Super Showers – Get Wetter, Better!

Super Showers – Get Wetter, Better!

Did you ever want that incredible showering experience? Well here are some tips, tricks and ideas to making sure the new shower you build will give you the ultimate showering experience.

Shower Heads: Today I find a great shower has two shower heads. A rain or pressured rain style for the upper main is great combined with a multi-function handheld on an adjustable bar. This will allow you to use the handheld for neck, lower back or even a second person.

Body Sprays: For the extreme user wanting a complete wet massage experience, body sprays do it. The most important thing to body sprays is position and this ends up being the greatest error where the end user ends up hating them. Every person has different massage pressure points they like so placement of the heads needs to be measured case by case.

Valves and Controls: At a minimum we always recommend using a valve body that will control temperature and pressure separate. This will allow the user to slow up the pressure if needed without lowering the temperature. The next level is to use a full flow thermo-static valve and separate shut offs for each head/spray. This arrangement will give the best flow and pressure.

Drains: There are more decorative choices to use than the ugly white /chrome round drain. Ebbe makes an inexpensive 4” x 4” drain in nine finishes and many styles. California Faucets makes great looking square drains for around $300. Linear drains come in many configurations, look great and give you the ability to use a larger format tile on the shower floor.

Grab Bars and Seats: Shaving legs, temporary injury or just very tired, grab bars and seats are useful to everyone and are made today in very attractive decorative configurations and finishes.

Steam: I have always been fond of steam especially for people with sinus and breathing issues. If you never tried using steam, find a place to try it out – maybe a gym or hotel. The steam area needs to be vapor proofed prior to tiling, sized to the cubic foot area, sealed off and the steam head should be a safe distance from potential scalding. Always have a drainage pan under the steam unit incase of pressure release or unit failure.

Shower Doors: Frameless, semi-frameless, framed…. they all are there to control water. Frameless on smaller showers leak! If you’re ok with this they do look the best. There are a lot of very cool shower door handles and pulls that the typical shower door company may not offer; check out CRL Laurence for ideas. And last, hydrophobic glass coatings. They won’t clean the glass but they sure will keep it much cleaner than untreated glass.

Lighting: This one doesn’t need much explaining; it totally enhances the experience – just do it! Use LED – most LED recessed lights today are vapor proof, too.

Mirrors, TV and Music: I saved the best for last. To really have a great experience, use tiled-in-wall mirrors and TVs. They initially seem excessive but after having this option you will never enjoy a shower without them again. See electricmirror.com for some great choices. If you’re a music lover, add speakers and music. There are many options from the very inexpensive, $15 Bluetooth that will play wirelessly from your phone, to showerhead speakers to fully built-in systems. Or just add a Sonos speaker in the room, the sound will carry.

Follow one or more of these “Extreme Shower” tips and your showering experience will definitely be enhanced. I think if you follow all 10 of them, you might never leave your bathroom!

To Heat or Not To Heat, That is the Question

To Heat or Not To Heat, That is the Question

One of the biggest trends today in Residential construction is something we don’t see but definitely makes us feel good, radiant heating. From our Bathrooms to Kitchens to the Entire Home is has become the most requested type of primary and secondary heating today.

Radiant heating systems are nothing new, they have been around for thousands of years, they were even used it to heat the Roman Coliseum back in the gladiator days. Today most radiant systems are using either electric resistance or hot water to create the heat transferred to the radiating mass. This mass is either your floor tile, panels, sheetrock, even your wood flooring. The heat is then transferred to other objects including people which gives a more comfortable control of the room environment as opposed to hot air which warms the air and baseboards/radiators warm the air and objects but as with hot air cause a lot of air movement in the rooms. Radiant systems can be designed and used in floors, walls and even ceilings to heat living spaces.

In bathrooms and kitchens we usually install electric cabling or water tubes under the tiles to create a nice warm floor. Hot water systems have a larger heat mass in the tubes that enable them to be used as primary heat or secondary (there is another heat source in the space) heat systems. Hot water systems do require that you have a hot water source (eg. Boiler, hot water heater) and if placed in a mud floor raise the floor level a lot and in most cases cost more initially. Electric systems are sometimes easier to install, thinner, can be quicker responding and if the heating area is large enough can be primary but most times it is used as a secondary system. Most electric systems come with programmable thermostats that allow the user to precisely tailor their warming needs in order keep costs low. One company’s electric thermostat will actually calculate you electric costs based on KWH you enter. Their system can also be placed in wet areas, shower seats, walls, etc.

It is important to use a professional that understands each system, how to design them properly and guide the homeowner to what is best for them. Today most consumers are finding when planning your new kitchen, bath, basement or even new home, using radiant heat that this hidden aspect of their new project ended up being their favorite piece for years to come. Happy Heating.

Why Radiant Heat? Some of the benefits of Radiant Heat are:

1. Invisible, No radiators, no grills, no baseboards

2. Doesn’t dry the air

3. Feels good on your body.

4. Costs less to run.

5. Healthier living

6. Less air movement, cleaner environment

7. Less heating noise, almost silent

8. Better for allergy sufferes

9. Warm feet mean a warm body

10. Your pets will love it, too!