Upgrading my shower head and shower curtain rod
January 23, 2012 5:23 PM   Subscribe

My shower (in a rental apartment) needs help in two ways. 1) I need to find a way to get the curtain farther out, with the complicating factor that the curtain is on an L-shaped rod (similar to this one). 2) My shower head puts out a piddly amount of water. I need one that will actually use the full water pressure available, and which is on a hose. Mefites, what do you recommend?

NB: I am a renter, and so cannot remove the current shower curtain rod.
posted by ocherdraco to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I bought a shower head from highpressureshowerheads.com. I know, I know, but they're actually quite good. I was really surprised. Even our own mathowie wrote about it. Hopefully it will connect to a hose.
posted by pete0r at 5:31 PM on January 23, 2012

I got the $19.99 shower head on a hose from Target. Best water pressure I've ever gotten.
posted by magnetsphere at 5:34 PM on January 23, 2012

In many shower heads the flow restricter can be removed. Take off the shower head, and take a look at the water path. It may include a screen (clean this) and a small plastic piece which restricts the flow of water. Remove the plastic piece...

A new low flow shower head might also fit the bill if you have an older version...they have improved greatly over the years...

Some shower curtains have magnets at the bottom. These will stick to many tubs and will pull the curtain to the tub edge at the bottom...
posted by NoDef at 6:17 PM on January 23, 2012

You can't take the current rod down.

But can you buy a tensile, adjusting shower curtain rod, put it further out, and then hang a new curtain on that?

Just don't use the existing rod, is what I am saying.
posted by misha at 6:35 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can't remove the current rod, but perhaps you could fasten another one to it.

Just blue-skying, but maybe something like this works. Let's say that rod is 2+4=6 feet long. get some stiff-but-bendable plastic pipe that's maybe eight feet long. Fix one end of the plastic to one end of the "L", then bend it around and fix the other ends together. The plastic will bow out. Method of fastening left as an exercise, but I'm visualizing something involving flat metal pieces [two at each end] with bolts as a "sandwich" to hold the rods together while fighting downward droop or rotation. Maybe you have to rig some sort of arm at the corner to add some anti-droop support.
posted by chazlarson at 6:41 PM on January 23, 2012

I think a tension rod would be easiest. They can expand to 72". Have you measured the expanse where you want it to go?
posted by misha at 7:01 PM on January 23, 2012

Why do you need to get the rod "further out," and by how much? Maybe you're just doing it wrong.
posted by rhizome at 7:33 PM on January 23, 2012

I just got a low-flow (1.5 gpm) shower head for around $20 and my God it feels like a pressure washer. I love it. The attachment seems fairly standard.

However! I will say I have had problems with pressure that had to do with the shower valve or the hot/cold valve washers degrading (so that they weren't actually turning the important bits inside.) If you're in an older building, it may be worth hassling the landlord to get a plumber out and check - it's not a hard job nor an expensive one, but it may require turning off the water to your unit so unless you have easy access I wouldn't try that on your own.)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:12 PM on January 23, 2012

If you have pvc pipe with three fittings, I think you could rig something. You'll have to measure carefully, but there's some room for minor error. Not sure what it's called, but you need 2 pipe ends like the round circular plate found screwed to the wall here. I believe you can find them in pvc plastic also, or cruise your local big box hardware for something to adapt. To lengthen and widen your space, you'll need three pieces of pipe. One for length of tub, one for width, and one for a foot support to go to the floor. These will join together with a three holed pipe joint like this. The pvc would then go to each wall, with the third length running from the outside corner to the floor.

If you only need to widen the space, you could take the pipe at the short end of the tub and attach it to the original hanger with tape for stability and skip the floor foot support.

If you didn't want to put a piece of pvc pipe in to act as a floor support, you could suspend the corner from the ceiling with a piece of rope for stability. Depends on whether or not you could find firm attachment in the ceiling joists.

Good luck.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:20 PM on January 23, 2012

I'm also not clear what you mean about getting the shower curtain "farther out." Do you mean you want the curtain farther away from the tub and out into the room? Or do you mean you want the curtain to go a greater distance around the tub itself?

if it's the latter - that was a problem I had with an l-shaped rod like that -- just get TWO curtains. One really cheap plain plastic one you put on the short leg of the "l", and one good one to go on the other leg. Overlap the shorter one and the longer one a bit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 PM on January 23, 2012

To be clear, when I say I want the curtain farther out, I want to achieve what happens with this kind of curved shower rod: "the Canopy Curved Hotel Shower Rod provides up to 33 percent more shower space than straight rods, providing you with a little more elbow room while showering."

I can't use a rod like that, because there is only a wall at one end of my tub, not both.

Basically, right now the shower curtain is touching my body the entire time I'm in the shower (both because I'm big and the tub is small). If I were able to extend it out a few inches, I would be able to move about freely without the curtain clinging to me.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:53 PM on January 23, 2012

Is the shower curtain touching you because it's billowing in when the water is running? If that's the case, you can get these air suction thingys that attach to the curtain and ensure it sticks flat against the tub.
posted by redlines at 11:04 PM on January 23, 2012

So it's an elbow-room issue. Hmmm.

Okay, how about: get a new rod that is indeed bigger than the existing one, and you use some sort of brackets to attach it to the existing rod. Then you put the curtain on the outside rod. When you move out, remove the brackets, remove the outside rod, and that's that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:15 AM on January 24, 2012

___| --> ......|
............ \___/

My apologies for the bad ASCII, but that seems to be what you're attempting to accomplish.

And if the picture is related then what's holding up the shower curtain is just a lead pipe with a hanger. Generally speaking, this can be remedied with a pipe wrench, two additional lengths of pipe, and three angled elbow pieces.

Talk to your landlord. If they have a serious issue with you changing the shower curtain then keep that in mind when it comes time to renew your lease.
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:21 AM on January 24, 2012

Basically, right now the shower curtain is touching my body the entire time I'm in the shower (both because I'm big and the tub is small).

Are you using only one curtain? Use an inner and outer curtain(s), both attached to the same rings, to prevent the Bernoulli effect from pulling the inner curtain towards your body.
posted by rhizome at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2012

Nope, two curtains. This is not billowing or the Bernoulli effect. It's a small shower. The curtain is on my body before I turn on the shower. And then, once it's wet, it clings.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:01 AM on January 25, 2012

I removed the flow restrictor, and that has made a significant improvement (though perhaps still not as much as I'd like). It at least makes me feel like the shower is more effective.

As I took my shower this morning, I realized that the L-shaped bar is narrower than the bath by an inch or so—so there's part of my problem. There's several good ideas here for how to extend it. I'll be working on those shortly.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:01 PM on January 25, 2012

I've found PVC pipe designed for "furniture use" (i.e., it doesn't have stuff printed all over it) which I think will do the trick for the new curtain rod using BlueHorse's basic plan.

I'll post photos once I've made it.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:18 PM on January 27, 2012

I've replaced the shower head with this Elephant Hi-Lo Pan showerhead, and that has solved all of the flow problems. Yay! I just took my first really good shower in this apartment since we moved in.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:30 AM on February 28, 2012

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