A shower arm is a crucial component that connects the showerhead to the water line behind the wall. If you’re looking to upgrade your shower experience or solve certain issues, understanding shower arms is essential. In this article, we’ll explore the types of shower arms, installation tips, accessories, threading, finish options, length considerations, and price ranges.
Shower Arm Types
Shower arms come in various shapes and sizes to suit different needs. Here are the most common types:
Standard Shower Arm
This is the most prevalent type and is suitable for everyday use with normal-sized showerheads. It connects the showerhead to the water pipe behind the wall.
Extended (J-Shape) Shower Arm
Ideal for rainfall showerheads, the extended shower arm is approximately 16 inches long. It moves the water away from the wall to prevent puddling and provides more room for cleaning.
Flexible Shower Arm
The flexible shower arm is perfect for families with varying heights or shared bathrooms. It allows you to raise or lower the showerhead quickly, ensuring comfort for everyone.
Gooseneck (S-Shape) Shower Arm
The gooseneck shower arm raises the showerhead, making it more convenient for taller individuals. It’s also a great solution if the initial shower arm access point was set too low.
Adjustable Shower Arm
An upgraded version of the flexible shower arm, the adjustable shower arm is suitable for homes with significant height variations. It offers more flexibility and customization options.
Ceiling Mount Shower Arm
This type of shower arm comes straight from the ceiling and is commonly used with rainfall showerheads. It provides a unique showering experience.
3 Installation Tips
Installing most shower arms is a straightforward process. Here are three essential tips to ensure a successful installation:
Channel Locks or Wrench: Use these tools to grip the shower arm and tighten or loosen the fixture. Remember to protect the shower arm’s exterior with a thick rag or cloth to avoid scratching it.
Teflon Tape: Also known as PTFE tape, apply it to seal the threads and prevent water leaks at each end of the shower arm.
Screwdriver (Optional): If the showerhead has been removed, using a screwdriver in the shower arm helps provide additional leverage for easier removal and installation.
There are a few small pieces of hardware that may be attached to the shower arm:
Flange: Included with most new shower arms, the flange prevents water from seeping back into the pipe and provides a more elegant appearance. It is typically mounted to the wall using caulk or plumber’s putty.
Diverter: A diverter is installed on the shower arm to switch the water flow between two showerheads if desired.
Mount: For handheld showerheads, a mount is provided to rest the showerhead on the shower arm when not in use.
All shower arms adhere to the 1/2″ NPT (national pipe thread) standard size. This means that you can confidently purchase any shower arm online or in-store, knowing that it will fit. NPT is a U.S. standard for tapered threads used on pipes and fittings.
When selecting a shower arm finish, consider matching it with the same finish as your showerhead. Options range from brushed nickel and stainless steel to chrome and more. Choose a finish that complements your bathroom’s aesthetics.
The length of the shower arm depends on factors such as the type of shower arm and the showerhead you plan to install.
Standard or Adjustable Shower Arm: A standard or adjustable shower arm does not need to extend more than 6 inches, as the showerhead will be pointed towards the person.
Extended Shower Arm for Rainfall Showerheads: If you’re installing an extended shower arm for a rainfall showerhead, it should extend at least 18 to 24 inches. This positioning ensures that the showerhead is far enough from the wall for comfortable bathing. Ideally, the shower arm should be centrally located over the shower drain.
Shower arms are available in a wide price range, from $15 to $200. The price is influenced by factors such as craftsmanship, brand, country of origin, and the materials used. Consider your budget and specific requirements when choosing a shower arm.
A Quick Note on Shower Columns
Shower columns and shower arms are two distinct types of bathroom fixtures. Shower arms connect the showerhead to the water pipe, while shower columns are complete units containing a showerhead, wand, and sometimes an adjustment lever.
Understanding shower arms is crucial when it comes to enhancing your shower experience. We hope this article has provided you with valuable information about the types of shower arms available, installation tips, accessories, threading, finish options, length considerations, and price ranges. Choose the right shower arm based on your needs and enjoy a satisfying shower every time.