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hand held and rain shower questions

Posted by flseadog (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 12, 08 at 15:21

Our post hurricane rebuild continues and everyday we are faced with more decisions and again I hope someone out there can answer questions for me since there is more collective wisdom on this forum than I've found anywhere else.

Subject 1: Rain Showers
1. On another post I read that 9'6" for the height of the shower head would be too high. Since my ceiling is going to be 10' should I get a longer arm (or whatever the correct term is) to bring the rain shower head lower? What would be a good height for this? Is this standard or does it depend on the brand, my water pressure, my preference? Basically I have no preference since I've never used one of these before but all the comments seem so favorable and I'm trying to be open to new ideas.

2. Are rain showers only suitable for showers and not tub/showers? The designer at the plumbing supply looked at me in horror when I asked if this type of shower head could be used in a tub/shower in addition to the hand spray. "Nobody does that," was her comment. The specific tub I was hoping to do this with is the Tea for Two (K-855-R)which is 66" x 36" overall and 45" x 25" at the bottom of the bathing well. Since we can't have a separate shower in the space available I was hoping to liven up the shower experience in this bathroom.

Subject 2: Hand Sprays
1. We have never had an expensive hand spray, only waterpiks installed on the available shower arm. These have worked perfectly fine---cheap and long lasting as well as effective. In the new bathrooms I was thinking of upgrading to the fancy items I've been seeing but as always questions arise. Do the metal sprays really hold up better over time than the plastic sprays? Ususally with the plastic waterpik hose of smooth plastic I just give it a quick wipe with the sponge while cleaning. Is there a problem keeping that metal coil hose clean? (You all are going to think I'm cleaning obsessed but really I'm just efficiency obsessed---maybe lazy but I want things that are low maintenance). This brings me to that slide bar. Do these mechanisms hold up over time? I was thinking that I would prefer one that attaches to the shower arm just like the waterpik and then maybe install another bracket or hook at a lower level for someone who wanted to shower while seated.

2. Again, for that Tea for Two shower/tub combo, if you think the rain shower would not be suitable would a fixed head of some sort at one end and the hand spray at the other end seem like a good idea? I'll have a one foot deep seat/ledge at the spray end that could be used for a seated shower or leg shaving.

Long post but I hope someone can help me. Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

You have lots of great questions! I just have a few comments about rainshowers in general.
-- Most are mounted directly above you and generally work best that way. Ours replaced an existing "regular" showerhead. It works okay, but I could see how the directly-overhead position would be slightly better. This is because most of the rainshowers have only one setting and their flow is more gentle. If you want a stronger flow, you basically need to turn up the faucet. Also, the directly-overhead position keeps the water falling out uniformly as opposed to dribbling out more on one side if it's at an angle.
-- The overhead position makes it hard to keep your hair dry.
-- If both the rainshower and handspray are in use at the same time, don't forget water pressure considerations and hot water needs.
Sounds like you have a really neat concept in mind. Good luck!


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

Any other comments?


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

We have a double shower with each of these installed.

On my husband's side there is a rainshower head, which he likes and I hate. I find that it is too gentle, and I feel like I waste a lot of water standing under it for long periods to get all of the shampoo out of my hair. The spray for it just doesn't have enough force for my taste. It is installed on a pressure-balancing valve set -- perhaps these work better on thermostatic valves?

On my side of the shower I use Kohler's Master Shower handset with the slide bar. I love it because it gives me the functionality of several sprays (though to be honest, I rarely change it), and I love the handset for shaving my legs, bathing the dog, and cleaning out the shower occasionally. The Kohler handset has been installed for over 10 years and looks as good as the day it was put in, with only normal weekly cleaning.


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

Height of the rainshower head? I'd bring it down no lower than about 12" above the height of the tallest user. It can be a bit lower, but try to stay at least 8" above the top of the tallest user's head. Depending on the style of head you're using, 18" to 24" extension will work fine.

Most true rainshower heads will not perform well unless they are installed parallel to the floor. So installing them on an angle, as they might be when coming out of a wall? You'll get some "rain" and some "dribble".

There are hybrid rainshower heads that are designed to replace a standard head coming out of a wall, but they're not true rainshower heads. They usually have fewer holes to give a more forceful spray. They are "in between" heads.

I've not heard of cleaning problems with metal hoses. I suppose hard water could bring that into play. I do recommend getting a hose long enough so that you can use the head to wash down all surfaces in the shower.

You can also get additional head hanging brackets, they're only a few dollars each, so you can mount a bracket to hold the head at knee height for shaving legs, etc.

Metal versus plastic? Some metal heads are cheesey, some plastic heads are fabulous.

I've showered in all types of settings, from razor sprays that are painful to the gentlest of rainshowers. From one shower head to full-blown 24 head spa setups that make you feel like you're in a car wash.

When I built my own shower, there were no limitations. My wife had carte blanche, we had no budget. All we did was we put in two heads on two valves.

A 12" overhead rainshower, it was about $100 for the head.

On the wall I installed a Grohe Top4 Relaxa head on a vertical wall bracket. I'm 6'4", my wife is 5'1". The head is easy to slide up and down as required. It can also be taken off the clip to be used as a hand held.

I installed another bracket lower on the wall for my wife to use when shaving her legs. She can sit on a teak bench and clip the Top4 head into that bracket while she does that.

I have two separate on/off supply valves, one for the overhad and one for the handheld. They can be run independently or simultaneously. They are simple valves, Temptrol. It's an excellent valve that will never cause problems.

$100 for the rainhead, I think it was around $175-$200 for the entire Grohe setup, the Top4 head, the bar, the extra long hose, etc, about $200 for the two Temptrol valves.

$500 for the whole shebang. No regrets.

In a tub/shower combo, a rainshower head could be brought to the ceiling. There are plumbing kits that have chromed or other finish tubing that can be surface mounted on the wall to bring the water to an overhead rainhead.

But mounting a rainshower head on a typical angled arm coming out of the wall? You might not get good water flow out of that.

I have installed in-the-wall plumbing so that a rainshower head could come out of the ceiling in a standard tub/shower surround. The setups have had the standard wall tub filler and wall shower valve setup, I've usually installed a diverter valve so the water could come out of the wall shower head or the overhead rainshower head.

Nothing ghastly about that at all.

I would not have just a rainshower head as your only head. As other have mentioned, it's a very gentle flow of water, and does not do a good job of penetrating hair to rinse out shampoo.

Mongo


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

I agree with nclakehouse. I put a rainhead in my new shower and I don't care for it much. It really is like trying to rinse the soap out of your hair by standing in the rain. Unless you combine it with the handheld you will be there all day. Also, you can't take a shower without getting your hair wet. So when you want to keep your hair dry it gets wet, and when you want it to get wet it doesn't get very wet.

Thank goodness I put in the metal handheld along with it. I love that thing.


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

This is timely for me, as I am about to make shower hardware decisions. We are doing a complete renovation of a 5' x 5'6" full bath. I've posted before, asking for advice about very narrow tubs (the one there now is 28" wide and, later, about long, narrow stand-up showers. I finally decided today not to put in a tub, but to have a tiled shower, about 30-32" wide and up to 5' long.

I've never understood the appeal of a rainshower head and now, reading this thread, I see the disadvantages, summed up beautifully by astrobotanist. Why do people like them so much?


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

When I thought over all this good advice I decided not to use the rain shower in the master bath. I realized we would use it a few times and then the thrill would be gone. That's a lot of money for a few thrills. But we are going to put it in the guest bath that the grandchildren will use in addition to the regular handshower. Many children are afraid of strong showers and I think of this as just a fun extra for the visitors that they might not have a home.


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

Marisany -- see Mongo's comment. The key to avoiding astrobotanist's problem is to install a diverter valve so you can CHOOSE whether the water is going to the handheld or the rainshower. That is my setup, and personally, I love it! I'm bald, so the rainshower shampoo thing is not a problem. It is for my girlfriend, but the handheld solves all problems! I had always been a high-pressure shower devotee, but the rainshower is sooooo relaxing. That is why people like them. It is gentle flow, and in a walk-in shower makes it seem like you're bathing outside.


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

Frankly, I'm a little baffled by the negative comments about rainshower heads. I have one in my new bathroom and the water pressure is great - I can wash and rinse my hair just as quickly as I always have using a pretty good "traditional" shower head. Ours is a Brizo. I guess my point is, I wouldn't write them off entirely.

We also have a hand held on a slider bar, along with a diverter valve that lets us choose whether to use just the rainshower, just the handheld, or both at the same time. Wonderful set-up - love it!


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

I see - the idea is to have a rainshower and a handheld that can be fixed in place (on a bar?) so that a traditional shower is available. I guess I will have to consider this. (This small bathroom is forcing me to make an incredible number of decisions - I don't know what I'd do without this forum!)

I am wondering whether a rainshower causes less splashing out of the shower. I am thinking of trying to do a "Shower Guard" fixed glass panel enclosing only part of my long, narrow step-in shower, with the open part providing the entrance. This way, I can avoid the dreaded sliding doors with tracks. I don't really have room for a door that opens. I'm thinking that if I use a rainshower, I might need a shorter Shower Guard. Of course, I would also have the handheld, so maybe this won't make a difference?


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

flseadog - well I have no advice since I'm just trying to figure out what to do with my small bathroom that will have a tub/shower combo. But I'll sure be interested to hear what you end up doing because you're raising all kinds of the same questions I've been pondering.


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RE: hand held and rain shower questions

Hi. I'm new to this forum but I'm amazed at all the great information that I've already gotten from all of you. Just starting to plan a master bath renovation. Could any of you help with this?

I was so excited when I saw someone post that they had a Brizo hand held shower head in their bath! I just was in a store today and selected Brizo polished Nickel for the double shower. So it will be a handheld (3 water flow positions) on the pole with a thermostatic control that I will be using as an everyday shower. The other end of the shower will be the Brizo 3 position Raincan Showerhead (which has full spray, rain and massage features)and another thermostatic control for my husband. We currently have old Delta faucets in this shower. Since the tile is being redone it seems that this shouldn't be difficult to put in for a plumber. Does anyone have any experience with these showerheads? How is the multifunction on both these showheads? I would hate to buy them and then end up hating them. It's hard when you can't try them out.

Now the other faucets in the bathroom (2 vanity faucets and 1 Roman Tub Faucet with a handheld) will probably be Restoration Hardware Compaign also in polished nickel. I just fell in love with them and can't find anything else in that style. I saw on this site that they are made by Newport Brass which is a good company but I don't get the impression that if there was a problem it would be easy to get parts or help. Their website is terribly for getting specific information and Restoration Hardware is not too good either. The problem is that the Roman Tub faucets from Restoration Hardware do not come with a handheld so I think I have to order it from Newport Brass and then hope it will be compatible. I need to call them tomorrow. I also, read on this site that plumbers don't like installing these so that scares me a little.
Anybody with any experience with any of this?


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Help with Brizo shower & Restoration Hardware faucets!

Hi. I'm new to this forum but I'm amazed at all the great information that I've already gotten from all of you. Just starting to plan a master bath renovation. Could any of you help with this?
I was so excited when I saw someone post that they had a Brizo hand held shower head in their bath! I just was in a store today and selected Brizo polished Nickel for the double shower. So it will be a handheld (3 water flow positions) on the pole with a thermostatic control that I will be using as an everyday shower. The other end of the shower will be the Brizo 3 position Raincan Showerhead (which has full spray, rain and massage features)and another thermostatic control for my husband. We currently have old Delta faucets in this shower. Since the tile is being redone it seems that this shouldn't be difficult to put in for a plumber. Does anyone have any experience with these showerheads? How is the multifunction on both these showheads? I would hate to buy them and then end up hating them. It's hard when you can't try them out.

Now the other faucets in the bathroom (2 vanity faucets and 1 Roman Tub Faucet with a handheld) will probably be Restoration Hardware Compaign also in polished nickel. I just fell in love with them and can't find anything else in that style. I saw on this site that they are made by Newport Brass which is a good company but I don't get the impression that if there was a problem it would be easy to get parts or help. Their website is terribly for getting specific information and Restoration Hardware is not too good either. The problem is that the Roman Tub faucets from Restoration Hardware do not come with a handheld so I think I have to order it from Newport Brass and then hope it will be compatible. I need to call them tomorrow. I also, read on this site that plumbers don't like installing these so that scares me a little.
Anybody with any experience with any of this?


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