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Choosing the right shower tap

If you’re working on a project which involves an indoor or outdoor shower, choosing the right tap is crucial.
The shower tap controls the water pressure, and we all know that without the ideal water flow, a shower experience can be ruined. The same goes for the temperature and flow configuration of the water. Keep in mind that there are regulations requiring that showerheads use no more than a certain amount of water per minute at a standard pounds per square inch pressure to ensure that showers are eco-friendly.

The parts of a shower tap include the shower head; hot and cold water pipes and their respective mixer taps; the valve; the cartridge; the strainer and pan. They can also include a shower column. In this guide, we will focus on shower mixer taps, shower heads and shower columns for indoor or outdoor uses as well as for home or commercial projects. Read our guide to gather some decision-making information to help you in your search.

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  • How to choose the right shower tap ?

    There are several points to consider when searching for the right shower tap, notably whether it’s for an indoor or outdoor setting.
    It’s helpful to know what types of shower heads, shower columns, installations and materials are available as you will want to choose the one that best fits the shower in question.
    Be sure the characteristics that peak your interest also fit harmoniously with the shower. Continue reading our guide for more information.

    • Shower mixer taps
    • Tap installations
    • Shower heads
    • Shower head installations
    • Shower columns
    • Materials
    • Other characteristics
  • What are the different types of shower mixer taps?

    There are three types of shower mixer taps: a double-handle mixer, a mechanical mixer or a thermostatic mixer.
    Contrary to the bathtub tap, the shower tap does not have a spout, but a fitting on which the shower hose is screwed or clipped.
    On the plumbing side, shower valves control the water flow of the shower tap.

    • The double-handle shower mixer has two handles, one for the flow of cold water, the other for hot. This option is less economical as it requires additional time to obtain the desired temperature.
    • The mechanical mixer has a single lever or knob used to control both hot and cold water on one axis and the flow of water on another. It is easy to control one-handed, but the desired water temperature still needs time to be obtained.
    • The thermostatic mixing valve is equipped with two controls: one regulates the flow of water, the other manages the temperature. The desired water temperature can be set and maintained. The temperature is usually blocked at a certain degree in order to limit the risk of burns, which is especially important for children. It also has an anti-scald system which cuts the hot water if the cold water accidentally shuts down, from a pipe breakage, for example.

    Note that the setting of a thermostatic mixing valve requires only 2 liters of water compared to 8 liters for a mixer.
    Certain thermostatic mixing valve models have a flow limiter, increasing water savings by delivering only the necessary flow.

    Double-handle shower mixer taps by GUGLIELMI

    Double-handle shower mixer taps by GUGLIELMI

    Mechanical mixer tap by Remer Rubinetterie

    Mechanical mixer tap by Remer Rubinetterie

    Thermostatic mixer tap by DANIEL RUBINETTERIE

    Thermostatic mixer tap by DANIEL RUBINETTERIE

  • What are the different types of installations for a shower mixer tap?

    There are a number of different types of installations for a shower mixer tap; the two most common are wall-mounted and built-in taps.
    Other installations include free-standing, floor-mounted and countertop taps.
    The type of configuration you choose will largely depend on the shower itself.

  • What about the various types of shower heads?

    While there are many different types of shower heads, your choice will depend largely on your preference in style. They can come in round, square, oval or rectangular configurations. Nice options to consider include chromotherapy, built-in light, thermostatic, built-in speaker, tamper-proof and fixed shower head. The following are some of the main shower head options available today:

    • Single-head spray shower
    • Multiple shower heads
    • Rain showers
    • Body spray shower
    • Waterfall
    • Fixed shower head
    • Jets (single jet, rain jet, foaming jet, massage jet and more)
  • What are the different shower head installations?

    More than one installation can be used in the shower; for example, you might consider a ceiling-mounted shower head along with several wall-mounted shower heads to create a full-body bathing experience. Your shower head can be surface-mounted or recessed. It can also come as a hand shower.

    • Surface-mounted: This includes ceiling and wall-mounted shower heads.
    • Recessed: This shower head is integrated into the ceiling.
    • Hand showers: This shower head is connected to a flexible hose and mounting bracket.
  • What should I know about shower columns?

    Instead of choosing a mixer, it is also possible to install a shower column, a wall-mounted panel also known as a shower tower.
    Columns can take the form of a simple bar or the bar can be hidden within an aesthetic “shell”, the panel. The column can house body sprays, massage jets, a shower head and a handheld shower. Although nice for indoor showers, this can be a great outdoor option.
    The hydromassage column integrates massage nozzles at every level running up the panel, a more expensive yet luxurious solution. The column comes in four types: standard, thermostatic, electronic, self-closing. Additional options include a handheld shower, foot shower, integrated light, LED.

    • Standard: This refers to either the shower mixer or mechanical mixer. See shower mixer taps above.
    • Thermostatic: Refer to the thermostatic mixing valve as a shower mixer tap option.
    • Electronic: The electronic regulation using a thermostat allows for a precise and personalized control of the temperature and pressure of the water. The automatic detection cell delivers the right amount of water and thus prevents unnecessary water waste.
    • Self-closing: The water flow is released with the touch of a button, stopping automatically at a certain time. This is often seen in locker rooms, for example. It’s a great water-saving option.
  • What should I know about the different materials for shower taps?

    Most shower taps are made from metal, but you can find them in ceramic, plastic, glass, composite and concrete as well. The three main metals used are brass, steel and zinc.
    You’ll want to look into the pros and cons of each before selecting.

    • Brass is a strong material so brass taps can last for years. It’s resistant to soft-water corrosion and hard-water calcification.
      • PRO: Durable
      • PRO: Unlikely to leak or corrode
      • CON: A bit expensive
    • Stainless steel is similar to brass, except a good stainless steel tap is more expensive than a brass one.
      • PRO: Durable (if on the higher end)
      • PRO: Unlikely to leak or corrode (if on the higher end)
      • CON: Good quality is more expensive than brass
    • Zinc and zinc alloy are not expensive; however, they are also not very durable.
      • PRO: Not expensive
      • CON: Not durable
  • Other characteristics and trends to consider

    Integrated lighting is one of the hottest trends at the moment for the bathroom, so you might want to consider the option of integrating lighting in the tap.
    Other characteristics to look into are the pull-out spray; diverter; shut-off valve; water-saving and energy-saving options; long spout; swivel spout; for handicapped; long-handle and check valve.

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