Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No Walls. No Worries. Installing a Shower Enclosure Without Wall Support


All of the clawfoot tub shower enclosures are pictured with a wall brace. I would like to install a Strom Plumbing shower enclosure but the faucet end of my clawfoot tub is not against a wall. How do I make this work?

We hear some variation of this shower enclosure question daily it seems. The inquiry often radiates drama worthy of a Golden Globe but the hand-wringing and desperation is not necessary. With a few additional parts, Strom Plumbing shower enclosures can be installed without a wall brace at the faucet end of the clawfoot tub.

Strom Plumbing clawfoot tub shower enclosures include a 12" wall brace and a 36" ceiling brace and are always pictured with the wall brace at the faucet end of the tub. The rectangular shower surround has a tee at each end of the enclosure. The wall tee at the faucet end of the enclosure has a hole on the side for a wall brace. It also has a hole in the middle of the tee through which the shower riser is installed and supported. The ceiling tee at the opposite end of the shower surround has a hole in the top to install the ceiling brace.

If you can not brace the shower enclosure to a wall behind the clawfoot tub faucet, Strom Plumbing offers a 90 degree elbow that can be used to convert wall braces to ceiling braces or vice versa. It is this elbow that provides the versatility to install a Strom Plumbing shower enclosure without a wall brace at the faucet end of the clawfoot tub. The 90 degree elbow provides two possible solutions.

The first solution is to use two ceiling braces, one at each end of the enclosure. To do this, you will need to use a 90 degree elbow with the wall tee. The 90 degree elbow will thread into the side of the wall tee so the brace can be threaded into the top of the elbow, thus converting it from a wall brace to a ceiling brace. Unless you have exceptionally low ceilings, the 12" brace that is included with the Strom Plumbing shower enclosures will not be long enough to reach the ceiling so you will need a longer shower enclosure brace in addition to the 90 degree elbow. You may be able to use the extra 12" brace to secure the side of the enclosure to the wall next to the tub. The side wall brace will provide a third brace and additional support.

The second solution is to reverse the ceiling brace and the wall brace. To do this, you will need two 90 degree elbows. One elbow will be used with the wall tee to convert it to a ceiling tee, as described in solution one. The second elbow will be used with the ceiling tee to convert it to a wall tee. The 90 degree elbow will thread into the top of the ceiling tee, thus converting it from a ceiling brace to a wall brace. FYI...You can not simply flip the shower curtain ring. The wall tee at the faucet end of the tub also supports the shower riser. If the shower curtain ring is flipped, the shower riser support will be at the wrong end of the clawfoot tub.

The 90 degree elbow works with all Strom Plumbing shower enclosures but is unlikely to work with shower enclosures from other manufacturers. Clawfoot tub shower curtain rings and shower enclosure braces are not governed by a standard that guarantees that these parts will be interchangeable. Sunrise Specialty and Cheviot Products provide their own solutions to this dilemma but that is a subject for another day.

For more information about shower enclosures, please see the Shop 4 Classics Clawfoot Tub Shower Enclosure Tips. A link is provided on each shower enclosure product page and our Help page.

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