I’ve seen how first-time homeowners suffer from plumbing and tiling problems due to improper repairs to showers. Attempting shower installations without understanding the roles of each component can lead to leaks, clogs, or other hazardous malfunctions down the line. I’m explaining the parts of a shower so you can assemble showers correctly.
From supply and drain piping to control valves and shower heads to enclosures and accessories like shelves, understanding how the mechanical and decorative shower parts interact is key. Water from bath showers makes direct contact with your skin, so it’s essential that the water is safe for use.
When you’re about to embark on such a project, it helps to understand the different parts of a shower. Below is my detailed plumbing diagram and description of each part. You might recognize some of the parts from a bathtub, along with some that are unique to showers.
The shower plumbing mainly relies on interconnected pipes that regulate the water supply. The fittings consist of the hot and cold water supply lines.
- Drain pipe: A shower drain pipe is a large long pipe that transports the sewage and gray water from the house.
- Shower diverter pipe: It diverts water so it flows out of the shower head or other outlets instead of the bathtub faucet. I usually choose between plastic, galvanized iron, or copper.
- Waste outlet pipe: The pipe that transports and removes sewage and gray water from the house.
- Water supply pipe: This pipe transports clean, fresh water from the main water.
Valves, Drains, and Traps
Connected to the shower base, the drainage system removes the used water from the shower. The valve, drain, and trap systems prevent water buildup and damage to your shower.
- Diverter valve: Found behind the faucet, the diverter valve is responsible for controlling the water flow. Hot and cold water lines connect here before going to the shower head or the tub spout.
- Drain: The plumbing fixture on the bathroom floor carries away liquid waste using your home’s drainage system.
- Shower diverter: Typically a knob or lever mounted on the shower wall, the shower diverter lets you switch the water flow between different outlets. When used, the diverter redirects the water from the tub spout to the shower head.
- Shower trap: A plumbing fixture that ensures the bathroom shower is drain-free.
- Shut-off valve: Regulates water flow through the shower valve, piping system, and drain.
The main shower system adjusts the water pressure. This is also where the hot water supply line connects to the water heater. Meanwhile, the cold water supply line connects directly to the main water line.
- Faucet set: Linked to the diverter valve, the faucet enables you to turn the water on or off. It also lets you set the temperature between hot and cold.
- Hand shower: The type of shower connected by a flexible hose and secured into a wall-mounted bracket. This enables you to direct the flow of water where needed.
- Rain shower: A shower that mimics the experience of bathing in the rain.
- Shower arm: The arm with an extended pipe connected to a wall flange or ceiling. This helps supply water while providing an extension for the shower head.
- Shower controls: Controls and maintains the shower’s water temperature.
- Shower flange: With various designs, this is the pipe hole cover where the shower arm sticks out.
- Shower head: The shower head is where the water gets sprayed out, altering the water flow. You can choose a shower head in various designs, sizes, and spray patterns. In general, a shower head is connected to the shower arm to deliver cold and hot water.
- Shower hose: This hose is connected to the shower outlet for controlling water.
- Slide bar: This bar makes the shower adjustable at a desired height.
- Slide bar bracket: The bracket keeps the slide bar in position.
Enclosure and Accessories
Generally made out of materials like acrylic, tile, or glass, the enclosure is a structure that surrounds the shower area. An enclosure can also have two wall spaces fitted into the corner. Moreover, some other accessories and components make the enclosure more functional.
- Door handle: Used to open or close the bathroom shower.
- Floor tiles: Tiles laid out on the flooring.
- Niche: A recessed shelf in the bathroom that adds storage space for soap, shampoo bottles, and other bathroom essentials.
- Stall panel: The main enclosure of showers installed to the shower base.
- Tiled walls: Walls covered in tiles.
- Tray: Directs the water to the drainage point in your bathroom.
- Water heater: While optional, I often include a water heater in my designs because it helps store and heat water, which is beneficial for the colder season.
Swift Solutions: Common Shower Issues and Solutions
A plumbing emergency can cost you at least $170 per hour, more for severe problems. In most cases, these may be the shower issues you will encounter.
- Old or problematic shower valve: Install a new valve or pipe fittings.
- Clogs: Use a drain snake to clear clogs in shower drain plumbing to improve water flow.
- Shower leak: Replace the pipe assembly.
- Recurring drain backups: Inspect and repair the main sewage line.
Shower SOS: When to Replace a Shower Assembly
Are you noticing a decrease in water pressure, or is the drainage not expelling wastewater properly? Plumbing coach Richard Behney says most often, the problematic pipes are found inside front bathrooms or powder rooms that sit up against an outside wall.
When you notice these problems, it’s essential to contact a plumber with the knowledge and tools to access the shower valve or pipe connected to the shower plumbing.
- Leak from shower heads, tub spouts, or visible as mold indicating pipe issues
- Old plumbing with rust
- Chronically clogged piping system
- Foul odor
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Main Parts of a Shower?
The core components of a shower are the hot and cold water supply pipes, valves, central shower system, drains, and traps. There are also parts of a moisture-proof enclosure and accessories like shelves or benches.
What Components Make up a Shower System?
A shower system includes hot and cold water supply plumbing feeding into the shower valve, the main shower, and the shower head fixture. This system mixes, controls, or diverts water to a tub spout.
What Are Things in the Shower Called?
Common components inside a shower include control valves, supply and drainage pipes, overflow drain covers, shower heads and wands, and tub spouts. There are also curtains or doors, slip-resistant flooring, soap holders, and shelves.
Whether dealing with drainage, water delivery, aesthetics, or accessorizing, knowing the functionality of the main plumbing, valves, enclosures, and fixtures transforms shower projects. Arm yourself with this working knowledge of shower components first when renovating, and you can create a functional and relaxing showering experience.