I wanted a ceiling mounted waterfall shower head. Anyone who has taken a shower in one knows exactly why -- it is incredible. But I live in an apartment. And the bathroom is already finished. So ... I decided to put an industrial-look, exposed copper piping, ceiling mounted shower head. It is easily removed, leaving only a few hollow wall anchors as a memento.
I'm not going to give a lot of dimensions for the length of tubing because it all depends on your unique installation. I didn't measure anyway, so as to avoid measurement errors. Where I did measure, I have noted accordingly. This is my first Instructable, but not my first rodeo. I am not taking pictures of every measurement step -- if you have a question, leave it in the comments and I'll get back to you. This is a really easy project if you've done even basic plumbing. Just take your time and look closely at the pictures.
Shark-Bite fittings from Home Depot work best, I've found. Buy any rainfall shower head you like. Shower fittings are 1/2" NPT by default so you'll find that 1/2" tubing and fittings work best. All Shark-Bite fittings are 1/2", as well as the copper tubing. Prices are Home Depot, Aug 2014, Pittsburgh area.
- (1) Rain fall shower head .. I used a Delta model $50
- (2) Shark-Bite elbows .. $7.47 ea
- (1) Shark-Bite male thread elbow adapter $6.36
- (1) Shark-Bite drop ear elbow $7.37
- (1) 2" long black pipe nipple $1.83
- (1) 1-1/2" black pipe nipple $1.13
- (1) black pipe coupling $2.95
- (1) 60" section of copper tubing
- (1) bag of copper tube straps $2.27
Deburring tool (or just use sand paper)
Hollow wall anchors and screws
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Step 1: Assemble Fittings and Attach to the Wall Fitting
You'll want to assemble these items together separately before threading them into the wall. Use about 5" of teflon tape for all the threaded joints. Make the connections hand tight. You'll need:
- 2" long black pipe nipple
- black pipe coupling
- Shark-Bite male NPT elbow adapter
- teflon tape
- escutcheon (wall plate)
Tape and thread everything together. Then press the escutcheon onto the black pipe nipple. It will be a bit tight over the threads; I used a roll of tape to press the fitting onto the escutcheon. Tape the black pipe nipple, and thread it into the wall fixture. Do NOT tighten all the way yet, just leave it slightly loose because you'll tighten during step 2.
Step 2: "Measure" and Add the Riser
Take your section of tubing, and fit the Shark-Bite fitting onto one end securely. This will be your riser after you trim it to length. Hold the section up against the Shark-Bite elbow that is already secured in the wall. Push the riser up until the elbow touches the ceiling. Now mark the tubing where the wall elbow meets it.
To give the tubing a little slope to drain back to the wall, I wanted the riser to be a little shorter. I marked a second line 1/8" closer to the top elbow. This is NOT my cut line however! You need to account for the amount of tubing in the Shark-Bite fitting. For 1/2" connections the amount of tubing inside the fitting is 7/8", so I marked the cut line 7/8" below the second mark I made. Then I cut it using a tubing cutter and deburred the tubing. You could use a hack saw but I strongly recommend against it. "Hack" being the operative descriptive word, you'll not get a straight perpendicular cut and it will not work right with the Shark-Bite fitting. Get the tubing cutter -- it's cheap, extremely easy to use, and way cleaner.
Now, you have your riser. Turn your recently fit wall fitting slightly counter-clockwise to fit the riser into the Shark-Bite fitting. Make sure it is firmly inserted. Now here's my method ... use the Shark-Bite removal tool to remove the riser. Turn the wall fitting one full turn into the wall, but leave it at about the 11:00 position. Slide your riser back in. Now turn the riser up to 12:00.
Step 3: "Measure" and Add the Horizontal Tube
I knew I wanted the shower head about 25" from the wall. I measured and marked the spot on the ceiling with a tape measure and pencil. You can put the shower head where you feel good about it. I suggest about 1/3 the length of your tub, if it is a typical tub installation. Mine just worked better at 25".
Assemble the drop-ear fitting onto the remaining section of tubing. Take the 'assembly' into the bathroom and hold the drop-ear next to the elbow at the top of the riser. Now mark the tubing where it meets your pencil mark on the ceiling.
Using the same method as on step two, mark 7/8" past your first mark. This is your cut line. Cut with your tubing cutter and debur.
Back into the bathroom, and fit the horizontal assembly into the top elbow of the riser. It will be a little loose, but don't worry about it. Make sure the riser is near vertical, and the horizontal section is perpendicular to the wall. I eyeballed this, as it is not critical if you're off by a bit. Make sure it looks right. Mark the ceiling where the drop-ear fitting holes are. I used the two on the 3:00 and 9:00 position of the fitting. Put your hollow wall anchors of choice into the ceiling, and screw the drop-ear fitting firmly against the ceiling.
Not done yet ... Now, take a tubing clamp and position it about 1/3 of the way from the wall. Mark the position of the holes in the ceiling. Put two more hollow wall anchors in place and screw the tubing clamp snug, but not so tight that it bends the tubing.
With the tubing secured, now take the 1-1/2" black pipe nipple, teflon tape the threads, and thread it into the drop-ear fitting. Use your adjustable pliers to give it one more 1/8 to 1/4 turn past hand tight.
Step 4: Add Your Shower Head
Final step, and not so much to say here ... check the instructions of your shower head. If the female threaded section is plastic, you should not use teflon tape for the joint (plumbers of the universe, unite, and disagree with me if needed). Thread on the shower head to the pipe nipple to hand tight. That's it!
Turn on the water and check for leaks.