Attaching a Slide-bar Showerhead
Most baths are equipped with either a fixed showerhead or a movable, handheld sprayer. In this bath, we installed a new slide-bar showerhead from Kohler that combines the convenience and flexibility of both fixed and handheld models. The Kohler MasterShower unit consists of a 2-foot-long vertical bar that's equipped with an adjustable slide-lock mechanism. The showerhead clips into the slide-lock and is connected to the water-supply pipe with a flexible steel hose. The slide-lock allows the showerhead to be positioned anywhere up and down the bar to accommodate bathers of different heights. It can also be lifted off and used as a handheld sprayer to wash the kids' hair, rinse off feet or bathe the dog. We chose the Master-Shower ($188), which has a polished-chrome finish, to match the existing bath fixtures; it also comes in white ($268) and polished brass ($296). First, remove the existing showerhead with a pipe wrench (photo 1). Next, thread a 1/2-inch-diameter X 1 1/2-inch-long brass nipple, which costs about $1.50 at any hardware store, into the stubout in the wall (photo 2). Leave about 9/16 inch of nipple protruding from the wall. Carefully thread the chrome-plated wall supply elbow onto the nipple (photo 3), then tighten it with the pipe wrench. Cover the supply elbow with a soft cloth or use a strap wrench so the wrench jaws don't damage the finish. Press a mounting bracket onto each end of the slide bar. Hold the bar against the wall and check it for plumb with a level. After verifying that the bar is plumb, outline the screw holes in the brackets on the wall. There's no hard-and-fast rule about where to mount the bar, but it generally works best when placed 4 to 6 inches to the side of the wall supply elbow; the lowest end of the bar should be about 52 inches above the tub bottom. That placement allows you to adjust the showerhead anywhere from 52 to 76 inches high, which should accommodate most anyone using the shower. Then use a hammer and nailset to start the screw holes; follow with a drill and a 3/16-inch-diameter bit. If you hit a stud as you drill, attach the slide bar with the stainless-steel screws that are provided. If the hole falls into the space between two studs, enlarge the hole and use a hollow-wall anchor. We used Toggler toggle bolts (photo 4), enlarging the original hole with a 1/2-inch-diameter bit. With the Toggler anchors, you slide the retainer ring tight to the wall and snap off the plastic straps. Then you can attach the slide bar to the wall with 1/4-20 machine screws (photo 5). You conceal the screws by sliding the chrome-finished end caps over the mounting brackets (photo 6).
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