expertise) to be very beneficial. They too held onto everything until we needed it. The place we used not only sold high end stuff but also very affordable stuff. Toto, american standard, Symmons, etc. in addition to hans grohe, grohe, rohl, and others which I didn't have the budget to even pronounce :-) They treated me so well regardless of what brands I was looking at - in fact she steered me away from $700 toilets and sinks - and helped me find $100 sinks, etc. I was a little scared off when my plumber and previous GC said they could not take responsibility for anything they did not order - but this showroom did not send me anything with one missing piece, and I did 4 bathrooms, a kitchen and hardware for every door in my house. But she would have had it fed ex'd if something was wrong. Do consider it, and have fun planning! Just take your time....

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 2:22PM
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I feel I've made some real progress over the past few days. I went onto the Toilets Forum on TerryLove.com and learned a lot about Toto options. I've narrowed the options for my small powder room and I've selected the toilets for the other two bathrooms. Next up: go to a local showroom to see the Toto toilets "up close and personal" and get a better sense of the colors available.

On the advice of sas95 I price-shopped the Bertch cabinets over the phone. I had all of the specs from the first showroom I visited and was amazed to find that two local dealers could save me 30-35% on the exact same cabinets!

This forum has been an invaluable resource. So my next question is -- where do I go to get educated regarding faucets and showerheads? Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 9:29AM
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mongoct posted some really helpful info about showers and valves, and that's basically everything I know about that topic! I'll try to paste it here:

Let me know if this is the sort of info you're looking for, if it's too basic, or not inclusive enough. It's a rough first draft and can be edited as required:
The sort of where, what, and why of pressure-balanced versus thermostatic:
Pressure-balanced or thermostatic temperature control valves are code-required in bathroom plumbing because they eliminate potential scalding and cold water shocks that can occur in a shower.

If you are using the shower and a toilet is flushed, as the toilet uses cold water to refill the tank, the pressure in the cold water line drops a bit below what it was when just the shower was running. If you had a non-balancing valve, you�d still get the same amount of hot water that you originally were getting, but with the drop in pressure in the cold water line you�d have less cold water coming out of your shower head, creating a potential for scalding. Vice-versa, if someone turns on a hot-water faucet elsewhere in the house, the hot water pressure drops and you get a shower of mostly cold water.

A pressure-balanced shower valve is designed to compensate for changes in water pressure. It has a mechanism inside that moves with a change in water pressure to immediately balance the pressure of the hot- and cold-water inputs. These valves keep water temperature within a couple degrees of the initial setting. They do it by reducing water flow through either the hot or cold supply as needed. Because pressure balanced valves control the temp by reducing the flow of water through the valve, if your plumbing supply is already struggling to keep up with the three shower heads and nine body sprays that you have running in your shower, if a pressure balancing valve kicks in and chokes down the water supply to keep you from getting scalded you could end up with insufficient water flow out of the heads in a multiple shower head setup. When it comes to volume control, in terms of being able to turn on the water a little or a lot, for the most part pressure-balanced valves are full-on when water is flowing or full-off when the valve is closed. Flow-wise, think of them as having no middle ground.

Where flow and volume control are important, as in a shower that requires a high volume of water, a thermostatic valve may be the better choice. They also control the temperature, but they do not reduce the amount of water flowing through the valve in doing so. Thermostatic valves are also common with 3/4" inlets and outlets, so they can pass more water through the valve than a 1/2" pressure balancing valve.

Which should you choose?
In a larger multi-outlet master shower, while a 1/2" thermostatic valve may suffice, a 3/4" thermostatic valve might be the better choice. But it does depend on the design of your shower and the volume of water that can be passed through your houses supply lines. In a secondary bathroom, or in a basic master where you have only one head, or the common shower head/tub spout diverter valve, a 1/2" pressure balancing valve would be fine.

If you want individual control and wanted multiple valves controlling multiple heads, then you could use multiple 1/2" valves instead of one 3/4" valve and all would be just fine.

What do the controls on the valve actually control?
While it may vary, a pressure balanced valve is normally an "all in one" valve with only one thing you can adjust�the temperature. The valve usually just has one rotating control (lever or knob) where you turn the water on, and by rotating it you set the water to a certain temperature. Each time you turn the valve on you�ll have to set it to the same spot to set it to your desired temperature. For the most part you really don�t control the volume, just the temperature. With the valve spun a little bit, you'll get 100% flow but it will be all cold water. With the valve spun all the way, you�ll get 100% flow, but it will be all hot water. Somewhere int eh middle you�ll find that Goldilocks "just right" temperature, and it�ll be at�you guessed it�100% flow. So with a pressure balancing valve, you control the temp, but when the valve is open, it�s open.

A thermostatic valve can be all inclusive in terms of control (volume and temp) or just be temperature controlling. If it�s just temperature controlling, you will need a separate control for volume or flow. Example, with an all inclusive you�ll have two "controllers" (knobs or levers) on the valve, one to set the temperature and a separate one to set the volume. In this case you can set the temp as you like it, then use the volume control lever to have just a trickle of Goldilocks water come out of the valve, or you can open it up and have full flow of Goldilocks water coming out of the valve. You can leave the temp where you like it when you turn the volume off after you�re done showering. The next time you shower, turn the volume on, the temperature is already set. Some thermostatic valves are just temperature valves with no volume control. You�ll need another valve/control to set the volume. Read the product description carefully to see what you're getting.

What size valve should I get?
Yes, valves actually come in different sizes. The size refers to the size of the inlet/outlet nipples on the valve. For a basic shower, a 1/2" valve will suffice. For a larger multi-head arrangement, a 3/4" valve would be better. Realize that you�ll need a water heater that can supply the volume of heated water you want coming out of the heads, so don�t forget that when you build or remodel. Also realize that if you�re remodeling and have 1/2" copper running to your shower, capping 1/2" copper supply tubing with a 3/4" valve provide you with much benefit as the 1/2" tubing is the limiting factor. You can, however, cap 3/4" supply tubing with a 1/2" valve or a 3/4" valve.

Is one better than another?
Thermostatic valves are "better" in that with them you can control both volume of flow and temperature, so you have more control, and they hold the temperature to a closer standard (+/- 1 degree). They also perform better if you are running multiple outlets in the shower, as they do not choke down the amount of water in order to control the temperature. But you pay for that added flow and added control. Pressure balancing valves can be had for about $100-$200, thermostatic valves can be twice that amount. And more.

Will I suffer with a pressure-balancing valve?
For what it�s worth, when I built my house over 10 years ago I put pressure-balancing valves in my own house. While I have two outlets in my shower (sliding bar mounted hand-held on the wall and an overhead 12" rain shower head on the ceiling), I have a two separate pressure-balancing valves, one valve for each head. With both heads going in the shower, I notice no loss of flow in the shower when the toilet is flushed and the sink faucet is turned on simultaneously. I also notice no change in temperature. So they work for me.

If you are remodeling, if you have your existing sink running and you flush the toilet and notice a drop in volume coming out of the sink, then a thermostatic valve might be the better choice even if you're not having a multi-head setup installed.

If, as part of the remodel, you plan on running new supply lines through your house to the new bath, then properly sized runs will take care of that flow restriction and you can probably do a pressure balancing valve instead of a thermostatic.

So in a house with tricky plumbing, or with a restricted water supply, or with multiple outlets running off of one supply valve, a thermostatic valve might be the safer choice.


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Posted by mongoct (My Page) on Thu, Jun 26, 08 at 2:30

Part Deux:
Controls and Diverters
This may be almost impossible to thoroughly attack because there are so many variations in what people want and in what different manufacturers offer.

In general�

You need a volume and temperature control. You can buy just the valve body, which is the chunk of expensive brass that gets buried in the wall, and buy a separate trim kit, or you can buy a package that includes the valve body and the trim kit. The trim kit is the bright sparkly metallic knob/lever/escutcheon bling that you overspend for so your friends and neighbors will go "oooooh" and "aaaaah".

If you buy a pressure balanced valve, the valve in and of itself will turn on the water and allow you to control the temperature. If you buy a thermostatic valve, most valve bodies have two controllers on them, one to control volume and one to control temperature. Read the fine print though, because some thermostatic bodies just control temperature. You�ll need a separate valve body to provide volume control.

Stops. Some valves come with "stops" some do not. What are stops? Stops stop water flow at the valve itself so the valve can be taken apart without having to turn the water off to that branch circuit or to the whole house. They are normally incorporated onto the hot and cold water inlets on the valve body, and they can be opened or closed with a screw driver.

While I�m on this, I�ll also mention that some valves might mention having a "stop screw" to limit the maximum temperature. While a pressure balancing or a thermostatic valve will prevent you from being scalded if someone flushes a toilet, there is nothing to prevent someone from being scalded by setting the valve to allow 130 degree water to pass through it. Your first step is to lower the temperature on your water heater to about 120 degrees. For valves that have these stop screws, it�s then a simple matter of setting a screw that limits how far the temperature knob can be rotated. What you do is rotate the knob to set the water to the max temp that you�d ever want out of the shower, then you turn the set screw until it bottoms out. It will now prevent the temperature knob from turning past (hotter than) it�s existing position.

Downstream of that volume/temp control is where things get dicey. You can have a simple setup where your V/T control just runs to a single shower head. Easy to do. You can have a standard tub setup with a shower head and a tub spigot, where the diverter can be a lever or push button that sends water either to the tub spigot below or to the shower head above. Also easy to do.

If you want to supply water to more than one shower head, to a shower head and body sprays, or to both, either simultaneously or one at a time, then you�ll need more chunks of expensive brass to bury in your wall.

If you want separate controls and the ability to have differing temperatures come out of differing fixtures, then it�s easiest to go with multiple V/T controllers. One V/T controller for the shower heads, for example, and a separate V/T controller for the body sprays. This allows you to run different volumes and different temperatures out of the different heads. Your shower head can be 105 degrees and your body sprays 110 degrees.

Remember, the more hot water that you want to come out of your shower, the larger your supply tubing and valve bodies need to be, and the larger your water heater has to be. For sizing purposes, most shower heads and body sprays have a gallon per minute rating applied to them. In theory and planning only, if your hand held shower head is, for example, rated at 3gpm, your rain shower head rated at 4gpm, and each of your 8 body spray heads is rated at 1gpm, and you want to run them all at the same time�you�re looking at a flow of 15gpm. You need a water heater that can supply you with 15gpm of hot water, then you need supply tubing that can get 15gpm of hot water from your water heater to your bathroom, and you need valve/diverter bodies that can pass the required amount of water through them so you get decent flow out of each fixture.

Typical plumbing is 1/2", typical valves are 1/2". For high volume situations, 3/4" tubing and 3/4" supply valves may be required. Out of the valves you can usually run 1/2" tubing to your shower heads and body spray heads.

Back to the hardware. If you want a shower head and body sprays, and want to run either or both off of one valve, then you�ll want a diverter valve.

Diverter valves can be anything and everything. They can be simple A/B valves, where you can run the water through the valve to only "A", your shower head, or only to "B", your body spray heads. But not both at the same time.

Which leads to the A/B/AB valve, where you can send water only to "A", your shower head, or only to "B", your body spray heads, or to "AB", simultaneously to both.

And from here things go wild. There are A/B/C/AB/AC/BC/ABC valves, and things just can go on and on from there.

Diverter valves are usually described as having a certain number of "ports". 3-port, 4-port, 5-port, etc. Realize that one port is where the water goes in to the valve, the other ports are where the water comes out. So an A/B/C valve that has three outlets might be listed as a "4-port valve", with the fourth port being the inlet.

Not all 4-port valves can do A/B/C/AB/AC/BC/ABC, you�ll need to look through the description to find out where it can send the water to. A 4-port valve might just be an A/B/C valve, or it might be a more versatile A/B/C/AB/AC/BC valve. Read its description.

If you can�t get the customization you need from a single volume/temperature controller and a single diverter, you can run multiple diverters off of one V/T controller, or multiple diverters off of multiple V/T controllers. It all depends on how much brass you can afford, how much water you can supply, and if you have the space to hide all that brass in your walls.

Diverters can be knobs, levers, push buttons, the choice is yours. But do remember that you need to match up the valve body to the desired trim kit so that the bling that your neighbors can see will fit on the expensive chunk of brass that they can�t see. You don�t want your plumber to bury that expensive chunk of brass in your wall, then tile, then find out later that your bling won�t fit. Very depressing.

It�s all about reading the fine print.


RE: FAQ/Answers Bathroom Plumbing for dummies clip this post email this post what is this?
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Posted by mongoct (My Page) on Thu, Jun 26, 08 at 12:51

How to get the water out of your walls:
A fixed shower head high on the wall, an adjustable hand held, an overhead rain shower head, or body sprays? Or all of them?
Normally 1/2" copper tubing is run from the valve or diverter body to carry the water to the location of the outlet. If you're going to install something permanently, or if you're going to make a connection in a sealed wall, then it�s normally a soldered fitting.

For things like showerhead arms, or body sprays, these are normally threaded connections. A threaded connection allows you to change out the shower head and arm for a different one if the old breaks, or for a new style if remodeling. When making up a threaded connection, you'll want to use something on the thread, either teflon tape, teflon pipe dope, or some other sort of thread sealer that will allow you to break the connection at a later date.

A common way to connect your outlet to your spray head is to run your copper tubing to the location of the outlet, then solder a 90 degree drop ear fitting to the copper tubing.

You can see that the fitting has a smooth inlet for the 1/2" supply tubing to be soldered to, two holes in the "ears" to nail or screw the fitting to the framing, and a threaded outlet where the water will come out of. These fittings are manufactured in different configurations for different applications.

That brass drop ear fitting will be buried in the wall or ceiling. If you are connecting a shower head, then the arm of the shower head gets screwed into the drop ear fitting and the shower head gets screwed on the other end of the arm. That works if it is a wall or ceiling mounted shower head. For a body spray, you�ll need a brass nipple like this:

One end of the nipple screws into the drop ear fitting, the other end gets screwed into your body spray. Nipples come in various lengths to compensate for varying wall thicknesses.

For a hand held shower, the outlet for the hand held is mounted just like a body spray head is mounted. I usually mount the outlet for a hand held down low near the bottom of the bar and offset to one side. That way when the head is hung on the bar, the hose hangs in a graceful "U", right up against the wall. Do a dry run with a piece of rope or string the same length as your hose, you don't want your hose laying on the shower floor.

Hand held shower are usually mounted in a vertical bar, the head can be slid up or down the bar to adjust the height of the head. If you don�t want a bar, then there are wall brackets that the hand held head can be set into. You can use multiple bracket, one high for tall people, one lower for shorter folk, even one low on the wall to hold the head for the leg shaving crowd.

Both the bar and the brackets are surface mounted in the wall, they are held on the wall with screws. You�ll normally drill a pilot hole, insert a plastic anchor into the pilot hole, then attach the bar or bracket by driving the screw into the plastic anchor. It�s easier to drill a pilot hole through grout than it is to drill through tile. Prior to inserting the anchor or driving the screw, I always squirt a glop of sealer into the hole, it helps prevent water intrusion.

As to the hose for the hand held, some are plastic, some are metal. I prefer metal as they lay against the wall more consistently than plastic hoses. One end of the hose screws on to the outlet that you screwed into the wall. The other end snaps or screws onto the hand held shower head. Get a hose long enough so that it can reach all corners of your shower, and then some. It helps with rinsing and cleaning the shower, shaving legs, bathing young kids, or even the family dog.

For wall mounted handhelds, you can get everything in one kit, or you can mix and match. Just make sure that everything is compatible so that you don't end up with a head that won't attach to a bracket.

A good combination is a "standard" wall mounted shower head, OR a "standard" head as a hand held, combined with an overhead rainshower head. "Standard" heads give that nice spray that is strong enough to easily rinse your body or rinse shampoo out of your hair, they often have multiple spray patterns as well.

Rainshower heads give a much gentler flow of water. They provide a different experience than a standard spray head. A rainshower head's flow might not be adequate to quickly rinse shampoo from hair. Some manufacturers have rainshower heads designed to mount on a standard arm that comes out of the wall. Those might not be a good idea, as the rainshower heads work best when they are mounted level, not on a tilt. If the head is mounted on an angle, instead of the shower of raindrops, you might something more like a garden hose effect coming out of one side of the head. Since the water "drops" out of the head instead of spraying our of the head, it's better to not have them too close to the wall. I think rainshower heads work best when plumbed to a central location on the ceiling.

If you can only have one head in your shower, than a standard type head with adjustable spray patterns might be your best bet. When I was a kid, most of the hand held shower heads were of very poor quality. Hose fittings leaked or sprayed water everywhere, the multiple spray heads leaked or sprayed water all over. Today's handheld's are of much better construction.

Construction note: If in a freezing climate, try to keep supply plumbing tubing out of your exterior walls. And if running plumbing for an overhead rainshower in the ceiling, if it's unheated attic space above then you'll want to insulate above the plumbing in the ceiling. Also, pitch the horizontal run of plumbing downwards a bit as the plumbing goes towards the rainshower head, so that when you turn the water off, the water in horizontal run of tubing will flow out the rainshower head instead of pooling and being captured in that horizontal run of tubing.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 4:28PM
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WOW!! Thanks, Mongo. I've got my reading cut out for me.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 6:49PM
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I've used Hansgrohe thermobalance valves for several showers - they're a little pricy but have held up very well. I've also used Hansgrohe and Grohe faucets (2 different companies). I've been happy with their quality.

I used a wall-mount Toto in one of my bathrooms and would recommend it as a space-saving option. The tank is installed inside the wall.

Having just remodeled 3 baths, I can sympathize with decision overload!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 7:24PM
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