Showers are becoming more of a luxury item in the bathroom as people aim to create showering spaces similar to those you would find in a modern hotel or spa in their own home. This means every detail of choosing a shower can impact on the overall look and performance of your showering experience. Choosing a shower valve style for your bathroom isn’t quite as straight forward as you might initially think. There are a huge variety of shower valves now available that it can be a bit confusing as to which is perfect for you. So first things first what even is a shower valve?
What is a Shower Valve?
A shower valve is simply your shower control which has two main functions. Firstly it allows you to control the flow of the water coming out of the shower head (or accessory). Whether you like a full on powerful blast to refresh you for the day ahead or if you would prefer a gentle spray to help you unwind the stresses of the day you control this volume of water. Secondly it helps you to set the perfect temperature of this water so that each user of the shower can alter it to their ideal temperature. These valves ultimately allow you to personalise your own shower experience.
Shower valves can also feature diverters which allow you to switch between different shower heads or additional accessories such as body jets. The modern shower valves all tend to be thermostatic valves which include anti-scalding features. This automatically shuts off the water supply if the temperature exceeds a manufacturers’ pre-set temperature. This is very useful as it makes it safer for young children and means other cold water outlets can be used in the home at the same time.
Now we have explained what a shower valve is we need to explain the differences between concealed and exposed valves so that you select the most appropriate for your bathroom. To help make the decision easier, we’ve come up with this handy guide that talks you through the pros and cons of each valve type in order for you to make an informed decision.
Concealed Vs Exposed Shower Valves:
Concealed Shower Valves
Put simply, a concealed shower valve is hidden from sight behind the tiling or wet wall of a shower enclosure. Nothing is seen except for the control plate and handles which are used to turn the shower on and off. One of the major benefits of this style is its streamlined look and its capacity to hide unsightly pipe work and bulky fittings. They are also great for those that want a little more flexibility when choosing shaped wall plates and unconventional handles. Concealed shower valves will suit bathrooms looking to achieve a more minimalist contemporary feel.
Before setting your heart on a concealed design, you should first consider the recess behind your shower wall tiling and whether or not it is big enough to accommodate a concealed system. Typical measurements call for at least 100mm of depth. If you don’t have the room, you can create some extra space by building a thin tiled wall into the shower which can be used to hide the valve and keep your bathroom looking fuss free.
Another great perk of concealed shower valves is the fact that they do not have to be directly next to the shower outlet which offers increased bathroom design flexibility.
Exposed Shower Valves
As the name suggests, exposed shower valves reveal not only the valves but also the pipe work is visible within the enclosure. While the look isn’t as neat as that achieved by concealed valves, exposed styles are generally cheaper and easier to install due to the fact that it is just the hot and cold water pipes that need to be fitted into the wall.
They come in particularly handy for homes that feature solid brick walls that are simply aren’t designed to house concealed pipe work. Exposed designs are also easy to clean don’t require the unscrewing of taps in order to get to the valves. Exposed shower valves typically suit more traditional bathrooms however there are many modern styles available if this type of valve is your only option.
So which shower valve should you select? As you can see it all comes down to your personal design preferences when choosing a shower and how far you are willing to stretch your budget. If you are determined to achieve a sleek, modern look it’s advisable to invest a little more money in a concealed shower valve design. If your main focus is practicality and function, exposed valves are a little bulkier but will still do the job at a significantly reduced price. Here at Bella Bathrooms we stock a generous range of shower valves which will finish your shower off perfectly regardless of the type or style of valve you choose.