Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The Shower To Beat
When you are doing things yourself, you can opt to put in some better stuff than you might normally have because you don't have to pay someone to do it for you. You save on labor and product markup and that equates to quite a bit of money. So when my wife mentioned that she wanted one of those fancy smancy showers that she sees in her magazines, I obliged.
It was harder than I thought to even buy the parts for this project. There weren't any stores around here that carried them except for one which only dealt with licensed plumbers. The other stores carried the individual pieces but no one who knew which of those pieces I needed. So in the end I went with Moen brand stuff which is the only one that had a fairly nice shower designer program on their website. It got me the main numbers of everything I needed and all I had to do was go through and make sure they all had the same finish since it didn't allow you to select it and gave you a hodge podge of different ones on the end printout. I ordered them and have been looking at a pile of boxes near my bedside for the last couple months.
I had things all mapped out where I wanted them until I chickened out at the last minute and paid for a plumber to do the rough installation. It was money well spent because it saved me numerous trips to the hardware store for all the proper fittings and he advised me to do the layout above instead of the one I wanted. Originally I had the body sprays in a pattern above handles which have openings through the tile and thus water dripping from the body sprays would always be dripping on the handles and inviting leaks if not sealed up properly. He advised me to have them separate from the handles and thus we came up with the configuration you see above.
The upper left handle with the round trim controls the shower head. The lower left handle with the round trim controls the body sprays. The two round heads with the square trim in the middle are the body spray and they have adjustable heads that allow you to move them around 15 or 20 degrees in any direction. The far right handle with the square trim is a thermostatic valve that doesn't control water flow. It only controls the water temperature so that no matter what is happening elsewhere in the house with water pressures, you have the same consistent water temperature for the shower. Once you find your ideal temperature, you just set it and leave it there.
I haven't yet had a chance to test the temperature part of it yet because I'm currently waiting for caulking to dry first and I don't have a shower door installed yet. I have one ordered but it has yet to arrive. Once that happens, I might have to get naked and hop in there with a screwdriver for awhile to get the upper and lower temperature limits set right and then that project is done. Sorry for the graphic imagery.
There are only two problems with the shower that I've found. The first is that the showerhead doesn't swivel as much as I thought it would and thus it sprays against the back wall in that position which is all the way down. So I have to buy another showerhead arm that has more of an angle to it so I can direct it down toward the middle of the shower. The second problem and the one where there isn't really a good solution is that in all my measuring and tiling, I still ended up with a low spot right next to the drain instead of the drain itself. I could bust up that section of tile, scrape out the grout, build it up with more grout and replace the tile but I won't. It will just be a lasting reminder of how much money I saved by doing it myself and as my friend Ron says, it just adds character.
Now onward to the garage where I am going to start building the vanity. I'm excited to be out in fresh air and on my feet for a change instead of the other way around.