If you’re now ready to be a fully-fledged home handyman, then one of the things you need to learn about is the ins and outs of your shower valve height.
It’s also important if you’re trying to fix your bathroom fixtures yourself to save on plumbing costs.
So what’s the perfect shower valve height, really?
If you’re in a hurry, let me tell you that the standard height for shower valves is 30 to 50 inches above the floor.
For bathtub shower units, it’s around 28 inches from the shower floor, and if you’re using a standing shower, it’s 48 to 50 inches above the floor.
But that’s not all.
There are a few other things to consider, such as your shower stall size, shower head, and other shower fittings, amongst other things.
The upshot is – if you want to learn more so you can be your own hands-on plumber, then continue reading.
Table of Contents
What Is A Shower Valve?
Most people see the shower valve as a mere switch to turn the water flow and temperature on and off. But it plays a bigger role than that.
Shower valves are additions or parts of the traditional twisting knob in a shower setup.
Basically, a shower valve has two main functions. The first one is controlling the pressure of the water in your shower. The second one is regulating the water’s temperature.
In case you’re wondering…
…what does a shower valve look like? Well, some shower valves are exposed, and some are hidden within the shower wall.
The most common shower valve installation is the concealed one, which you might probably have too. In a concealed valve, you’ll only see the knobs as the pipes with the whole system are within the wall.
On the other hand, an exposed shower valve has the whole system out on the wall. You’ll usually see it above the shower head.
…shower valves may have one to three knobs for shower controls. These knobs direct the water to where it’s supposed to go.
A single-knob shower valve usually controls the warmness and the coldness of the water with a 180-degree turn.
Meanwhile, the more modern and popular three-knob shower valve has one knob for low temperature and another for high temperature. The third knob is for water pressure control.
Now, you might notice…
…that there are times when the water feels too hot or too cold when you first twist the knob. This is simply because the water that comes from your shower head comes from the very same source from which water for the sink faucet, flush, and other bathroom waters come.
If you want to prevent such issues, you need to know the shower valve types first.
Types of Shower Valve
This type of valve might just be the most modern innovation among the shower controls today. And it’s one of the most convenient too.
There are different types of diverter valves, namely three-valve diverter, two-valve diverter, and tee valve.
A tee valve has a single handle that simply directs the water to your chosen outlet. Most tee valves also let you control temperature, and they’re mostly seen in budget hotels.
…a two-valve diverter has two knobs. The first knob is for temperature control, while the other is for diverting the water to the outlets.
And lastly, you have the three-valve diverter.
It’s not so different from the two-valve diverter, aside from having separate knobs for each temperature.
The other knob is for diverting the water to different outlets, which makes three knobs.
Thermostatic valves are among the most intuitive and useful types of valves today. Basically, it has two handles; the first is for temperature control, and the second is for pressure regulation.
But that’s not all.
A thermostatic valve usually comes with an insert – usually wax or any other thermosensitive material- that it uses to detect and control the water temperature.
These inserts usually work to expand once they reach the desired heat, causing the water to be restricted just right.
This is done to have the right balance between temperature and water volume. This way, you also get to have complete control of your shower temperature and can avoid scalding.
Thermostatic valves are also often the most expensive valves on the market.
Pressure Balancing Valves
Also called PB valves, they’re the most common shower valve type and the cheapest ones.
PBS automatically manages the balance of water pressure between hot and cold water.
Just like the thermostatic valve, a pressure-balancing valve can also automatically sense the current water pressure depending on the water’s temperature.
The valve does this while the water gets through the whole plumbing system.
In case you didn’t know…
…most homes today use pressure-balancing shower valves. It can also be used with faucets with single handles for both water temperature and pressure.
Aside from this, PBs are also considered the industry standard.
Widely considered the predecessor of the modern pressure-balancing valve and thermostatic valve, a mixing shower valve is one of the oldest types and hence, usually found in old houses.
What it does is: it simply mixes cold and hot water before sending it off to the water outlet, such as your shower head.
There’s a downside to this…
…as mixing valve users know, it can’t really regulate water temperature as well as the first three types. As a result, there’s a fat chance of scalding or other accidents.
Because of this, most buildings and areas don’t allow the installation of a mixing shower valve.
Yet another innovative shower valve type, transfer valves, allow you to enjoy your shower water from different outlets simultaneously.
With a transfer shower valve, you can use both your handheld showerhead and fixed shower head without having to turn one of them off.
…some really modern transfer valve designs are also digital to help you get the exact setting you want without spending too much time with the mixers and the knobs.
Why Does Shower Valve Height Matter?
For some homeowners, a shower valve is just a minor detail that doesn’t require much consideration. So just imagine how little thought is given to a shower valve’s height.
That being said…
…shower valves’ height does matter as much as shower heads’.
If your valve is too low, it would be uncomfortable, especially after using it for a long time. And if it’s too high, it would be too inconvenient to reach up just to adjust the shower water constantly.
Aside from that…
… it’s not only merely uncomfortable but completely unsafe, too. This is important to be taken note of, especially if you have children at home.
Toddlers and teenagers who’d attempt to reach for a shower valve that’s installed way too high up could end up in an accident or being injured as shower stalls are tricky places to take chances in.
Aside from children, a well-placed shower valve can also make life much easier for pet owners. Bathing a pet is a challenging affair, as I know it all too well.
The best shower valve that’s installed in an easily-accessed location would keep you from the inconvenience of reaching out trying to adjust the shower water while keeping your jumpy dog from running away dripping wet.
But all of these aside…
…a shower valve’s height matters. This is especially true if you live in an apartment complex or a condominium where there’s usually a code or rule for installing bathroom and shower fixtures such as the shower valve.
What Is A Shower Head? Is It Relative To Shower Valve Height?
Even today, showerheads and shower valves are still being mistaken for each other. If you’re wondering, the difference is that while the shower valve is a plumbing fixture, a showerhead is hardware.
Wherein shower valves regulate the temperature, pressure, and direction of the shower water before coming out of the outlet, the showerhead itself is an outlet for the water.
Like the shower valve, you can also customize the showerhead according to your preference.
Furthermore – you can opt for a shower head for low water pressure.
Moreover, there are many types of showerheads on the market today, with various spray modes to choose from.
Now comes the burning question…
…is the showerhead relative to the shower valve? And if it is, how does a showerhead affect the valve’s performance?
Showerheads can usually be bought in a three-piece shower system along with the valve and widespread bathroom faucet.
That being said, that makes the showerhead very relevant to your valve.
There are many types of showerheads on the market today, and most of them are compatible with most shower pipes.
In addition to this…
…there are even showerheads that can control water temperature and pressure, among other things!
Standard Shower Valve Height
If you want to renovate your shower stall or shower pan by the book – the standard shower valve height is between 28 inches to 48 inches, depending on the setup of your shower area.
This height range is considered the industry standard because it’s the safest for family members.
It can also accommodate most heights, so suffice to say, it’s the most comfortable height range for a shower valve.
Breaking it down…
…the ideal valve height for shower stalls is around 48 inches. With this height, anyone will be able to reach the valve without having to duck uncomfortably or stretch up and risk slipping on the bathroom floor.
As for the faucets in a stall, they’re always better installed at an equal level with the valve.
The ideal shower valve height is 28 inches for bathtub shower units, while the showerhead is way higher up at 70 to 72 inches from the floor or tub floor.
It’s important to note that in a bathtub, the shower valve is placed lower from the floor because it should be able to connect to the tub tap and the bathtub itself.
Distance Between Fittings
So why are we talking about shower fittings aside from shower valves? It’s because their distance from each other can also affect the overall performance of your shower system.
Okay then, what’s the ideal distance between shower fittings?
For a shower stall where the valve height is supposedly set at 48 inches above the floor (standard shower valve height), the showerhead should be at around 72 inches to 80 inches.
Aside from that, there should also be a distance between the pipes, and it’s around 24 inches.
How about bathtubs?
The valve should be around 28 inches from the floor and the head around 72 inches to accommodate tub users.
The space between the fittings for tubs is much greater at around 44 inches, as there’s more space between the valve and the showerhead than the shower stall setting.
But to make it simpler…
…you can always measure half of the distance between the showerhead and the valve, though it might depend on the setting and situation.
There are also height and distance codes to refer to, such as one from the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act Shower Valve Measurements Requirements.
How Far Should Shower Valves Stick Out From Wall?
The average and the most recommendable distance between the wall and the tip of a shower valve is over three ¾ inches from the wall with a one ¼ inch gap between the wall plate and the handle’s cover.
Do note that we’re talking about a finished wall.
Also, in addition to that…
…if you have a tub, its spout should be installed with a nipple with ⅜ inches to ¾” distance from the wall.
Taking Your Family’s Height Into Account When Choosing Shower Valve Height
Now, if your family is blessed with good genes and you have people over 6 feet in height at home, then the standard shower valve and head height will most probably not be comfortable to them!
So how do you make it comfortable for everyone?
If you’re going to add more height to your shower valve, make sure to consider the people at home who are under 5 feet, too. Don’t add too much, just one or two points while measuring it against everyone’s heights along the way to make sure nothing has the disadvantage.
On the other hand…
…if everyone is more or less than 5 feet tall, then the standard 48 inches from the floor would be good, especially if you have children who also like to use the shower.
But if you want the best of both worlds, installing an adjustable height shower valve is the priciest yet best solution.
Adjustable height shower valves let you set it to whatever feels most comfortable for the current user, and it can even be adjusted anytime you want to.
Shower Valve Connection Types
One prevalent issue that we’ve noticed with most homeowners is the connection types. Some people think that they’ve bought a defective valve (or other shower fixtures) because it just won’t stick to the wall!
The thing is…
…shower valves, just like other bathroom and shower features, come in different connections. It’s recommendable that you make yourself familiar with them first before choosing your own shower fixtures.
That goes especially important if you don’t want to rely on your plumber’s choice. Below are different connection types that you have to remember and consider first before choosing a shower valve.
- CC- CC Means copper connection. It will require you or your plumber to solder it into the pipe directly. Suffice to say, it’s not very convenient, but it’s strong.
- PEX- This is the more recent and modern connection type after the CC connection. PEX is a plastic connection, so it’s widely favored for being rust- and corrosion-proof. It’s also flexible and easier to install.
- IPS- IPS stands for iron pipe straight. It’s a threaded connection mostly seen on shower valves. Quite like the CC connection, you’d have to attach an adapter first before soldering it to the copper pipe.
Additional Things to Consider Before Installing a Shower Valve
1. Consider how many ports you will have
Aside from the height and distance, you also have to consider the number of ports or outlets you’ll have. And make sure to inform your plumber about it before installing anything.
In case you didn’t know…
…there are three or 4-port valves for the shower. Now, if you’ve got a 4-port shower valve and you need just three, your plumber can always reduce it. But if you have only a 3-port valve, you’ll need another one if you have a tub that needs one for the tub’s spout.
2. Talk to your plumber
Don’t ever skip talking and consulting with your plumber to avoid pitfalls due to miscommunication.
Every homeowner has their own unique needs, and your shower area won’t ever feel at home for everyone in the family if you won’t communicate your needs and preferences to your plumber.
Aside from that…
…you can also let the plumber look first and then talk about the fixtures to be installed- primarily if your plumber is used to providing their own institutions. You should know what they’re putting in your home, too.
3. Evaluate your need to install a shower valve
Hot take: Just because you feel like it doesn’t mean you really need it.
What I mean is there are instances when you don’t really need a new shower valve, and there are instances when you really have to get a new one.
This is why consulting with a plumber is the best first step to take so you’d know right away what you’ll need for your project.
As a matter of fact…
…there are cases when the plumber deems it better to just let the old valve be. If this is the case, make sure to do your assignment and find out the valve’s brand and model so you can provide the right or compatible trim for it.
Now, some plumbers opt to provide the shower valve themselves. Still, don’t forget to do your research! It’s always better to be informed and educated for your peace of mind.
And lastly, make sure that the valve you’re planning on keeping is up to the local building codes so it’s safe for everyone.
Conclusion: Shower Valve Height
Truth to be told, a shower valve isn’t something most people give thought to daily.
As far as most homeowners go, it’s just an unnoticeable bathroom fixture until it stops working or malfunctions.
And once it does…
…all hell could break loose at home, including everyone’s mood that relies on a good morning shower to start the day!
If your shower valve is not to blame, one thing’s for sure the best high pressure shower head will reinvent your showering experience.
But then, that’s why it’s essential to start it right and wise. Have a good talk to the plumber before getting anything done. Know your fixtures and do your research before anything.
And after all these preparations, you can rest assured that even you will be able to handle any issues that will come your way at home – that is if anything comes up!