A shower enclosure brace usually consists of two or three pieces:
- The flange that attaches the brace to a wall or ceiling is called an escutcheon.
- The brace bar is a straight bar that is usually offered in an assortment of lengths.
- Depending on the shower enclosure, the brace may include a clamp to attach the brace to the shower curtain ring. Other shower enclosures assemble with the use of tees. Braces for these enclosures thread into tees at the ends of the enclosure and, therefore, no clamp is included with these braces.
The shower enclosure brace bar is designed to be cut with a tube cutter. The position of the shower curtain ring is adjusted by modifying the length of this bar. The brace bar is threaded at one end. Always cut from the end that is NOT threaded. Depending on the manufacturer, the bar may thread into the escutcheon or it may thread into the tee/clamp. The opposite end (unthreaded end) of the bar is secured with a set screw. Again, it will depend on the manufacturer whether the set screw is part of the escutcheon or the clamp.
Shower enclosure kits usually include two or three braces with the kit. Shower curtain rods may not include any additional support. If greater stability is desired, additional shower enclosure braces are available for most shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods.
The first thing that you should know before purchasing additional shower enclosure braces is that not all shower enclosure braces are the same. Shower curtain rings and rods are not governed by a universal standard that guarantees that all tubing is the same. If shower enclosures and rods aren't subject to industry standards, it then reasons that the braces required to support them also are not standardized.
Extra braces attach to the shower ring or rod with a clamp. Shower enclosures that assemble with tees include braces without clamps (as described above) but any additional braces for even these enclosures attach with a clamp. The clamp allows the brace to install almost anywhere along the length of the rod. Because the clamp attaches to the curtain rod and curtain rod tubing comes in different sizes, it is important to make certain the clamp fits the shower rod diameter. The most common tubing for shower curtain rods is 1" outside diameter. The tubing for clawfoot tub shower curtain rings is typically 7/8" outside diameter or 3/4" outside diameter.
While additional supports provide stability, it comes at a price. Their financial expense generally isn't significant but each additional brace clamped to the shower curtain rod creates another obstruction for the shower curtain. Shower curtain pins won't slide past a shower enclosure brace. If the enclosure only has two braces, the curtain can be hung split around one brace so that both ends of the curtain can then be pulled around the perimeter of the shower curtain ring to the opposite brace. If more than two braces are used, there may be sections of the curtain that do not move. Multiple shower curtains can also be used but this can result in gaps. Your goal should be to use as few shower enclosure braces as possible to prevent interference with the shower curtain yet still provide adequate support for the shower enclosure.
If all this talk about shower enclosure braces did not provide the adrenaline rush you anticipated, we still have not addressed irregular shower enclosure installations. Tall ceilings, vaulted ceilings, the absence of adjacent walls, skylights, windows, and other engineering predicaments can complicate the installation of shower enclosure braces. Many shower enclosure manufacturers offer adapters to solve shower enclosure brace installation problems. Angled ceiling adapters replace the shower enclosure brace's escutcheon to allow for vaulted ceilings. Couplers can be used to join two brace bars end-to-end to create a longer shower enclosure brace. Wall braces can be converted to ceiling braces (and vice versa) with the use of elbows. The thing to remember when solving shower enclosure brace installation problems is that there is no uniform code to ensure that every adapter will work with every shower enclosure brace. Check specifications and instructions carefully.
Shop 4 Classics offers shower enclosure braces and brace adapters for shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods from Sign of the Crab, Sunrise Specialty, Elizabethan Classics, and Cheviot Products. Visit Shop 4 Classics for our complete catalog of shower enclosures, shower enclosure braces, and shower enclosure brace adapters.