The Ultimate Guide to Shower Valves

This week on the Tap Warehouse blog, we’ve decided to host a masterclass delving deep into the expansive world of the shower valve.

There are a range of options when it comes to selecting the right shower valves for your bathroom setup – it’s not always as simple as you think it may be!

So, stick with us and, by the time we are done here, you will know exactly how to differentiate your concealed thermostatic shower valve from your 2 way shower diverter valve. You will also have come face to face with some of the very best shower valves of every variant, which by the way populate our expansive online store in the hundreds.

For shower valves explained, there’s nobody better than the Tap Warehouse team! We’re pretty confident in saying there’s nowhere else you can find as much information on tap – so let’s get right down to business…

Concealed Shower Valves

The first kind of shower valve that we shall inspect are known as concealed shower valves. They are called this because, while the controls themselves are obviously fitted on the outside of the wall for full accessibility, the remainder of the unit is hidden away behind your bathroom wall.

The result is a slick and subtle shower valve presentation that makes the concealed shower valve a very popular shower valve, concealing all of the plumbing that those with an eye for a minimalist décor will be looking to tuck away.

These concealed shower valve units are also a relatively modern development, and no doubt you will see them in show bathrooms everywhere, as well as most modern and contemporary homes. And rightly so, with so many excellent examples featured!

First, we suggest you check out our Crosswater Dial Central 2 Outlet Concealed Thermostatic Shower Valve in Landscape for just £369.99. A sublime piece, this Crosswater production is as much of a work of minimalist art as it is concealed thermostatic shower valve.

If you’re looking for a concealed valve for your shower with great vertical versatility, you need look no further than this Butler & Rose Victoria 2 Outlet Concealed Thermostatic Shower Valve available for a humble £149.99. This thermostatic concealed shower valve offers a traditional handled design and can be flipped to your personal preference.

lever-concealed-shower-valves

Last of our concealed shower valve examples is the Flova Liberty 2 Outlet Concealed Thermostatic Mixer Valve with Easyfit SmartBOX in Oil Rubbed Bronze, one of the market’s leading shower valves and available for £454.50, which we believe is incredibly reasonable – just look at this thing!

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The contemporary design and breathtaking colouration alone justify the pricing yet, as with everything in the new Flova Liberty range, you get so much more – including a 10 year warranty on all of that beautiful brassware! Not to worry, that won’t be the last of Flova Liberty you see in this article…

This trio of statement concealed shower valves are each simply stunning, addressing three price points and promising to bring a whole lot of designer flair to your new bathroom.

Exposed Shower Valves

Now, we flip shower valves on their heads and progress from concealed shower valve units to their older yet by no means less glamorous sibling – the exposed shower valve.

The difference, as you can imagine, is that the connecting works of the shower valve to your home’s plumbing are more or entirely visible. Sometimes this is not desired, sometimes this only furthers your bathroom’s style.

A common exposed shower valve variant is the bar shower valve, and so that is the first example we have chosen to introduce of our trio of exposed shower valve favourites.

This Crosswater Exposed Thermostatic Shower Valve can be yours for just £149.99 and is a firm customer favourite, often selected for fitting to every shower throughout a home due its value, sleekness and versatility. Its bar design is slick and modern, while a built-in thermostatic safety stop at 38°c enables your family to shower safely and without fear of scalding.

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Next, we introduce a firm Tap Warehouse team classic, and that is this Butler & Rose Elizabeth Exposed Thermostatic Traditional Shower Valve.

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Even cheaper at £119.95, this chromed exposed shower valve boasts a traditional crosshead design that looks right out of a vintage home, yet features all of the latest design components that have established Butler & Rose as one of the out-and-out shower valve innovators. A fantastic single outlet shower valve with flow control operated via a traditional lever – this right here is as classy and affordable as it gets!

Last, a serene blend of traditional and modern bathroom aesthetic can be more than achieved with this Hudson Reed Black Topaz Twin Exposed Thermostatic Shower Valve in Chrome and Black. For just £211.99, you can pick up this absolute beauty of an exposed shower valve and finish off your unique bathroom in true Hudson Reed style.

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The revealed piping of the exposed shower valve offers a useful design flair to bathroom designers that are keeping to a traditional vibe – or those looking to create a bathroom décor exhibiting a beautiful melding between modern and traditional componentry. As you can imagine, this latter option is becoming ever more popular.

Thermostatic Shower Valves vs. Manual Shower Valves

While each of the shower valve variants we have shown you so far have been thermostatic radiator valve types, there is a type known as a manual shower valve that is incredibly popular for its ease of use and simplicity.

So, manual shower mixer versus thermostatic… let the battle commence!

A thermostatic shower valve has been intelligently designed to maintain a constant and comfortable temperature, and will actually limit the heat of the water if it senses the flow about to go dangerously above a preset temperature. That’s how our lovely Crosswater unit here maintains its child-friendly temperature settings.

On the other hand, the manual shower valve has one lever that manually controls both the water flow and the temperature of the flow. These are one of the more popular shower valve options that you will encounter, and likely feature throughout home that are not sculpted entirely from the highest luxury.

The pivoting control of the shower valve lever enables the perfect balance of water pressure and temperature and is more than enough for most secondary bathrooms.

manual-concealed-shower-valves

You can find such a manual shower valve design in customer favourites like this Crosswater Atoll Manual Shower Valve with Diverter (above) at £162.99 or this Flova Liberty 2 Outlet Concealed Manual Mixer Valve with Easyfit SmartBOX (below) in that same, iconic oil-rubbed bronze and quite the bargain at £238.50.

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However, we can all be forgiven for wanting something a little special when it comes to the showpiece shower of the home, or for requiring a valve with more than a single manual lever…

Diverter Valves

Now we take it one step further and examine the ever-advancing scene of the diverter shower valves. These fantastic little units are incredibly versatile and quickly rising to be the a hugely popular form of  valve we sell here at Tap Warehouse.

Diverter valves, depending on the number of outlets at play, work as intuitively as you would imagine. You will have a single handle controlling the direction of the water flow to the relevant output, whether this be a deck-mounted bath tap, shower handset or slide rail kit. You can get as creative as you (and your plumber’s skills) allow!  

For example, a 3 way diverter shower valve can be used to pipe pre-mixed, temperature-controlled water to a shower head, shower side panel tap and even deck mounted shower handset. The hot and cold taps are turned on to mix the water to your ideal temperature, followed by a turn of the diverter valve to allow the pre-mixed water flow to push-through between whichever outlets you have. “Why would you ever need that?” we hear you cry. Well, ask any dog owner and get back to us!

Shower diverter valve types are ever-increasing – you can have 2 way diverter, 3 way diverter, 4 way diverter and even an astonishing 5 way diverter valve!

If you're still a little unsure as to how diverter valves work and how you can use one within your bathroom, give our Sales team a call on 01202 556655 who will be more than happy to talk you through it.

For your 2 way diverter valve needs, we direct you to our incredible value £99.99 Sagittarius Ergo 2 Way Deck Mounted Diverter with its effortless simplicity of design for maximised performance.

two-way-shower-diverter

If a 3 way shower diverter valve is required, we often recommend the concealed valve shown here in this Flova Fusion GoClick 3 Outlet Concealed Diverter Valve, costing £324 with an attractive modern buttoned interface that displays the level of versatility available.

One diverter more and we have the Inox Brushed Stainless Steel 4 Way Diverter Valve (left) with its amazing rotational single control yet access to a potent four outlets. This is an incredible piece of engineering here and for just £299.99 is one of our best sellers.

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Then, the big daddy of them all – this Crosswater Kai Lever Wall Mounted 5 Way Diverter (right), which at £126.99 shows that you needn’t pay out the nose for five controls!

The amount of control these diverter shower valves is nothing short of unrivalled and has opened the world of bathroom renovating to new levels of innovation. Limitations to outputs are lessening by the day and your future bathroom can do incredible things when you call upon one of our diverter valves.

Digital Shower Valves

As with everything else, the world of shower valves is ever advancing and we are beginning to see even greater developments in the digital bathroom industry. Digital showers are taking the market by storm and people are switching to digital to enjoy innovative features such as fully programmable water temperature, wireless shower controllers, Bluetooth connectivity, stunning visual components that make use of mesmerising LED lighting functionality, and even more. Naturally with digital showers come digital shower valves. A digital shower valve allows you to make precise temperature and water pressure adjustments, as well as turning the shower on/off remotely so you can avoid getting wet in the process - it's almost too convenient. Almost.

Placing Your Shower Valves

Now that we’ve given you (like far more than) enough options when it comes to some of the best shower valves Tap Warehouse has to offer, it’s time to get practical. Let’s consider whereabouts we should place our new shower valves. After all, there’s no point having something that looks great if it won’t work properly.

Shower Valve Placement

So, the first and foremost element to consider is the location of your new shower valves.

This may be the first time that more than pure aesthetic quality of the shower valve variant you have chosen comes into play. And it’s about time.

Now it becomes a matter of feasibility of fitting, accessibility during maintenance and, of course, enjoyment of use. At times this results in a reselection of the shower valve, at others a complete redesign of the rest of your bathroom just to fit the glorious shower valve you simply cannot turn away!

Please note that location is especially important with the concealed shower valve which, much like a concealed toilet cistern, requires enough space in the wall behind the place it is destined to operate.

Under Pressure!

A commonly overlooked element of kitting out your new bathroom with a stunning new shower valve is the water pressure that your home plumbing can put out.

Some of our more extravagant valves require sizeable water pressures, such as 0.5 bar. Some less modern housing can feature plumbing capable of a 0.2 bar max water pressure.

Assuming you don’t want to uproot and redo your entire house’s plumbing, you will need to make sure that your selected shower valve is compatible with your home’s plumbing pressure.

Inlet Spacing and Inlet Diameter

When you have a hot and cold outlet emerging from a wall into the body of your shower valve and it must be replaced, you need to consider the shower inlet spacing set into the existing wall – and whether you wish to or even can redo that wall.

Perhaps they are family heirloom tiles, perhaps they are just rather darned expensive. Either way, you must match the diameter of the shower valves to avoid redoing your bathroom walls.

For example, if the piping is 22mm and your existing inlet is 15mm, you may have a problem. If in doubt, just reach out to us.

Non-Return Shower Valves

Another key point that we might as well point out now is that all shower valves should be fitted with non-return valves, which stops the water flow from upending and causing severe flooding to your home.

While all of the valves we have shared with you here have a non-return valve fitted, your existing ones may not. So, if you’re moving your replacements elsewhere throughout the home, passing them onto friends or family or selling – you should check this to avoid later disaster.

Your friendly neighbourhood plumber can sort you out with a non-return shower valve compatible with your valve, as can we if you wish. Once again, just give us a call if you need any help.

Sublime Styling

As more of a personal preference point to round off our placement portion of this article – you may wish to ensure your shower valves serve to enhance your overall décor rather than detract from it in any way. You think it sounds obvious but it happens a lot, trust us.

We’ve encountered many a customer who only realises in the last minutes before installation that their space-age shower valve – such as this Vado Sensori SmartTouch 2 Outlet Control with Wireless Remote for Low Pressure, a truly range-leading digitised shower valve and excellent value at £714.99 – doesn’t fit in with their red-tiled Victorian guest bathroom.

So, save yourself a whole bunch of money and stress, as well as feel like a professional interior decorator, by taking the time to maintain a singular design vision for a supreme final ambience!

Shower Valve Central at Tap Warehouse

As you might have guessed, we take shower valves quite seriously here at Tap Warehouse. They are an integral part of any bathroom and can make or break the experience your shower provides. You may not realise until you select the wrong shower valve how much of an impact that can make!

We’ve shared only a small portion of the shower valves that are available right now and at industry-leading prices on our huge online store. To check out the entire Tap Warehouse selection of shower valves, simply head right here and see what other gems you can unearth!

If you want to know anything about the shower valves featured in this article – from tech specs to aesthetic advice – then please do not hesitate to reach out to our incredibly friendly customer service team. You can do this by contacting us here!

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