Q: We recently moved into a new home, and the good news is that the bathrooms are in pretty good shape. However, both bathrooms use shower curtains for the tub and stand-alone shower stall. We want to install glass shower doors, and want to know what different types are available.
A: Glass shower doors generally come in one of four basic styles. I recommend choosing from one of the following:
Pivot: This swinging-type shower door can open out from the right or left. It works like a traditional door and allows easy access. Pivot doors are usually found on standard-size shower stalls with adequate bathroom space.
Sliding: Great for tubs and larger shower stalls, these two-panel glass doors are space-savers since they don't open out. One panel slides into the space of the other to provide access.
Bath screen: This is the door to look for when you want the benefits of a sliding tub or shower door, but you need even greater access. Bath screens have at least three sliding panels that provide easy entrance.
Steam: If you're adding a steam unit to your shower area, a steam-type shower door should be installed. Such doors include a top section that completes a tight seal to hold in the steam.
Custom shower stall
Q: We're planning a very large custom shower stall. Since we have the room, I'd like to have two separate shower mixing valves installed on opposite walls, with two rain-style shower heads. This way, I can keep one off and save water when only one shower head is needed. What are some basic considerations I should have in mind when designing a custom shower stall like this?
A: I'm happy to see you want to be water-efficient with your new custom shower stall. That leads us to the first of three basic issues to look into.
1. Plumbing codes. Contact your local plumbing inspector to make sure your area even allows the use of two shower heads in one shower stall at the same time. Due to water restrictions, some parts of the country have limits on shower heads and/or operation of shower heads per stall.
2. Water supply and heating. If local codes allow you to install two separate mixing valves and shower heads, your plumber needs to size the water supply lines and water heater correctly to meet the extra demand.
3. Drainage. While in most cases only one shower head may run, just like the water lines, you need to plan for extra drainage-flow demands. The drain line needs to also be sized properly for your new double shower to help avoid future double trouble.
Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate.