This post isn’t about showerheads themselves, but the wall covering that surrounds them. Despite the fact that standard drywall is very prone to moisture problems and isn’t at all waterproof, it’s still one of the most common wall covering material used around showerheads. I see it all the time.
Ideally, nothing that isn’t waterproof, or at least water resistant, would be used in a bathroom at all. There’s simply too much water and moisture, and problems are bound to occur over time when bathrooms are constructed with materials that aren’t water-friendly.
The rule of thumb is that waterproof material (such as tile or vinyl) should extend at least three inches above a showerhead. Often times, tub showers have waterproof surrounds but the showerhead is installed right above the surround through standard drywall. Standard tub surrounds are often not high enough to extend three inches above the showerhead because people tend to prefer their showerheads to be located fairly high to allow for plenty of headroom.
If your showerhead is located above the surround and coming through drywall, you’re not likely to have waterproof material installed – especially if you haven’t had any noticeable problems. But if you’re remodeling or having a new bathroom constructed, be sure to use waterproof materials and that the area around the showerhead extends at least three inches above the pipe. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.
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