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Shower Systems

June 30, 2014

Shower Systems

A Custom Shower System in your home is the ultimate luxury experience. Waking up every day to a full body Shower Faucet System will invigorate you and get you ready to face the day head on. While having a complete Shower System is great, putting one together can be a real headache. At FaucetList.com we have used our more than 40 years' experience in the plumbing industry to write this guide designed to teach you everything you need to know to build your own luxury Shower. If you want to jump right in and view some pre-built systems, select a finish below, otherwise read on and we'll try our best to give you all the information you need to come up with your own shower design ideas! If you like one of the pre-built systems but want to make a substitution or small change, make sure to Contact us! We can help you order exactly what you want so don't be shy!

Browse Delta Shower Systems by Finish:

How to Build a Custom Shower System

Full Custom Shower Systems

Have you ever wanted a Custom Full Body Shower System? Building your own Luxury Shower is easier than you think! Read this guide to learn how to create a Delta Shower System. We will go through the components required for building a complete Shower System by Delta. As an industry leader, Delta's Top Rated Custom Showers are some of the best on the market today. If you wish to view some pre-built systems for inspiration, check out some Delta Shower System Packages we have already put together. We have configured all our pre-built Shower Systems based on our most popular selling combinations. They have been created with matching finish and style components and have been expertly optimized to provide good water pressure, an always important factor when creating a Custom Shower.

We have over 40 years of experience in the plumbing industry and have worked with Shower Systems made by many different manufacturers. Delta is consistently a customer and contractor favorite. Their Systems are easy to install, look great, and are very reasonably priced. Not only that, Delta makes it very easy to switch the style if in the future you ever decide to change your bathroom decor. With their system of universal rough-in valves, it is easy to switch the Trim Kit and change the finish or style of your shower without going into the wall. After you have browsed the pre-built packages and get an idea about what is possible you should read on to learn about customizing a system of your own!

So what separates the best Shower Systems from those that are just ok? Well quality is a huge factor. Shower Systems are not cheap and if you go through all the trouble to install one, you should definitely purchase Shower System Hardware that will last. With the right Shower Hardware your System can last for life. Delta products all include a lifetime manufacturer's warranty on both the operation of the parts AS WELL as on the finish. Warranties on finish are rather rare in this industry which is one reason we really like Delta. Also important is style. Delta offers a wide range of popular collections in many great finishes, perfect for creating a contemporary or traditional style Shower System.

Most Popular Delta Collections

The Parts of a Shower System

So let's talk a little about the parts that make up a Shower System. In general you can break things down into 3 groups. You have the On/Off Control Handle, the Diverter, and the Peripheral Shower Sprays. It's helpful to think about a Shower System this way so you can build one properly. Given all the options and choices, it's best to simplify things first.

Group 1: The Shower On/Off Control

The Shower Control Handle is what you use to turn the water on and off. But what's going on behind the scenes? Behind the Shower Handle is the Shower rough-in Valve. The rough-in valve is sometimes referred to as a mixing valve since that is what it does. You feed the hot and cold water lines into the Shower Valve (which is installed inside the wall) and the valve mixes that water to a pre-set warm temperature. This warm water will eventually be the water that sprays out at you when you take a shower. Shower Controls take on many different forms but essentially they all do the same thing: Allow you to turn on the water and set it to your desired temperature.

Examples of On/Off Shower Controls Trim Kits

A Shower Control is made up of the Rough-in Valve (the part that installs in the wall mentioned above) and the Trim Kit. The Trim Kit is the part you actually see. It consists of the finished Handle and Shower Plate. Delta Showers all utilize the same universal mixing valve. It is the Cartridge, found in the Trim Kit that will change the way your Shower functions. In Delta Showers it is the cartridge that ultimately determines the flow rate and the water output of the shower. When building a shower system the most important thing to be aware of is the WATER OUTPUT. If you want decent water pressure you will need to consider whether your Shower Valve and Trim Kit are able to put out enough water to power all your Peripheral Shower Sprays.

The Rough-in Valve

To build a Shower System you will only want to consider starting with Delta's highest-flow rough-in Valve. This valve is universal (for Delta) and will work with all Delta Trim Kits. The High-Flow Valve is pictured on the right.

Next you need to select a suitable Trim Kit. Depending on how many Peripheral Shower Sprays you want, this step also requires some consideration. Delta Shower Control Trim Kits include a cartridge which as mentioned above, factors into water output. Delta indicates which cartridge is included with a particular trim kit by a series number. The highest output will come from the 17T Series Trim Kits which have a thermostatic cartridge. If you plan to create a Shower System with a 6-Setting Diverter (discussed below) we highly recommend you start with a 17T Series Trim Kit. For systems created with a 3-Setting Diverter you can also choose a 14 Series Trim Kit or a 17 (No "T") Series trim kit. Here's a list of the Water Output for each series.

  • 17T Series: 8.53 GPM at 80 PSI
  • 17 Series: 6.98 GPM at 80 PSI
  • 14 Series: 7.96 GPM at 80 PSI

PSI (pounds per square inch) is a unit of measure that represents the water pressure of your home. This is not controlled by the Shower System, this is your home's innate water pressure from the lines connected to the city water supply.

GPM (gallons per minute) represents how much water your Shower System will actually put out. When factoring in what Peripheral Shower Sprays you can use, you need to look at the total GPM available (consult the list above) and then look at how many GPM's are used by each individual Spray. You need to keep the total number of GPMs used under the total number of GPM's available if you want your Shower to spray with high enough pressure.

In our opinion, the Delta 17T series Trim Kit cartridge really is best for creating a functional Thermostatic Shower System. It puts out the most water and allows you the most flexibility when choosing you Shower System Hardware. The downside of the Thermostatic Shower System 17T Trim Kit is that it is the most expensive. If you look through our existing Shower Design Ideas you will see that several of our packages are built with the 14 and 17 series shower controls. Using our product knowledge we have configured these systems to make sure that the water pressure is adequate and get the overall price down a bit.

Group 2: The Diverter Control

What makes a Shower System a little different from a standard shower is that you don't only have one Shower Head. Normally all you need to do is run a pipe up from the Shower Valve to the Showerhead and the water sprays right out. With a Shower System however, you need to take this warm water mixture and send it to several different Peripheral Shower Sprays. This necessitates a diverter.

A diverter is used in conjunction with your Shower Control Handle. The mixed water from the Shower Valve runs up into the Diverter. The diverter then diverts the water to your Shower Head, Body Sprays, Handheld Shower, Ceiling Mount Shower, Shower Body Spray Plate, or whatever other Peripheral Shower Systems you choose. You turn the water on with the on/off handle, then decide where it comes out with the diverter.

The diverter does not add pressure so it is important that the water pressure has already been dealt with by the Shower Control.

The Shower Diverter is also made up of a Trim Kit (the part you see) and a Rough-in Valve (the part in the wall). All Delta Diverters us the same valve. Take a look at the valve here: Delta Diverter Rough-in Valve.

Delta offers Diverters that match the style of their Shower Controls. Once you select your Shower Control it will be easy to find the matching Diverter. However, you will have to consider one additional thing with regards to Diverters. Delta makes two different Diverters: A six-setting Diverter and a three-setting Diverter.

Examples of 6 Setting Diverter Trim Kits

With the 6 setting diverter you will be able to have 3 separate shower jets (note: Body Sprays function together as 1 shower jet). The Diverter Valve has 4 ports. One port is used as an intake for the mixed warm water from the Shower Valve. The other 3 ports are for sending water to your peripheral shower systems. Your plumber will run pipe from the open diverter ports in the wall and out where desired.

The 6 setting diverter allows you to power any 2 shower sprays at the same time or any of the shower sprays individually. So for example, if you had a normal showerhead, a ceiling mount showerhead, and 3 body sprays, you could control them in the following way.

  • Option 1: Just the Normal Showerhead
  • Option 2: Just the Ceiling Mount Shower
  • Option 3: Just the (3) Body Sprays (these will all be plumbed to one port)
  • Option 4: The Normal Showerhead as well as the Ceiling Mount Showerhead
  • Option 5: The Normal Showerhead as well as the Body Sprays
  • Option 6: The Ceiling Mount Showerhead as well as the Body Sprays

With the 3 Setting diverter you can have 2 Shower sprays. You will be able to have them both turned on at the same time or have either turned on individually.

Examples of 3 Setting Diverter Trim Kits

So for example, if you have a configuration with a Showerhead and a Handheld Shower, here are your options:

Now that you see how the diverter works you will be able to start picking your peripheral shower spray systems. Keep in mind the GPM (Gallons per Minute) restrictions when making you choices. You want to be able to have a good high pressure shower experience and nobody enjoys a weak spray!

Group 3: Peripheral Shower Spray Systems

With the first two groups (the Shower Control and Diverter) you ultimately have less control. You need to have 1 Shower Control and 1 Diverter no matter what. Circumstances somewhat dictate which Diverter and Shower Control you may choose. Of course you can select a finish and a style for these controls but where you are really able to start customizing is when you start adding the different Shower Jet System Sprays.

Examples of Shower System Peripheral Sprays

Remember, if you go with a 3-setting diverter you get to choose any 2 shower spray systems. If you go with a 6-setting diverter you get to choose any 3 shower spray systems. To create the best full body luxury Shower System you can select from the various options below. Some of the peripheral systems also have component parts (such as shower arms and shower flanges) required so make sure you order everything in order to have a complete system.

Wall Mount Body Sprays, Handheld Showers, Ceiling Mount Shower Heads, Wall Mount Shower Heads, and Body Spray Plates. There are a wide range of style options when it comes to each of these choices. Large Ceiling Mount Shower Heads can create Rain Shower Systems. There are Modern Square Showerheads and Square Handheld Showers for creating Contemporary Modern Shower Systems. There are Bell Shaped Showerheads with curved Shower arms available for creating luxury Traditional Shower Systems.

More Examples of Shower System Sprays

The Diverter will allow you to create a Dual Shower Head System. A Multi Head Shower can be a very luxurious experience. A Shower Jets System spraying you from all angles can be the perfect way to start your day. You could also have Rainfall Shower System with a Ceiling Mount Showerhead and a few body jets. The Shower design ideas are nearly endless. The great thing about a Custom Shower is you can create the best Shower System for you!

After you have made your choice of peripheral shower system sprays, you can begin to think about placement. Before purchasing you may want to measure your available space and check to make sure you have chosen fixtures that will work well with it. Please consult the image to the left and the explanation below.

A Few Technical Details

Shower System Placement Guide

User height is one of the most important considerations when planning a Custom Shower. Remember that all users should be considered–including children or seated bathers. If there is a great difference in height between users you may want to include a separate volume control for the highest body spray so that it can be turned off without having to turn off all of the body sprays.

If using a bench, you may want a body spray positioned to hit you in the lower back when sitting.

To encompass your body with water, position body sprays on multiple shower walls.

  • A. The diverter control should be easily accessible for all users. Typically it is just above or below the shower valve, but it can be set just inside the shower door for easy access.
  • B. The shower valve should be placed about waist high, which is approximately 36" from the floor of the shower.
  • C. The lowest body spray is usually placed at knee or thigh height.
  • D. The middle body spray is usually placed at hip or waist level.
  • E. The highest body spray is usually placed at shoulder or back height.
  • F. The showerhead should be installed so that it is above the head of the tallest user, but still within reach of the shortest user. Ideally, the tallest user should not have to crouch or duck under the shower head to rinse his hair, while the shorter user should be able to manually adjust the spray modes of the shower head.

Examples of Shower Systems

A Final Note about Water Consumption

Shower Systems are designed to operate in an environment where there is plenty of water. Shower Systems use more water than a standard shower and therefore there are some regulations you should be aware of. In certain states, Shower Systems will not meet local plumbing code. If you are building a new home and need to pass inspection, you should consult your local plumbing code to find out if there are any restrictions on shower head water output. For those living in California, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, and some areas of New York this is particularly important as low-flow regulations have set standards that a Shower Full System may not comply with. Unfortunately as regulations vary significantly from place to place (and sometimes change) we can't offer you any information on the local code in your region - you will have to check on that yourself.

Examples of Shower Systems

Shower Faucet System Recap

It's a lot to take in but ultimately not extremely difficult. In fact building a shower system can even be fun! Here's the long and short. You need a Shower Control (with Valve), a Shower Diverter (with Valve), and you need to choose the Peripheral Shower Systems you want to go with them. You can always browse our Pre-Built Shower Faucet Systems which are expertly optimized to make things easy. At FaucetList.com we have over 40 years' experience in the plumbing industry and it is our goal to make ordering a shower system easy! We have a large selection so you might be able to find that your perfect Shower System has already been built!

If you have questions we are here to help! Feel free to call 1-855-530-5222 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Pacific or Contact us!

A few working examples of Shower Systems

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Easy Install Shower Systems

In addition to offering many great full custom shower systems we have also custom designed our line of Easy Install Shower Systems. While they may lack some of the functionality of a full custom shower system, an Easy Install Shower System provides many of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost. In most cases, installing an Easy Install Shower System is the about same amount of work as installing a normal shower. If you already have a Delta valve in your wall it's even easier still! Another added benefit is that an Easy Install Shower System can include a tub spout. This is not the case with a full custom shower system. Click the link to read more about Easy Install Shower Systems.

Examples of Easy Install Shower Systems


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