A concealed shower can be quite a bit of extra work, but the results are so worth it.
They are some of the most beautiful and stylish showers out there, so if you take the time to get the job done, you are very unlikely to regret it.
Of course, a concealed shower also means concealed valves, and as these are quite an essential part of the shower installation process.
it is important to know how to do it correctly and safely, all while ensuring they remain fully concealed. This DIY guide is exactly what you have been searching for.
What Does a Concealed Shower Mean?
When people refer to a concealed shower, it means that practically everything is hidden safely in the wall, floor, or ceiling. So, you won’t be able to see any pipework or a unit, and the only things that tend to be visible are the taps, temperature controls, and shower head.
It looks amazing, but having a fully concealed shower can be a little impractical. Many people go for what is known as a partially concealed shower, and this is where the shower head is on an adjustable rail.
The adjustable shower head does make cleaning much easier (especially if you have pets or kids), but it doesn’t look quite as spiffy as the fully concealed variety.
While the form that you go for is entirely your choice, it should be noted that the vast majority of concealed showers are power showers.
If you are looking to install one of these, there will be electrical work required, and you must get an electrician out to do the work for you, or check over anything you have done before you can use the shower.
Fast Fixing Kits for Concealed Shower and Valves
There are some mixer shower valves that come with something called a fast fixing kit, and this is supposed to allow for the easy connection to the tails in one movement.
Most showers have this option available, and they make everything so much quicker and simpler. If you have copper pipes, it should be noted that these will be fitted with compression or soldered joints. Flexible pipes, on the other hand, will be push-fitted together.
Two-Way Concealed Shower Valve
These run two outlets, such as an overhead shower and a side shower, or even a bath filler. It will have at least two handles attached to the valve, and if this is the case, then one of them will be a diverter and the other temperature control.
They are also known as a dual or twin shower valve, and are one of the most popular choices in modern bathrooms. Controlling the flow and temperature separately is incredibly efficient, and it helps to make things clearer for you.
However, there are also two-way valves that allow you to use one handle to control both the temperature and flow while the other determines where the water will be going (another shower head, the bath, and so on).
Also Read: Sealing a Shower DIY Guide
Three-Way Concealed Shower Valve
This particular type of shower valve tends to have three controls as opposed to two. It will allow you to run two of the outlets at the same time and each one of them independently, but this can depend on the manufacturer as well.
They are also known as triple valves and have been referred to as recessed/built-in valves. They are usually designed to be hidden behind a wall so that only the controls are visible, and all modern models are thermostatic so that you have complete control over the temperature at all times.
The handles usually work where one controls the flow, one is for the temperature, and the other divers the water to other outlets. It’s a handy and efficient process, especially with the extra handle.
Fitting the Concealed Shower Valve
Once you have chosen your ideal shower valve, you can get to the installation process. Of course, the aim is to ensure that it is hidden, and we have the perfect way to achieve that for you. Time to dust off the toolbox and get ready for a day of hard work; DIY style.
The best way to achieve the concealed shower effect is through false walls that contain all of the pipework and other components that you don’t want to be visible.
These must be carefully constructed, and accurate measurements should be taken before you begin building them.
You can use flexible connectors to feed the shower with hot and cold-water supplies, and these pipes tend to be long-lasting because of their flexible design.
The hot and cold feed will need T-junctions to be put in place, and if you have plastic pipes connecting to copper tails, you should also ensure they are done so with the appropriate fixing kit.
This is something you can check with your local hardware store, as it often depends on the piping.
Also Read: Shower Pump Problems
The copper tails should be passed through a backboard to ensure that they are in the exact location they need to be for when the plasterboard is fitted over them.
You must make sure that none of the pipework is able to move, as stability is key for a secure and safe shower system. Once the plasterboard is installed, the valves can be as well.
It’s a very simple process in terms of the number of steps, but it does require you knowing the ins and outs of your plumbing system, where everything is, and also being confident enough to build false walls in your bathroom.
If you decide to undertake this project, do so slowly and with great care. If you feel lost or unsure at any point, call a plumber in to do the rest. It’s better to be safe rather than end up with a leaky valve.
Step By Step Guide -
Recessed shower valves can be pretty tricky to fit to a wall. Call it a design flaw, but the creators didn’t put a lot of thought into the process.
We get that, and we understand your pain, which is why we have some handy information for you as well as this step-by-step to make the process easier.
Step One: Measuring Depths
The instructions for your concealed shower valve will tell you the minimum depth that you can use from the finished wall level. For example, a standard is 75-95mm. However, you have to remember that your depths will also rely on what your finished wall depth is going to be as well.
This is why the shower valve sometimes needs to be recessed so that it matches up with the finished wall depth. Remember, the battening also counts when determining the wall depth.
Step Two: Connections
Now you need to make up the connections that actually make the shower valve. As an example, if you have pipes that are going into the side, make sure you have the compression fittings ready for that.
If you have pipes from the bottom (which is what we will be using as our example here), make sure the compression fittings are on first and then you will know exactly how much you need to gouge out in order to make them fit.
Step Three: Mark-Up
Take the concealed shower valve and hold it against the installation area. With a permanent marker, make a rough outline of the valve and the connection lines. Take a spirit level and mark a straight line down from the bottom connections.
You will also want to mark the grooves that you plan on cutting towards the top of the connections. You should use a disc cutter for this task as it gets a clean finish and is able to cut through thick material with ease.
Step Four: Chase Depth and Cutting
To determine the chase depth for the pipe, you can use some simple math:
Take the pipe width and multiply it by two
Add 5mm for the clip depth
As an example, 15 x 2 + 5 = 35mm
Often, you will find that the valve will be at a different depth and you will need to bend or set the pipe.
Once you have done the math, you can use the disc cutter to cut out the piping sections. When finished, take out your chisel and gently hit it with a hammer to remove the sections.
When the sections are cut, take the valve and check that it still lines up with the pipelines.
You can then cut the top off of the mark-up as well as a groove at the bottom. You can use the spirit level to ensure these mark-up lines are straight and better-defined for accuracy.
PRO TIP: Cut using a noughts and crosses method towards the outermost points of the valve. This makes the brick easier to chase and provides more accurate depth. At the same time, it leaves a little more room around the valve and could save you some time.
You can then use your chisel and hammer to remove the cut brick as you did before with the pipelines.
Step Five: Cutting and Fitting
Fit the pipe and cut them down to the required length for installation. You can also take the time to ensure that the valve fits into the cut space and use the chisel to widen it a little if needed. Use the chisel to carve out the grooves towards the top of the piping you marked earlier.
Now that you have checked the valve fits, use the spirit level to ensure the valve is lined up.
Mark the holes carefully using the permanent marker so that you remember where to place them. Check your depth to ensure that it meets the manufacturer requirements.
Take your pipe clips and place one in each of the piping chambers. Next, drill your holes and plug them before preparing to screw the valve into place. Check that all the fittings are properly secured first and use jointing compound on the compression fittings.
You will want to install the valve first to make the floor joints easier for you. Connect the pipes to the valve and secure them in place with a wrench and Locktight to keep the joints watertight as well as secure. You can then place the valve into the groove and use a drill to secure it in place.
Push the pipes into place in the clips and use a hammer to gently ensure they are all the way in and perfectly secure.
Step Six: Checks and Finishes
Now that it has been installed, check it over with the spirit level to ensure that it is still in line and also ensure that it is secure by giving it a quick tug.
If you are worried about the copper piping (since copper and cement are not friends) the best thing you can do is to gaffa tape the joints and use hessian insulation to create a more efficient piping system while also making it more secure.
You can also use expanding foam to protect the pipes, cutting it away with a handsaw and sanding it down once it has dried in order to leave it with a smooth finish. You can then install the plate with some silicone, and you’re ready to go.
PRO TIP: Remember, if your wall isn’t thick enough to provide the minimum depth safely, always install studding so that you can achieve a concealed shower valve without risking the integrity of your wall.
Q: How many types of shower valves are there?
A: Shower valves are commonly grouped into five different types primarily based on the nature as also the number of controls.
Q: Do you have to turn off the water to change the shower head?
A: Theres no need to switch off the water at the mains for your house just simply make sure the shower is turnedd of whilst your changing the shower head so you don't get soaked.
Hopefully, this guide has been able to teach you more than just how to install a concealed shower valve, and you have learned a lot more about how they work as well as what they are made up of.
Having a concealed shower might seem like a lot of work at first, but with this guide, we are able to ease you through the process so that you can achieve your dream bathroom without too much stress and hassle.
What did you think of our concealed shower valve installation guide? Did it have everything you expected, or are there areas that left you feeling stuck? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave us a message in the comments below.