A purpose-built shower unit offers a convenient and economical way of extending the facilities of a bathroom. Since such showers are self-contained and waterproof and take up less than one square metre of floor space, they can be built into a variety of areas: it could be the corner of a bedroom, a cloakroom, a utility room, or even an empty cupboard under the stairs. However, the purpose-built shower unit don’t really complement the bathrooms.
Some experience of home plumbing would be an advantage for this project, and at times you will need a helper. There are five main steps: extending the supplies to the site; mounting the shower tray on to a wooden plinth attached to the floor; extending the waste; installing the metal framework and sliding doors that, together with the walls of the room, make up the shower cubicle; and fitting in place the shower mixer valve that blends the hot and cold supplies, and the sprinkler head attached to this valve.
To comply with water authority by-laws a shower must be supplied with a separate, independent cold supply from the cold water storage cistern. The vertical distance from the bottom of the cistern to the shower outlet must be at least 1 metre; otherwise the water pressure will be insufficient to provide a satisfactory spray. That apart, the position of the shower will be determined by the proximity of hot water supplies and of waste pipes. Before installing the unit prepare a diagram of existing pipework.
Extending the supplies to the shower site entails laying new copper piping, which should be firmly supported at regular intervals with pipe-clips. You may be able to run part of the piping beneath floorboards, but some of it will probably have to be bracketed to a wall surface and then boxed in. How you tackle this problem will be determined partly by the site of the shower and partly by your own ingenuity.
The exact way in which the supplies are connected to the shower mixer valve will depend, in its turn, on the direction of the extended supply pipes. The shower area should be well ventilated to prevent condensation. If there is no nearby window it may be advisable to install an extractor fan in the outside wall, or at any rate an air vent.