Ceiling Mount Shower Head: Plumbing Explained

A ceiling mount shower head spraying water down.

Choosing a new shower head can be confusing with choices available such as a ceiling mount versus a traditional wall mounted model. If you’re considering making a change from a wall mounted shower head to a ceiling mounted shower head, there are a few things to consider.

Ceiling Mount Shower Heads

Unlike a traditional wall mount shower head that requires you to adjust your body to receive optimum water coverage, a ceiling mount installed directly overhead provides a wide perimeter for water coverage that comes straight down in a rain-type effect versus water spouting out at an angle the way a wall mount shower head operates.

Ceiling shower heads come in a variety of styles in durable plastic and chrome. Assorted finishes include brushed nickel, polished chrome, brass, chrome-plated, bronze, and gold.

Depending on the style you choose, you’ll have options such as the spray diameter, the number of nozzles emitting water, water pressure, and regular or pulsating sprays.

Benefits of a Ceiling Mounted Shower Head

There are several benefits to a ceiling mount shower head, which is available in two installation types. One style has the shower head installed directly, or flush, to the ceiling. With this style, there is no capability to adjust the direction of the water other than in a downward motion.

The other style shower head has a base that directly mounts to the ceiling, but it also has an extension arm that allows you to adjust the direction of the shower head to suit your preferences.

One of the most popular benefits of a ceiling mount versus a wall mount is the exceptional rinse and spray capabilities. Unlike a wall mount where you must continually adjust your position for a thorough rinsing, this isn't the case with a ceiling mount. Also, with a standard wall mount, the water pressure can be excessive as it pelts the body, whereas a ceiling mount is more soothing. Another benefit to a ceiling mount is more head room for taller people. With a wall mount, the height of the shower head to the wall is limited.

Installing a Ceiling Mount Shower Head

For standard purposes, the water line that a shower head is attached to (which may be copper piping or PVC piping) is one-half inch in diameter. In some instances, the ceiling mounted shower head you choose may require larger pipe to accommodate the shower head’s specifications. This is a question you will want to ask prior to buying the shower head.

With a wall mount model, the shower head is attached to the vertical water pipe running up the side of the wall. It's an easy installation that involves removing the current shower head from the fitting, inserting the new shower head into the fitting, and securing it.

With a ceiling mount shower head in an already established shower (not a home under construction), the plumber will determine the entry point for adding an additional water line. He may be able to access the area from the attic. If not, he will need to remove the ceiling material to have access to the area.

The plumber will have to tie into the existing water line and add a fitting for the additional piping. The pipe will then be run across the ceiling to the desired position above the shower. At this point, another fitting is installed to hold the shower head base/plate that will either be flush with the ceiling or have an extension arm. Either way, the plumber will need to secure the piping to the truss, or other means of security, to ensure the stability of the pipe, the shower head, and to keep the pipe from rattling.

Once all the parts are in place, the ceiling will need to be replaced with new material if the plumber accessed the area from below versus the attic.