Simple Stand-Alone Shower Installation Tips

Plumbing A Stand-alone Shower

The plumbing for a stand-alone shower is simpler than that for a bathtub/shower, naturally:  There’s no line running down to a bathtub spout.  There’s just a hot and cold supply line running to the valve and a pipe running up to the shower arm and showerhead.  The valve may use one or two handles to adjust the temperature.

The metal escutcheons that cover shower valves tend to be large so that you will have access to the plumbing lines in case repairs are needed.  Newer valves use smaller escutcheons and assume either that you have an access panel behind the shower or that you’ll remove the wall covering if repairs are necessary.

escutcheons: (-skchn) a decorative plate that surrounds a faucet in a bathtub or shower

free stand alone shower unitA freestanding shower unit can be installed over nearly any floor drain without need for supporting wall structure.

According to the northern California plumbing experts, these units includes four sides, a door and a floor that, when installed properly, does not require any walls to support the shower stall.  This makes it an ideal choice for adding a shower to basements or garages, where a floor drain is already in place. It’s also a great choice for job sites or industrial applications where a shower stall may be required for safety purposes, since the unit can easily be assembled or moved if needed.

Plumbing Pro Tips to Share

Tip #1  Hold the center panel vertically and attach a corner lock strip to one long edge of the panel. Tap the lock strip into place with a hammer. Repeat with the lock strip on the opposite side of the panel.

Tip #2  Attach one side panel to one of the lock strips you already attached to the center panel. Then, attach a door strip to the opposite end of the panel. Repeat with the panel on the opposite side.

Tip #3  Position the shower base over the drain hole in the floor. Place a bead of tub and tile caulk into the groove surrounding the base unit. Then, position the walls of the shower unit into the groove and tap them into place using a hammer. Attach the top rails to the enclosure to give strength to the structure.

Tip #4  Install the shower safety rails and soap shelf into the enclosure using the bolts and screws through the pre-drilled holes. Tighten the screws using an open-end wrench.

Tip #5  Mark the hole locations for the shower head pipe, and the hot and cold water handles, on the outside of the shower unit using a pencil. Move the shower unit away from the pipes. Drill the two handle holes using a 1-inch bit and a power drill, and the shower head pipe hole using a 1.25-inch bit.

Tip #6  Slide the unit back into position, then connect the shower faucet handle units and the shower head extension, with the escutcheons to cover the holes. Then, attach the shower head to the extension and attach the drain cover to the base of the shower unit. Turn on the water and test for leaks.

Tip #7  Attach the door to the door hinges on the door strip. Open and close the door a few times to ensure that it is aligned properly.

PLUMBING TRADE SECRET: Odds are that you’ll need to install a support cleat to span the wall studs and create a mounting platform for attaching the new plumbing.  The thickness of this cleat will depend on the finished position of the valve.

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