A Custom Shower System in your home is the ultimate luxury experience. Waking up every day to a full body Shower Faucet System will invigorate you and get you ready to face the day head on. While having a complete Shower System is great, putting one together can be a real headache. At FaucetList.com we make it easy to buy a shower system! We used our more than 40 years' experience in the plumbing industry to write this guide designed to teach you everything you need to know to build your own luxury Shower System. Before you get started, take a look at some pre-built systems to get ideas about what is possible. You can also select a finish below to browse all the pre-built Delta Shower Systems we have available in that color. Otherwise read on and we'll give you all the information you need to come up with your own shower design ideas! If you like one of our pre-built systems but want to make a small change, make sure to contact us. We can help you create the best shower system for your master bathroom!
Note: This article was originally published June 30th, 2014. It was most recently updated April 17, 2018.
Have you ever wanted a Custom Full Body Shower System? Building your own Luxury Shower is easier than you think! Read this guide to learn how to create a Delta Shower System. We will go through the components required for building a complete Shower System by Delta. As an industry leader, Delta's Top Rated Custom Showers are some of the best on the market today. If you wish to view some pre-built systems for inspiration, check out some Delta Shower System Packages we have already put together. We have configured all our pre-built Shower Systems based on our most popular selling combinations. They have been created with matching finish and style components and have been expertly optimized to provide good water pressure, a very important factor when creating a Custom Shower.
We have over 40 years of experience in the plumbing industry and have worked with Shower Systems made by many different manufacturers. Delta is consistently a customer and contractor favorite. Their Systems are easy to install, look great, and are very reasonably priced. Not only that, Delta makes it very easy to switch the style if in the future you ever decide to change your bathroom decor. With their system of universal rough-in valves, it is easy to switch the Trim Kit and change the finish or style of your shower without going into the wall. Once you have taken a look at some pre-built packages and have an idea about what is possible, read on to learn more about customizing a system of your own!
So what separates the best Shower Systems from those that are just ok? Well quality is a huge factor. Shower Systems are not cheap and if you go through all the trouble to install one, you should definitely purchase Shower System Hardware that will last. With the right Shower Hardware your System can last for life. Delta products all include a lifetime manufacturer's warranty on both the operation of the parts AS WELL as on the finish. Warranties on finish are rather rare in this industry which is one reason we really like Delta. Also important is style. Delta offers a wide range of popular collections in many great finishes, perfect for creating a contemporary or traditional style Shower System.
There are two main types of shower systems available from Delta: Full Custom Shower Systems and Easy Install Shower Systems. This article focuses on how to build a full custom shower system. A full custom shower system gives you the largest variety of spray outlet options and the greatest design flexibility. Basically, as the name implies, full custom shower systems are fully customizable. This customization offers amazing functionality and allows you to create a beautiful design effect. During the planning phase, the plumber (with your input) will decide how and where to install the shower spray outlets and run all the necessary plumbing. The end effect is truly magnificent and will really make your master bathroom shower feel special. You will be able to decide exactly which spray outlets you want, where they will be located, and what they will look like. This ability to fully customize every aspect lets you to create the perfect shower space!
For a smaller bathroom redesign project, you might want to consider an Easy Install Shower System. It is really only practical to install a full custom shower system when you are doing a major renovation / remodel or a new home construction. Installing a full custom system is a fairly major project and you should understand the scope before getting started. Because all the spray outlets are powered by pipes inside the wall, your walls need to be completely open during installation. Easy Install Shower Systems provide many of the same benefits but are much simpler and less expensive to install. In most cases, installing an Easy Install Shower System is the about same amount of work as installing a normal shower faucet. If you already have a Delta valve in your wall it's even easier still! Follow this link to read more about Easy Install Shower Systems.
If you are lucky enough to have a project where you can really do whatever you want, we recommend going with a full custom shower system. You won't get the opportunity to change your entire shower very often so we say go all out! After deciding that you want a full custom shower system, you need to decide how many spray outlets you want your shower to have. What determines exactly how many shower spray outlets you can have is the diverter. Later in this article you can read more details about the diverter fixture itself but basically a 3-setting shower system diverter gives you 2 individual settings and 1 shared setting. Therefore, it allows you to have a shower system with maximum 2 spray outlet groups. The diverter will let you run either shower spray outlet independently or run both together at the same time. I.E. Diverter setting 1 is spray outlet 1 alone. Diverter setting 2 is spray outlet 2 alone. Diverter setting 3 is both spray outlet 1 and 2 at the same time. We have literally thousands of available pre-built shower system that utilize a 3-setting diverter fixture. Take a look at our 3-setting diverter complete shower systems or keep reading to learn more about building your own system from scratch. A quick note about body sprays! Body sprays are normally plumbed as a group, and therefore count as just a single spray outlet.
For a greater amount of customization and more spray outlets, consider a shower system with 6-setting diverter. The 6-setting diverter allows you to build a full custom shower system with 3 spray outlet groups. This is where things really start to get cool! The possible combinations go up significantly when you can choose any three shower spray heads you want. Choose from body sprays, shower heads, hand showers, and ceiling mount rain showerheads. You can even have a multiple shower head system! The 6-setting diverter features 3 individual settings and 3 shared settings. With a 6-setting diverter you can run any spray outlet individually or any combination of 2 at the same time. 6-setting diverter shower systems are great for a large master bathroom with walk in shower. Take advantage of your extra space and build yourself a full body spa shower system! We have many stylish pre-configured 6-setting diverter shower systems available for immediate purchase. 6-setting diverter shower systems typically have quite a lot of component fixtures so if you are planning on building your own, make sure to carefully read through this guide so you don't forget to order everything you'll need!
Now that you know a little about shower faucet diverters and how they function, lets talk about the various spray outlet combinations your shower system can have. Although you can have only a maximum of 3 shower spray outlets with a Delta Shower System, there are actually quite a lot of possible combinations. We have been selling shower systems online for many years and over time we have learned which combinations are the most popular...and practical! We have pre-configured many shower systems with the most popular configurations. But don't let that make you think you won't get something unique or special. We realized that people made MANY different requests and had MANY different requirements so we decided to simple pre-configure MANY types of shower systems. We have several thousand available for purchase on FaucetList.com! Our most popular spray outlet configurations are below. In each category you will be able to sort by finish, features, and style/collection. Take a look around and you will definitely find the best shower system for your bathroom! If you still can't find exactly what you want, keep reading and you will learn how to create a shower system with multiple spray heads all by yourself.
Now that you know a little about the different spray outlet configurations that are possible, you may be interested in learning about some of the other shower system feature options available. When planning your shower system, you need to decide what type of shower spray outlets you want. You also need to decide if you want your shower system to have any other special features. For example, do you want a shower system with tub spout? Do you want a shower control with integrated diverter? Do you want a thermostatic shower system? These and other special features can be incorporated into any shower system design idea. Below you will find more information on some options you might want to consider when building your shower system.
So let's talk a little about the parts that make up a Shower System. In general you can break things down into 3 groups. You have the On/Off Control Handle, the Diverter, and the Peripheral Shower Sprays. It's helpful to think about a Shower System this way so you can build one properly. Given all the options and choices, it's best to simplify things first.
The Shower Control Handle is what you use to turn the water on and off. But what's going on behind the scenes? Behind the Shower Handle is the Shower rough-in Valve. The rough-in valve is sometimes referred to as a mixing valve since that is what it does. You feed the hot and cold water lines into the Shower Valve (which is installed inside the wall) and the valve mixes that water to a pre-set warm temperature. This warm water will eventually be the water that sprays out at you when you take a shower. Shower Controls take on many different forms but essentially they all do the same thing: Allow you to turn on the water and set it to your desired temperature.
A Shower Control is made up of the Rough-in Valve (the part that installs in the wall mentioned above) and the Trim Kit. The Trim Kit is the part you actually see. It consists of the finished Handle and Shower Plate. Delta Showers all utilize the same universal mixing valve. It is the Cartridge, found in the Trim Kit that will change the way your Shower functions. In Delta Showers it is the cartridge that ultimately determines the flow rate and the water output of the shower. When building a shower system the most important thing to be aware of is the WATER OUTPUT. If you want decent water pressure you will need to consider whether your Shower Valve and Trim Kit are able to put out enough water to power all your Peripheral Shower Sprays.
To build a Shower System you will only want to consider starting with Delta's highest-flow rough-in Valve. This valve is universal (for Delta) and will work with all Delta Trim Kits. The High-Flow Valve is pictured on the right.
Next you need to select a suitable Trim Kit. Depending on how many Peripheral Shower Sprays you want, this step also requires some consideration. Delta Shower Control Trim Kits include a cartridge which as mentioned above, factors into water output. Delta indicates which cartridge is included with a particular trim kit by a series number. The highest output will come from the 17T Series Trim Kits which have a thermostatic cartridge. If you plan to create a Shower System with a 6-Setting Diverter (discussed below) we highly recommend you start with a 17T Series Trim Kit. For systems created with a 3-Setting Diverter you can also choose a 14 Series Trim Kit or a 17 (No "T") Series trim kit. Here's a list of the Water Output for each series.
PSI (pounds per square inch) is a unit of measure that represents the water pressure of your home. This is not controlled by the Shower System, this is your home's innate water pressure from the lines connected to the city water supply.
GPM (gallons per minute) represents how much water your Shower System will actually put out. When factoring in what Peripheral Shower Sprays you can use, you need to look at the total GPM available (consult the list above) and then look at how many GPM's are used by each individual Spray. You need to keep the total number of GPMs used under the total number of GPM's available if you want your Shower to spray with high enough pressure.
In our opinion, the Delta 17T series Trim Kit cartridge really is best for creating a functional Thermostatic Shower System. It puts out the most water and allows you the most flexibility when choosing you Shower System Hardware. The downside of the Thermostatic Shower System 17T Trim Kit is that it is the most expensive. If you look through our existing Shower Design Ideas you will see that several of our packages are built with the 14 and 17 series shower controls. Using our product knowledge we have configured these systems to make sure that the water pressure is adequate and get the overall price down a bit. We have written an in-depth guide explaining the difference between the Delta17 and 17T series dual control shower cartridges. You can read the article to learn exactly why the 17T series is a better for shower systems.
What makes a Shower System a little different from a standard shower is that you don't only have one Shower Head. Normally all you need to do is run a pipe up from the Shower Valve to the Showerhead and the water sprays right out. With a Shower System however, you need to take this warm water mixture and send it to several different Peripheral Shower Sprays. This necessitates a diverter.
A diverter is used in conjunction with your Shower Control Handle. The mixed water from the Shower Valve runs up into the Diverter. The diverter then diverts the water to your Shower Head, Body Sprays, Handheld Shower, Ceiling Mount Shower, Shower Body Spray Plate, or whatever other Peripheral Shower Systems you choose. You turn the water on with the on/off handle, then decide where it comes out with the diverter.
The diverter does not add pressure so it is important that the water pressure has already been dealt with by the Shower Control.
The Shower Diverter is also made up of a Trim Kit (the part you see) and a Rough-in Valve (the part in the wall). All Delta Diverters us the same valve. Take a look at the valve here: Delta Diverter Rough-in Valve.
Delta offers Diverters that match the style of their Shower Controls. Once you select your Shower Control it will be easy to find the matching Diverter. However, you will have to consider one additional thing with regards to Diverters. Delta makes two different Diverters: A six-setting Diverter and a three-setting Diverter.
With the 6 setting diverter you will be able to have 3 separate shower jets (note: Body Sprays function together as 1 shower jet). The Diverter Valve has 4 ports. One port is used as an intake for the mixed warm water from the Shower Valve. The other 3 ports are for sending water to your peripheral shower systems. Your plumber will run pipe from the open diverter ports in the wall and out where desired.
The 6 setting diverter allows you to power any 2 shower sprays at the same time or any of the shower sprays individually. So for example, if you had a normal showerhead, a ceiling mount showerhead, and 3 body sprays, you could control them in the following way.
With the 3 Setting diverter you can have 2 Shower sprays. You will be able to have them both turned on at the same time or have either turned on individually.
So for example, if you have a configuration with a Showerhead and a Handheld Shower, here are your options:
Now that you see how the diverter works you will be able to start picking your peripheral shower spray systems. Keep in mind the GPM (Gallons per Minute) restrictions when making you choices. You want to be able to have a good high pressure shower experience and nobody enjoys a weak spray!
As you have just read above, Group 1 is a Shower On/Off Control and Group 2 is the Diverter Control. Delta has recently released an alternative option that can replace these first two groups in your shower system plan. A Delta shower faucet control integrated diverter is a single fixture that functions as both the shower mixing valve control handle and also as the diverter. Whether you choose to have a separate shower control and diverter control, or decide to use a shower control with integrated diverter, the end result with regards to functionality will be exactly the same!
Delta shower controls with integrated diverter come in several different configurations. Most importantly, you can choose whether you want the built in diverter to have 6-settings or 3-settings. The function will be exactly the same as the 3 and 6 setting diverters described above. You can also choose the type of cartridge you want for the shower control. If you want a 17T thermostatic shower system that is not a problem!
Much like a normal on/off control, Delta integrated diverter shower faucet controls require a trim kit and rough-in valve to be complete. These parts are often sold separately. However at FaucetList.com we make buying a shower system easy. Therefore, on our site you will find many complete shower faucet control with integrated diverter packages that INCLUDE the rough-in valve. Because this fixture requires just a single valve for both temperature / volume control as well as diverter functionality, the installation is simple.
With an integrated diverter shower control, all handles to control your shower system can be found on a single panel making the operation easier and more intuitive. To learn more, make sure to read our complete guide to Creating a Shower System using Shower Controls with Integrated Diverters. Also check out our complete pre-built custom shower systems with integrated diverter control!
With the first two groups (the Shower Control and Diverter) you ultimately have less control. You need to have 1 Shower Control and 1 Diverter no matter what. Circumstances somewhat dictate which Diverter and Shower Control you may choose. Of course you can select a finish and a style for these controls but where you are really able to start customizing is when you start adding the different Shower Jet System Sprays.
Remember, if you go with a 3-setting diverter you get to choose any 2 shower spray systems. If you go with a 6-setting diverter you get to choose any 3 shower spray systems. To create the best full body luxury Shower System you can select from the various options below. Some of the peripheral systems also have component parts (such as shower arms and shower flanges) required so make sure you order everything in order to have a complete system.
Wall Mount Body Sprays, Handheld Showers, Ceiling Mount Shower Heads, Wall Mount Shower Heads, and Body Spray Plates. There are a wide range of style options when it comes to each of these choices. Large Ceiling Mount Shower Heads can create Rain Shower Systems. There are Modern Square Showerheads and Square Handheld Showers for creating Contemporary Modern Shower Systems. There are Bell Shaped Showerheads with curved Shower arms available for creating luxury Traditional Shower Systems.
The Diverter will allow you to create a Dual Shower Head System. A Multi Head Shower can be a very luxurious experience. A Shower Jets System spraying you from all angles can be the perfect way to start your day. You could also have Rainfall Shower System with a Ceiling Mount Showerhead and a few body jets. The Shower design ideas are nearly endless. The great thing about a Custom Shower is you can create the best Shower System for you!
After you have made your choice of peripheral shower system sprays, you can begin to think about placement. Before purchasing you may want to measure your available space and check to make sure you have chosen fixtures that will work well with it. Please consult the image to the left and the explanation below.
User height is one of the most important considerations when planning a Custom Shower. Remember that all users should be considered–including children or seated bathers. If there is a great difference in height between users you may want to include a separate volume control for the highest body spray so that it can be turned off without having to turn off all of the body sprays.
If using a bench, you may want a body spray positioned to hit you in the lower back when sitting.
To encompass your body with water, position body sprays on multiple shower walls.
Shower Systems are designed to operate in an environment where there is plenty of water. Shower Systems use more water than a standard shower and therefore there are some regulations you should be aware of. In certain states, Shower Systems will not meet local plumbing code. If you are building a new home and need to pass inspection, you should consult your local plumbing code to find out if there are any restrictions on shower head water output. For those living in California, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, and some areas of New York this is particularly important as low-flow regulations have set standards that a Shower Full System may not comply with. Unfortunately as regulations vary significantly from place to place (and sometimes change) we can't offer you any information on the local code in your region - you will have to check on that yourself.
It's a lot to take in but ultimately not extremely difficult. In fact building a shower system can even be fun! Here's the long and short. You need a Shower Control (with Valve), a Shower Diverter (with Valve), and you need to choose the Peripheral Shower Systems you want to go with them. You can always browse our Pre-Built Shower Faucet Systems which are expertly optimized to make things easy. At FaucetList.com we have over 40 years' experience in the plumbing industry and it is our goal to make ordering a shower system easy! We have a large selection so you might be able to find that your perfect Shower System has already been built!
If you have questions we are here to help! Feel free to call 1-855-530-5222 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Pacific or Contact us!
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***Article updated November, 2019