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How to Install a Rain Shower Head

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Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a rain shower head, you will need to install it. Unlike a more traditional shower unit, the rain head will be mounted onto your ceiling. This introduces a few new variables, and its important you pay attention to how to install it properly.

However, installing it yourself shouldn’t be too difficult. Since you’re installing a rain unit, height will play an important part. We will walk you through the step by step process.

What Makes a Rain Shower Unique?

Instead of angling out from the wall, rainfall shower heads are made to point straight down over the shower. You can stand underneath it and be covered by a cascade of water. Regular shower heads don’t offer this option!

While this luxurious shower head is a great option to turn your bath time routine into a spa like experience, you need to make sure you have a large enough area. The first step of installing a rain shower head is to measure and make sure your bathtub/shower is large enough for it.

A beautiful rain shower head unit cascades water down in a dimly lit area

This is because a rain shower head has a larger overall radius than normal shower heads or handhelds. It is also hung differently. A rain shower head needs to fit out from the wall and then point down at a 90-degree angle.

This means you not only need to have a large circumference under the shower head, but you will also need to have a high enough shower or bathtub. While you may be able to install a high quality rainfall shower head in your bathtub, it is recommended this larger shower head type be installed in a large standing shower.

How to Install a Rainfall Shower Head

There are two types of rain shower heads: wall mounted and ceiling mounted. Units that mount to your ceiling will give you the total rainfall experience, but often involve a more complicated install process.

On the other hand, replacing your standard shower unit with a rain version that is mounted to the wall is very easy. We’ll walk you through how to do both.

How to Install a Wall Mounted Rainfall Shower Head

For a wall mounted shower head, you don’t really need to follow a specific height rule since these shower heads are able to be tilted up or down to better cater to various heights. However, if you are a very tall person, you may struggle with the original shower arm height.

You can raise the shower arm height. When you begin to cut into the walls and change out pipes it is best to rely on a professional, unless you know a good amount about plumbing and how to replace pipes. You also will need to know how to cover and seal the walls after you are done.

If the shower head has an attached arm, you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for attaching it to the main shower head unit. This is because steps for installing a handheld shower wand varies on different models.

  1. Wrap the connector with plumber’s tape.
  2. Screw the new shower head on clockwise.
  3. Tighten the shower head on with either wrapped pliers or a wrench.
  4. Turn the water back on and test for any leaks.

If you do want to know how to change a shower head pipe, these quick and easy steps will help you remove an unsightly pipe.

  1. Turn off the water.
  2. Use a wrench or pliers to turn the shower arm (without an attached shower head) counterclockwise to unscrew it.
  3. Wrap the new shower arm’s threads with plumber’s tape.
  4. Insert the new shower arm into the wall and screw it into the pipe.
  5. Tighten the new shower head pipe with a wrench or pliers.
  6. Attach the shower head per instructions.
  7. Turn the water back on and test it for any leaks.

Replacing a shower head pipe is very easy and it a great way to brighten up your shower since these pipes can collect rust and discolor after a few years.

Removing a chrome shower head using a wrench

How to Install a Ceiling Mounted Rain Shower Head

A ceiling mounted rain shower head is one that does not come from the wall like normal shower heads do. Instead, this type of shower head comes directly from the ceiling above the shower.

People who chose rain showers often opt for a ceiling mounted style simply because it is not limited to being close to a wall. When it hangs from the ceiling you can center it over the shower versus having it only stick out five inches from the wall.

If want to change your wall mounted shower head into a ceiling mounted shower head, it would be best to consult a plumber. You will need to cut into the wall and extend the piping.

Knowing how to install a rain shower head in the ceiling is a more advanced DIY project. This shouldn’t be attempted by someone not familiar with plumbing and replacing the wall/ceiling area that needs to be cut out.

What Happens if You Encounter Leaks

You removed the old shower head, cleaned off any rust or mineral deposits, taped the threads, and installed a new shower head. Once you turn on the water for a test you are frustrated to find leaks.

For starters, keep a handy mop nearby for any excess water. That way, if and when you do find a leak, you can clean it up quickly. 

Leaks will happen. It can be a number of things from not enough tape to the simple possibility you didn’t tighten the shower head and pipe down enough. The best way to take care of a leak is to turn the water back off and take off the shower head.

Check to make sure there is enough tape around the threads. Feel free to peel it off and add a strip that is a little longer, so it wraps around a little more. You will also want to look and make sure the shower head has a black rubber washer inside of it. These little black rings are crucial to stopping leaks.

Once you have re-taped and checked everything, go ahead and replace the shower head. Make sure you tighten it down with a wrench or pliers. You can use both if you need to hold and turn to get that final tighten complete.

Turn the water back on and check to see if the shower head is still leaking. If the leaking is reduced, you are going in the right direction. You may need to take it off and add a little more tape or make sure the rubber ring fits correctly and isn’t getting warped as you are tightening the shower head down.

If the leak shows no change, you may want to consult a DIY specialist at your local hardware store or contact a plumber to come check it out. It could be an easy fix. There is also the chance you could be dealing with something that is a little more complex and requires a professional hand.

Conclusion

Learning how to install a rain shower head can seem like a difficult task, but certain types are really easy. If you want to do it yourself, opt for a simple option that screws into your existing shower pipe.