When you want to give your walk-in shower the ultimate upgrade, a shower panel is the way to go. Follow along with this all-in-one guide to learn how to remove your current shower fitting and how to install a shower panel.
A shower panel is a spa-like upgrade to your normal shower head. The body is a long and slender bar. It runs from about where your current shower head is to midway down the wall.
On the shower panel you will see different water openings and buttons. How many you see will depend on how basic or luxurious your chosen shower panel is. The more expensive the panel, the more features you will get.
Most all shower panels will begin with a rainfall or waterfall shower head that arcs away from the shower panel and down over you.
The additional options and openings shoot out water from a little lower down the shower panel. These are meant to massage you as you shower and offer an extra immersion feeling.
Some of the more expensive shower panels will also offer a shower wand attachment which can hang, or be directed down towards you. This allows you to grab a shower head with a soaking function and install it if you'd like.
Take the time to figure out how many features are important to you. That way, you can choose the best shower panel to fit your bathroom and routine.
While it can look like a daunting task, learning how to install shower panels is much easier than it looks. This is because shower panels come already wired and set up. All you do is anchor it to the wall and attach the plumbing hookup to where your shower head used to be.
Every home needs this versatile and handy power tool laying around. For this project you will need the correct drill bit to pre-drill the holes for mounting. Read the included instruction booklet to see the screw size. Then, choose the appropriate drill bit size.
If you are installing a shower panel on a tile shower wall, you will want to use the glass and tile drill bit. Also make sure you lower the speed on your drill, so you don’t risk cracking or breaking your tile as you drill the hole.
Your new shower panel should come with everything you need as far as mounting pieces and screws. Before you begin the removal process, open your package and make sure everything is included so you aren’t wasting any time.
If, for some reason, you are missing some of the hardware or a piece was damaged, you can do one of two things. You can return the entire shower panel. Or, you should be able to pick up the same screws or mounted pieces at your local DIY store.
A wrench is just as handy as the power drill. You will use the wrench to take off the original shower head. Then you will use it again to install the new shower panel’s water directing pipes as well as to tighten all the new connectors.
You can use your hands to screw on almost all of the parts. However, using a wrench will give you extra leverage to make that final turn to ensure leaks don’t happen. This goes the same way for when you are installing a shower arm for your new shower head.
Along with a wrench you will want to grab a standard pair of pliers. These will help you grip and turn small and hard to reach connectors. The pliers can also work as an additional leverage and gripping point when you are using a wrench.
This simple yet effective tape is a must have on any plumbing jobs. When you wrap the connecting threads of your shower pipes with plumber’s tape, it creates a hard-to-bypass seal on each of the rungs. This keeps water from spewing out and making a mess when you shower.
You will want to wrap each thread about four times around. If you notice any leaks, you can increase the wrapping to six times around to give it a better seal.
Pick up a small tube and applicator gun from your home improvement store. The sealer is a silicone putty. Trace the outline of the shower panel with the sealer to close any cracks between it and the shower wall.
This sealer prevents any water from getting behind the shower panel and causing rot to the wall behind the shower.
Keep a damp cloth or rag close by as you install a shower panel. You can use it to wipe away any and all dust that comes from making new drill holes.
Also, place the rag over your hardware where you are using a wrench or pliers. This will protect the visible finish from being scratched as you tighten the plumbing parts.
When you are ready to install your shower panel, begin by turning the water off to the shower. Doing a main water shut off can seem like a hassle. But, it is a precautionary step that can save you time and keep you dry in case of an accident while you are installing.
Follow these steps to remove your original shower head and valves.
If you plan to keep or reuse the shower arm and head, take time to clean them up and allow to fully dry before storing them away.
Take a little time to clean up the shower parts you plan on reusing. Tackle any rust that might have formed, and scrub down the shower head and arm.
Now that your shower is bare, you may begin to install a shower panel. Depending on your purchased shower panel, some of these instructions will be vary with what you will need to do depending on the connectors.
Once you finish attaching the shower panel to the wall, give it a firm shake and tug. You want to make sure it is secured tightly to the wall and does not wiggle or show any signs of being loose. You can now re-install your shower head.
Related: How to Install a Shower Arm
Now, you need to test it again. Make sure all the water openings and shower heads are working correctly and the water temperature is responding to the settings. Let the water flow through each opening for 60 seconds to give it time to show signs of leaks.
Finish by using a silicone sealer to run around the edges and the top of the shower panel. You will want to avoid sealing the bottom of the shower panel in case any water does become trapped behind it. This way it can flow out of the bottom.
Now that you know the ins and outs of how to install a shower panel, you can give your shower or bathtub the upgrade it’s been waiting for.
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Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.