Adding a Hand Held Shower Head: Mistakes to Avoid

A hand-held shower head offers several advantages over a regular shower. If you have an aching back, for example, you can direct the water directly on to the spot that will benefit from the heat. It’s not difficult to install a hand-held shower head, although there are several mistakes you need to avoid in order for the job to progress smoothly.

Removing the Old Head

You need to be careful removing the old shower head, especially if you’re going to re-use it. Wrap a piece of leather around the nut before tightening your wrench; this will make sure you don’t end up scratching the metal. If there’s Teflon tape on the threads of the pipe, you’ll need to remove it before fitting the hand-held shower head.

Always make sure the water is turned off before starting work. Run the shower until there the water stops flowing.

Shower Arm

You need to make sure you attach the hand-held shower head to the shower arm as tightly as possible to avoid any possible leaks. Use Teflon tape on the threads for a much better fit. If there’s still leakage, be extremely careful when tightening further with the wrench otherwise you could strip the threads.

As with the old shower head, wrap the nut in leather or a heavy cloth. If you don’t and the wrench slips, you’ll scratch the metal which will leave it looking unsightly.

If the shower head attaches to a bracket that needs to be attached to the wall, use tape on the tiles before you drill the holes. Failure to do so could lead to the tiles cracking which means you’ll have to replace the tile. This would be a long, frustrating job that could have been avoided.

Cross T Fitting

With a cross T joint, you need to make two attachments to include the joint to the shower arm and the flexible hose of the hand-held shower head to the joint. It’s easy to forget to use Teflon tape but make sure you do asthis helps to create a perfect seal. Ensure you wrap it by turning clockwise for the best fit.

You also have to be sure you don’t overtighten the nuts otherwise you could strip the threads. Always tighten as much as possible but don’t exert too much pressure.

Tub Spout Mounting

If you have a tub spout mounting for your hand-held shower head, you’ll need to replace to tub spout first. Use penetrating oil where the spout joins the wall; this will make it a lot easier to unscrew.

With a tub spout mounting, the shower head will usually require a wall bracket. Consider whether you want to attach it high up or add a hand shower to the bath faucet. The main problem with attaching it low is that you can’t use it as a standing shower. Wherever you put it, always put tape over the tile before drilling holes to avoid cracking the tiles.


Always check the instructions before beginning the job in order to have all the correct tools on hand.