How to Install a Handheld Shower Head: the Steps

Having a handheld shower head is a great addition to your bathroom experience thanks to its flexibility. It allows you direct the water on the exact area you need with the flexible hose. Even if your bathroom doesn’t have one, you can easily add it in a few simple steps.  

To install a hand held shower head, remove the old shower head, attach the valve, attach the hose and finish with the hand held shower head itself. Always check for leaks after the shower head is put in place. The installation process depends on the type of fitting you have installed.

The main types of fittings are the standard, cross-T diverter fitting, and the tub spout diverter. Each of these fittings comes with its advantages and disadvantages and you can choose to change it if you prefer one over the other.  

Installing a Handheld Shower Head: The Steps

For this procedure, you need channel-type pliers, an adjustable wrench, a piece of cloth, plumber’s tape (Teflon tape), andHex-head screw (Allen screwdriver).

Installing the best handheld shower heads is quite simple with these tools. Your handheld shower head can be installed in the steps below with the assumption that already, you have fixtures such as the piping in place. The installation video below shows a short version of the whole process and can be used to install Moen Magnetic shower heads and many others.

Step 1: Remove the Current Shower Head/Spout 

The first step entails the following: 

a. Normal Fixture 

The current shower head should be removed with the adjustable wrench or channel-type pliers from the pipe jutting out of the wall. Protect its finish by wrapping a piece of cloth around the nut then turning the wrench counterclockwise.  

Most shower heads will be easy enough to turn with the hand after a few turns with the wrench. Doing it with the hand prevents accidental falls which may damage the shower head. 

b. Tub Spout 

If you’re removing a tub spout, you may need the Allen screwdriver. This type would be a slip-on spout and, as soon as you loosen the setscrew with the Allen screwdriver, you simply slide it out from the arm.  

If there’s no setscrew, it would be a normal threaded spout. Loosen it with the adjustable wrench then turn it counterclockwise until it comes off.  

Step 2: Prepare the Shower Arm/Spout 

After that, clean the remaining shower stem to remove any rust and debris on the threads. Wrap the threaded area with plumber’s tape to prevent leaks once you install the new setup. The tape should be tied on the threads in a clockwise direction (the direction followed by the threads towards the shower arm’s base). A single layer of threading tape is usually enough.  

Step 3: Attach the New Fitting 

The particular fixture you’ll be having is attached as follows: 

a. Standard Fitting 

The standard fitting requires the attachment of the handheld shower head onto the existing shower stem just like you would have done if you were returning the old shower head in the following steps: 

  1. Screw the base of the handheld shower head base onto the shower arm then turn it in a clockwise direction to tighten it. If it’s still loose, use the wrench to tighten it as needed.  
  1. Attach one end of the flexible shower hose onto this shower head base then attach the other end onto the handheld shower head. Ensure to place in the washers on each end of the hose for a watertight result.  
  1. If it has an independent wall bracket, mount it on the wall.  

Test it by turning on the water outlet and checking if there are any leaks. If you find any, unscrew the joint then add plumber’s tape on it then screw it back on.  

b. Cross-T Diverter Fitting 

The cross-T diverter fitting allows you add the handheld shower head by having outlets for the fixed and handheld shower heads. You may need relatively higher water pressure to operate both shower heads at the same time.  

Attach it as follows: 

  1. Screw the cross-T diverter onto the shower arm by turning it in a clockwise direction until it’s tight. You can tighten it a little further by using the wrench.  
  1. On one end of the diverter, screw on the original shower head to keep its original position. Tighten it with the hand then the wrench to get the proper seal.  
  1. On the end of the diverter fitting, screw on one end of the hose to the handheld shower head. Attach the other end of the hose to the handheld shower head and tighten it.  
  1. If the handheld shower head has a wall mount, mount it on the wall as needed.  

Test the setup for leaks by turning on the water then closing one shower head while using the other one.  

c. Tub Spout Diverter Valve 

As stated earlier on, the spout diverter can be either of the slip-on or threaded type. After its removal, purchase another one of the same type to the one you removed but with threads on the open end that allow for the attachment of the handheld shower head. Make sure you have the right shower valve height to reduce inconvenience and avoid accidents.

With the new spout, follow the steps below: 

  1. Wrap the plumber’s tape on the spout attachment then screw the spout on it till tight. If the spout is the slip-on type, attach it using the Allen screwdriver.  
  1. On the other end of the spout tub, wrap the plumber’s tap on the threads then screw one end of the shower head’s hose on it till tight.  
  1. Screw the other end of the flexible hose onto the handheld shower head and tighten as needed.  
  1. Mount the shower head’s mounting bracket on the wall as per the instructions given by the manufacturer. Test it by docking the shower head in it.  

Test the setup by turning on the water at full pressure.  

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