Why are low shower heads such a problem for tall people?

We watch Home & Garden TV shows a lot and every time we see a tall person touring Homes for Sale, they talk about low shower heads as a reason not to buy the home. I’m tall (6"-3") and always remove the shower head and replace it with a hand-held shower head unit which raises the shower head 2-3" and is generally more convenient anyhow. Does anyone have a problem with these?

I am not particularly tall, but when I run into a shower head that can’t be aimed much past my chin I find it to be a real PITA. (I see them most these days in hotels that bend over backward to be ADA-friendly, but older houses must have been for shorter people, too.)

I don’t care for hand-held shower heads - I have fitted them as alternatives on nearly every shower I’ve owned, but I prefer a fixed head for convenience. (Even the best hand-helds wobble around and point everywhere but where I want them and have the added hassles of leaking, dripping and having an extra six feet of cold water to run through, always a p-p-pleasure.)

Moving a shower head up is a hassle if the wall is a fiberglass panel or tile, and the face-mounted rigs with external valves, sliding head mounts, etc. are a hassle to keep clean and shiny and are one more damned thing to get in the way while abluting.

So yeah, low shower heads in baths that are not part of an immediate remodel would be a middling downcheck for me. OTOH, I am an experienced remodeler (through major additions) and if the bathroom was in need of a makeover, ripping in to change the plumbing around would not be a cost or ability hurdle.

Why spend the time and money doing this when there’s another house down the road / round the corner / etc where you don’t have to do this?

Because there isn’t, always. Unless any house in the vast sprawl is generically “good enough,” shower head height and kitchen tile color notwithstanding, the house any one family buys is probably going to need some changes.

Some of us can change more than a light bulb and thus look at prospective houses differently from those who have to have trades in to paint walls.

I’m a couple of inches taller, and do exactly the same thing.

Low slung heads are a pain. But if buying a new home would not be a deal breaker. Usually easy enough to replumb.

Now a standard height toilet, that’s a pain for us tall people! Give me the extended height option anytime. Much easier on the back.

I agree! One of my first projects was to replace both cheapo hard-to-flush toilets with disability-style toilets that are 2-3" higher and flush the first time, every time. I don’t think anyone ever gives much thought to toilet fixtures when buying a house so builders put in the cheapest thing available.

Toilet fixtures? Most houses that are not custom-spec, unlimited-budget builds are adorned with a few gems (“Oh, look, honey, a WOLF stove!”) and finished with as much builder’s junk as possible.

Few things delight me more than crushing a bit of tinfoil trim, accessory, fixture or fiting after I replace it with what should have been there in the first place.

Toilets are a special case, though, because they’re expensive, hard to get rid of, somewhat fussy to switch out and just sort of “invisible” except when you’re perched on them. I sold two on eBay, though. Really.

There’s a simple, inexpensive fix for the showerhead problem. I’ve had one of these for 20 years with no problems.

Simple and effective for some subset of the problem situations, yes.

First, it puts a lot of stress on the plumbing head mount. I’ve had to go into the wall and replace shower head plumbing, or at least re-anchor it, in more than one house. (Builder/remodellers: you CANNOT anchor the upper end of the shower pipe too strongly. One effing tacked-on pipe strap is grounds for public flogging. Put it behind tile or stone facing, and it’s summary execution.)

Second, it assumes you have a lot of space away from the shower head wall to move - in some showers, moving a twenty-inch arm means you’d have to duck, press against the back wall or step out. Good for a tub shower.

Third, it assumes the whole shower wall/curtain was built to adequate height. The tendency is to put the top of the glass doors or the curtain rod just a bit over the height of the wall fitting, or even a little less. Extending the head way up there means you get spray over the top of the barrier.

But it and a couple of similar fittings are great “if they work, they work” options. Still no excuse for putting the shower head fitting five feet off the ground.

Well, we don’t have to be standing under it when you turn it on, do we?

You are right, of course. Anything that means “I gotta do some work before I can use it” is a bit of a knockdown because we all would prefer move-in-ready without needing our own additional work/money, but it’s our call if we can deal with it. And as mentioned, it’s not always a simple proposition to recongifure/adapt the set-up for those who are not well-experienced at it. (still: it would not hurt to have it at least above the height of the average person)

In a more general sense I am amused by people in home buying TV shows who will make a big deal about things that are trivially replaced/addressed. You see a house being shown that’s $20,000 under the buyers’ target budget. And then they whine over things that can be addressed in one weekend with $2,000 worth of paint/trim, or replacement light or faucet fixtures. OK, I get it, it doesn’t grow on trees, but still…

You’re imagining problems where none exist. It’s been raised and lowered daily in my house for 20 years with no problems. It’s hinged. There’s little, if any, stress on the mount. It’s a 10" arm that pivots easily up and down. Usually we raise or lower it before stepping in the shower, while waiting for the hot water to reach the shower, but if we forget, then all it takes is moving your head over a few inches or taking a baby step back. If you can’t do it without contorting yourself, you’ve got worse issues to deal with than low showerheads. And with the angular water dispersion of a showerhead, you’d have a hard time indeed spraying over the top of the stall barrier. Don’t you use a bathmat? Imaginary problem solved. Or aim the showerhead slightly differently. Of course, I’m only speaking from actual experience with the unit. Your imaginary worst case scenario of course takes precedence.

All of the points I raised are ones I encountered in various houses, some mine, some those of friends. I’m glad your extension has worked so well for you.

The solution in the largest sense is for builders and remodelers to put the shower head mount up where it belongs, where it will remain for 25-40 years and thus be high enough for the many people over 5-4 that will use it. :slight_smile: