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Posts Tagged ‘home improvement’

Eazy-Breezy DIY Outdoor Beach House Shower! *No Plumbing Necessary!*

Posted by Greg on November 3, 2017

An outdoor shower was on the list of must-haves even before we started searching for a beach house. Not that a bungalow near the beach had to have one before we would buy it, but we planned to install one once we found the perfect seaside escape. We did eventually find our little piece of paradise and have been making it “ours” ever since. The latest step was to add the essential outdoor shower for all of those sandy feet!

completed shower ©Jody Diehl

Our new outdoor shower. Goodbye sandy feet!

After researching the existing options, which ranged from inexpensive and flimsy (and according to reviews, leaky) to extremely expensive, we decided to build one to our own design. Jody has a knack for knowing exactly what she wants and relating that to me. I have a knack for asking questions of home improvement store personnel to find the best way to accomplish her designs. The following is the result of that effort.

First of all, we had to have a stable base and mount. The inexpensive showers had a portable base but were not very stable. The expensive ones were fastened to a stable base that had probably already existed (a deck, exterior wall, or the like). We didn’t want the shower to be too close to the house foundation so our first thought was to use a freestanding 4×4 treated post. They are durable and very stable when concreted in. They are however, pretty ugly. To resolve the ugly part we decided to cover it with a vinyl post sleeve (easily found at home improvement stores). Next, we needed to make a decision on the plumbing. We chose PVC for ease of assembly, looks, and pricing. Then came the drawing phase to determine how many and what parts we would need and how to arrange the valves so that we could use either the foot shower, head shower or both. The following was our shopping list (We prefer shopping at Lowes because they honor veterans with a 10% discount).

outdoor shower parts ©Jody Diehl

Oops! We bought one too many 90° elbows.

  • 1- 10 foot 4×4 treated post
  • 1- 8 foot vinyl fence post sleeve
  • 1- Fence post sleeve cap
  • 1 bag of redi-mix concrete
  • 1- 10 foot ½ inch PVC Charlotte Pipe (thick walled for durability)
  • 2- ½ inch PVC double sleeve type globe valves
  • 1- ½ inch PVC all sleeve type T
  • 3- ½ inch PVC all sleeve type 90 degree elbows
  • 2- ½ inch PVC all sleeve type 45 degree fittings
  • 3- ½ inch sleeve to ½ inch thread PVC fittings
  • 2- shower heads (whatever you like)
  • 1- ½ inch PVC female threaded to female hose threaded fitting (Apollo makes this one and it’s in the drip irrigation section of the store)
  • Construction screws, torx head (stronger and easier with no pre-drilling necessary).
  • PVC glue and primer pack (you need both so the combined pack is easiest)
  • 1- can of white semi-gloss spray paint suitable for plastic
  • 1- bag of ½ inch galvanized strap fasteners (we used 6 straps)
  • Teflon tape
  • Concrete pavers or other footing to stand on under shower (this of course is optional)

TOOLS

  • PVC cutter or hack saw (I didn’t use a PVC cutter because they’re a bit pricy, but they will save a lot of time, give cleaner cuts and make the cut much easier. I used a hack saw.)
  • Ladder, level, shovel, powered screwdriver, measuring tape, disposable nitrile gloves for glue application, bucket for mixing concrete

Sound expensive? Minus the paint, cutter, screws and glue (all of which I already had) the total was $69.65 after tax (with my 10% veterans discount). You can see that you too can have your very own outdoor shower for well under $100.00!

First pick the spot you want to permanently install your shower. Use a shovel or post-hole digger to dig a little over a 2 foot deep hole with a sufficient diameter to allow for the concrete. The wider the hole, the more concrete you will need. (The hole I dug was about a foot across.) Place the 4×4 post in the hole and check the depth of the hole is sufficient by standing the fence sleeve next to it. The sleeve should stand 2 or 3 inches higher than the 4×4 post. Adjust as necessary.  Mix the concrete according to instructions and fill the hole around the pole at least half full while checking with a level for straightness on 2 adjacent sides. Use bracing if it won’t stand level on its own. Let the concrete sit overnight to set up.

The next day you can fill in the rest of the hole with the dirt from digging the hole. Pack it well so the surface won’t sink later. Use a ladder to place the sleeve over the post. Don’t forget to place the cap on the sleeve first! The sleeve is 5×5 and the post is 4×4, so expect slop. We dealt with that when we mounted the plumbing and will cover that when we get there.

preassembly ©Jody Diehl

Fits together like a puzzle. Just add three connectors.

Now you can start assembling the plumbing. The following measurements are for the height we chose for our top shower head (7 feet). First cut 5- 2inch pieces from your 10 foot pipe. These will be used as connectors. Then a 6 inch, a 21 inch, a 23 inch, a 32 inch, and a 5 ½ inch piece.

I put the whole apparatus together to be sure I was on the right track – and then took it apart for the gluing process.

Follow the directions for your PVC glue kit. Be very careful when you start to glue these together to make them as straight as you can as you only have seconds to adjust them. NOTE: Any twisting after a minute or so runs the risk of not sealing properly and leaking at a later time. Start by priming and gluing the ½” sleeve to ½” thread fitting to the 6” inch piece. This will be the bottom and where the garden hose fitting will go.

hose connection ©Jody Diehl

Completed bottom hose fitting.

Prime and glue a 90 degree elbow to the other end of the 6” pipe piece. Prime and glue a 2” connector to the other end of the elbow. Set aside for now. Prime and glue a 90 degree elbow to one end of the 21” piece of pipe. Now you will have enough pipe to better judge vertical straightness. To this point straightness isn’t a concern. Here after it will be. You need to decide which side of the pole you want your garden hose fitting before you move on.  Take up the first parts with the already primed connector piece and glue it to the already primed elbow from the 21” pipe. Check that it stands straight up with the first assembly flat on the floor and the bottom angles around to the side you picked. Give it a few seconds to set up. Next I assembled the foot shower stem so I would have more area to judge straightness. To do this prime and glue a ½” sleeve to ½” thread fitting to a 2” connector piece. Prime and glue the 45 degree piece to the other end. Prime and glue a 2” connector to the other end of the 45 and then the globe valve to that. Try to keep the valve handle where you’re going to finally want it (I kept ours facing up). Prime and glue a 2” connector to the other end of the valve. Screw your shower head onto the treaded end and your ready for the next step. Prime all three ports of the T connector to prepare it. NOTE: (Look carefully at the T. See how 2 ends are pass-through and one end is tie in.). Without applying glue, put the foot shower assembly into the tie-in port of the T connector. Apply the glue to the already primed 21” vertical pipe and place a pass through side of the T connector on it so the foot shower assembly is straight out. Give it a minute to set up. Remove the foot shower assembly from the T, apply glue and reinsert it making sure it faces straight down.

foot shower complete ©Jody Diehl

Completed foot shower section

Prime and glue the 23” pipe to the top of the T connector. Prime and glue the second globe valve to the other end making sure the valve handle faces the same direction as the foot showerhead. (You don’t have choices here as the pole would interfere with operation if not facing out.) Prime and glue the 32” pipe to the top of the valve. Next assemble the top showerhead assembly by priming and gluing the last ½” sleeve to ½” thread fitting to the last connector piece. Glue that to the last 45 degree fitting and that to the 5 ½” pipe. Without gluing, put the last 90 degree elbow onto the top showerhead assembly. Apply glue to the top of the 32” pipe and put the showerhead assembly elbow onto it making sure it’s straight over the foot wash. Wait a minute for that to set up then remove the overhead shower assembly from the elbow, apply glue to the pipe and reinstall it into the elbow making sure it’s facing down. Wait 5 or 10 minutes after last glue application for everything to set up.

upper shower ©Jody Diehl

Completed upper shower assembly

Now you can attach the assembly to the pole. Here is where you deal with the sleeve slop. This will depend on which side you placed the garden hose attachment. We took it to the right as you faced the pole, so we pushed the sleeve back and to the left to put the front and right sides of the sleeve tight to the faces of the 4×4 pole underneath.

Get the right fit! ©Jody Diehl

Adjust the sleeve to the pole. Be sure to raise the hose connector section off the ground before you add the straps.

You really need someone to help with this. They can hold the sleeve and the assembly for you while you screw in the clamps. *Make sure the bottom of the shower piping is a placed couple inches off the ground so you have room to attach a hose.* Center the assembly and start screwing on the clamps. Keep them close (but not too close. 2 inches is good) to the valve fittings for stability and strength. You don’t have to overdo it just place the clamps wherever you feel you need them so the piping doesn’t move when you turn valve handles or adjust shower heads. You will need to unscrew the shower heads, apply Teflon tape and reinstall them. Also use the Teflon tape when you screw the ½” tread to garden hose fitting on the bottom.

shower strapping ©Jody Diehl

Shower strapping

Now is a great time to stand back and admire your handiwork, but you’re not quite done yet. That issue I mentioned earlier about PVC usage has to be dealt with. PVC is very susceptible to UV (sunlight). To make your beautiful work last and deal with all that purple from the primer (not to mention the printing on the pipe) you need to paint it. Not the whole sleeve, just the front pipes and clamps. That is why you use the semi-gloss paint, to match the sheen on the rest of the sleeve. Tape off the valve handles first. Carefully spray paint the pipes, clamps and screw heads. Don’t try to cover everything first coat or it will drip. Put a few coats on until you’re happy with the results. Note: give the shower assembly 2 hours to fully cure before you apply water pressure. Place your pavers, or whatever you chose, for the footing. After all, there is no sense in having a muddy base for a foot shower!

foot shower ©Jody Diehl

New foot shower!

Now you are ready to enjoy your new outdoor shower!

*This tutorial is for personal use only. No permission is given to repackage these plans and/or sell this tutorial.*

Complete outdoor shower©Jody Diehl

Completed Outdoor Shower

Bring on those sandy feet, and hands, and ears, and …

 

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Posted in Beach House Home Improvement, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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