I am entertaining the thought of installing one of the rain-type shower heads in a second floor bathroom. I am trying to figure out if this is a good idea, due to the fact that the house is USDA Zone 5, with winters temps that can get below zero. My thinking is that as long as I install the water line with a little bit of pitch, the water should drain out of the line through the shower head and not freeze in the pipe.

Is my thinking correct?

Are there any other "gotchas" I should be aware of?

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    So you will have a vertical pipe from the shower valve in the wall going through the top plate and into the attic and there will be an "L" with a horizontal run (with a slight downward pitch, how?) to another "L" that will direct the line downward through the ceiling into the shower enclosure, right? If this line were barely above the ceiling joists, you could cover it with an insulating batt and remove the ceiling insulation below the pipe so that the pipe was in the heated envelope. – Jim Stewart Jul 22 '17 at 15:35
  • I do want to say that my first comment was how best to implement your idea of putting the pipe in the attic, but I think doing so is a bad idea. (Admission of bias: I am a frugal minimalist who showers with a $15 handheld shower.) All piping should be kept out of the attic if possible. Penetrations of the ceiling of the shower enclosure are a bad idea. What is height of the inside of the shower enclosure? What material is used for the surface of the interior of the shower enclosure? Does it go all the way to the ceiling? Is the ceiling tiled? – Jim Stewart Jul 22 '17 at 18:41
  • Ceiling is drywall. Surround will be 72" and will be flexstone, link – Carl Jul 22 '17 at 19:05
  • The tiled area of the shower surround will be 72" height inside, right? How high is the ceiling of the shower enclosure? – Jim Stewart Jul 22 '17 at 20:01

Is it just a shower or is it a shower / tub?

The water drains back out of a shower / tub combo stand pipe. So it would not need to be pitched for drainage.

A shower-only stand pipe will hold the water all the way up to first 90° even if it is pitched. You could add a drain valve / foot washing valve down below but you will always have to remember to drain the stand pipe after each use.

An alternative is to install a rain head shower that is entirely contained within the shower.

On the down side, these normally need the hot and cold feeds to be roughed in exactly the right distance apart and then they are surface mounted. So you would need to tear off the front wall of the shower to re do the feed pipes.

On the plus side, you would not have to go up into the attic to work and will never have to worry about it freezing.

Good luck!

  • Shower only. You make a good point here. – Carl Jul 22 '17 at 19:03

I had a situation similar to yours where I wanted to install a rain-type shower head into a second floor bathroom. I did not go up into the attic. Instead I removed the conventional shower pipe that looked like this:

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I replaced with a high reach shower pipe that looks like this:

enter image description here

To the upper end of the high reach riser pipe I added a shower pipe ball swivel unit as shown below. This adds some additional length to the pipe and allows for the shower head to be much more adjustable so it can point straight down.

enter image description here

Finally the rain type shower head was added:

enter image description here

When I originally installed the shower head I made the expensive investment in one of the double jointed extension arms as shown here but it was not able to hold up the heavy shower head in position and eventually broke. Thus I would not recommend going that route.

enter image description here

  • What you've outlined is basically what is there now. The reason for this question is because the shower area is not square... the wall where the shower head has a slope that matches the pitch of the roof, thus limiting the height of the shower head. – Carl Jul 22 '17 at 19:06
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    @Carl - If the ceiling area over where the shower head is located is sloped like the roof then it could be a challenge to get into that area to work. Often when a ceiling like that is built the sheet rock is literally just nailed on the bottom side of the rafters. – Michael Karas Jul 22 '17 at 21:29

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