If you’re one of those people for whom a shower is a whole lot more than just a quick interlude with some soap and water, then you’re the perfect candidate for one of the fabulous, new multihead shower systems that have made their way onto the construction scene in the last few years.
As the name implies, multihead shower systems incorporate any of a variety of combinations of interconnected shower heads, valves, controllers, massage jets and even pumps, all interacting to offer you an incredible shower experience. Designed for both new construction and remodeling, and available as preassembled units or individual components, you’re certain to find a combination that’s perfect for your dream bathroom.
Multihead showers fall into two broad categories – sprays and spas – and some are available with both. There are some distinct differences, however, and it pays to spend a little time understanding what you’re looking for prior to placing your order.
Multihead sprays such as Kohler’s Water-Haven or the Body Spray by Aqua Glass are designed to spray water from several showerheads at once. The heads may be on individual arms than can adjust up and down and side to side independently; they may come directly out of the wall of the shower and swivel in different directions; or they may be a combination of both. Some types even incorporate an additional showerhead on a flexible hose, allowing even more bathing freedom. Whatever the setup and combination, the idea is the same – to be able to adjust all of the heads for height and angle so that you are inundated with water streams from several different directions simultaneously, all customized to suit your individual showering pleasure.
Imagine that you have taken the whirlpool bathtub concept of using a pump to recirculate and push water through jets to create a swirling massage action within the water. Now imagine that the pump is pushing that water through the jets and into the air instead of into the surrounding water in the tub, and you have the concept of the shower spa. Think of it as a combination stall shower and whirlpool bathtub.
Kohler’s BodySpa is a perfect example of this concept. Unlike most showers, the BodySpa utilizes a large, deep basin with a closable drain in place of a conventional shower pan, so that water can be held in the basin as it would be in a bathtub. A pump, located just outside the basin, pushes the water through a series of jets that are arranged in a vertical “tower” on the wall of the shower. The result is a pressurized hydro-massage action that can be directed against your body in several different areas at once.
When you’re done with the spa action, simply open the drain and the recirculated water drains away. Leave the drain open and switch to the conventional showerhead, and the spa now becomes a standard stall shower. You can utilize a single showerhead or combine the spa with the multispray concept for total indulgence.
Kohler offers the BodySpa as a completely enclosed unit, with basin, pump, heads, jets and control switch. Simply assemble the components within an appropriately sized and framed enclosure, and you’re all set. For custom installations, the components are also available separately, allowing you to design the perfect size shower and finish it off inside with tile, marble, Corian, or any other surface material.
If you’re in the market for any of these multihead systems, be aware of a couple of things. First of all, there are lots of choices in sizes, finishes and component combinations, so plan on spending a little time with manufacturer catalogs and Internet research before you go shopping, and then try to find a large plumbing fixture showroom that will have one or more of the units on display for you to see.
Second, all of these units have very specific framing, plumbing, and, in the case of the spas, electrical requirements, so you need to make your choices before you begin roughing in pipes and lumber. And finally, remember that all of these units utilize more water than conventional showers, and therefore require additional hot-water capacity.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to email@example.com.