Is there a way to safely move tub/shower supply lines to exterior wall?

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Old 10-31-16, 02:20 AM
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Is there a way to safely move tub/shower supply lines to exterior wall?

I am planning a remodel of our guest bath. The layout would work better if we could reverse the tub and shower head, but it would put the supply lines on an exterior wall. Is there a safe (freeze proof) way to do this?
 
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Old 10-31-16, 02:47 AM
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Of all the walls in a house, an exterior is the worst one for plumbing. I would not recommend doing it. Unless there is a source of heat in the wall (ventilation, heat tape, etc.), you can be assured, eventually, there will be burst pipes.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 04:51 AM
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I mocked up what it looks like now. It is actually a little narrower than it shows. I would like to find a way to remove the wall in the middle to provide a more open view of the bathroom. If I was able to reverse the plumbing to the exterior wall I could do this. If that is not a possibility are there other options that could allow me to remove the wall as shown?

One caveat- The exterior window must stay and I do not want to put it in the shower.

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Old 10-31-16, 04:55 AM
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You could go with a pony/half wall.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 05:06 AM
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How do I mount the shower head on a half wall?
 
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Old 10-31-16, 05:18 AM
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The wall should stay even if you did reverse the tub. It is more cumbersome and also less attractive to arrange the shower curtain around the tub with no end wall. Or if you installed a glass shower enclosure, that will create a wall in the same place you removed the existing wall from.

If you absolutely must put pipes in an exterior wall, there should be no insulation between the pipe and the inside wall surface. Do not use fill insulation or blown in insulation or expanding foam squirted into small holes. There needs to be at least a V shaped gap in the insulation batt or insulation board or hardened foam, as wide at the inside wall surface as it is deep, following the path of every pipe.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 05:22 AM
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If I removed the wall I wanted to go with a frameless glass enclosure. So that shower wall would be replaced with glass. I just cannot find a way to mount the shower head on a glass wall.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 06:41 AM
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Is there a finished (heated) room above the tub so that piping could go in the ceiling? Ceiling showers are becoming fairly popular.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 02:35 PM
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Still has the problem of the control valve being in the exterior wall.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 02:59 PM
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Whether or not plumbing in an outside wall will freeze depends on several variables. The insulation is but one factor and how cold it gets in your area ia another.

Where I live, the Puget Sound Basin (Greater Seattle Area), the winters are relatively mild, only rarely dropping below freezing for any length of time. Because of this, piping in outside walls is fairly common. My current home has the kitchen and back bathroom piping in the outer walls. The house I grew up in had the piping in the outer walls, My brother's house had the piping in the outer walls and so do thousands of other homes. The only personal experience I have had with frozen pipes was in an unheated service porch of my brother's home AND if he had not run out of oil and let the entire house cool off even these pipes would have probably been okay.

The house I grew up in had the main water line running naked under the front porch which was ventilated to the great outdoors. One time this pipe froze, but did not break. After closing off the ventilation openings my daddy was able to thaw the pipe with just a small space heater under the porch. After that he insulated the pipe and there was never any problem.

On the other hand, any area that has the temperature drop below freezing and stay below freezing for days on end should not have piping in outer walls or ventilated crawlspaces.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 03:09 PM
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The control valve and even fill spout can be on a side wall or even where it is now if there's a low wall between the vanity and tub that would allow the fill spout to be high enough above the flood rim. Then the tub wouldn't have to be turned. Saw that done in a remodel with a similar issue another guy in the office designed that looked pretty decent.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 03:13 PM
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Good points about the expected outside temperatures. In this case the OP is located in Tennessee which shouldn't be too bad for below freezing weather.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 03:25 PM
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Can depend on where in tenn, here in east tenn we see single digit nights more winters than not. Not an every night event but rather the real cold snaps.
 
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Old 11-01-16, 01:45 AM
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I just cannot find a way to mount the shower head on a glass wall.

There is the next big thing for bathrooms! Just need to work out the small details and your rich!
 
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Old 11-01-16, 02:20 AM
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The attic is above this bath so no options of plumbing in the ceiling. A weird question- The sample photo below depicts a shower in the orientation I was thinking for my tub/shower. Could the controls and tub spout be mounted to half wall and somehow mount the shower head to the glass wall above it?

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Old 11-01-16, 03:09 AM
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The control valve could go in the low wall. It's easy enough to have a piece of glass fabricated with a hole for the pipe penetration to the shower head. But the real trick is to get the pipe and fittings going up to the shower head to look like something. Right now I'm not aware of any type of "decorative" piping that would do that; maybe it's time for some Googling. Another possibility is a narrow hollow "column" to enclose the piping, with glass panels each side. Maybe there's such a thing as a shop that would bend and chrome some stainless steel piping?? Tough problem.

BTW, here in MN where it's really cold in the winter, I would never consider water piping in an exterior wall.
 
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Old 11-01-16, 03:15 AM
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Thanks for the insight, Bruce. Even in Tennessee we don't think it a good idea to put plumbing on exterior walls. It can still freeze in our mild winters.
 
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Old 11-01-16, 03:56 AM
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Thinking about the shower and looking at the picture. If the glass was closer to the shower side of the low wall, there would be room to run a polished stainless or chrome tube from top of wall to ceiling on the other side of the glass. Then the piping goes inside the tube and a hole is cut in the tube just above the glass for the shower head pipe. Or, with some careful coordination, a hole could be cut in the tube to match a hole in the glass. I'm guessing a 1-1/2" square tube would be big enough, but would have to measure the fitting the shower head pipe screws into.

OK, I'll leave you alone now LOL! One of the things I really enjoyed about my profession was finding a unique solution to a tough problem.
 
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Old 11-01-16, 04:52 AM
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With some Google searches I came across an example of mounting directly to glass. Also, there are bath/shower combination fixtures that are all exposed similar to what you would expect in a claw-foot tub installation. In this case you would only have to attach a stabilization bracket from the shower head supply pipe to the glass.

I will dig further. Thank you.
 
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