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Plumber: Custom shower stall plumbing puts you in total control

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Custom shower stalls cost more than a standard stall, but you should end up with all the features you want.

Question: Ed: My old shower mixing valve and shower stall has reached the end. I'll need to install a totally new shower stall complete with new plumbing and fixtures. My old valve did both water flow and temperature mixing. Is that still possible?

— Jim, Michigan

Answer: You can install what's commonly called a custom shower stall. This is a shower stall designed and installed to your specifications. Usually they cost more than a standard shower stall, but you should end up with all the features you want. Meet with your plumber and/or contractor to discuss the job scope, then they'll design the stall complete with the needed fixtures to meet local codes.

As far as the plumbing valves, many custom showers include three basic controls:

1. Water on/off with volume settings for the water flow.

2. Water temperature control with safety limits.

3. Diverter valve(s) to move the water flow to different showerheads.

Nowadays you can even go electronic with push-button digital shower control valves. Some custom shower stalls can include mode lighting, and even audio systems. So you may end up rocking out in a custom shower stall with two volume controls: one for blasting water and one for blasting music.

(Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes.)

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