What Size Pex for Shower: Choosing the Best Option

Are you taking on a shower re-piping project and wondering what size PEX for a shower would work? PEX pipes (cross-linked polyethylene) have replaced copper and galvanized steel pipes in new homes and remodeling projects. 

What Size Pex for Shower

If finding the right PEX size for your shower is on the top of your to-do list, a 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch PEX should suffice for most main plumbing lines. Follow this guide to determine which size PEX is best for your shower. 

Common PEX Pipe Sizes

The size of the pipe you use matters. Homeowners often wonder whether they should go with the 3/4-inch or 1/2-inch PEX. Distinguishing between the sizes can feel challenging when you don’t have a complete understanding of the differences. 

For residential use, PEX tubes range from 3/8-inch to 1-inch in diameter to accommodate your fixture’s water pressure.

You have likely seen the signature blue or red colored PEX pipes online or in the plumbing aisle of your local home improvement store. Before buying your materials, you need to know the basics for installation, like the size. These are the three common PEX pipe size categories:

  • 1/8-inch pipe: Ideal for water supply lines with a single fixture.
  • 1/2-inch pipe: Common for supplying water to appliances like a dishwasher, bathroom sink, and toilet.
  • 3/4-inch pipe: Accommodates water supply for hot and cold water with increased pressure. This size is ideal for showers, sinks, washers/dryers, dishwashers, and more.

PEX Pipe Lengths

Most home improvement stores carry PEX pipes in tubing lengths ranging from 100 feet up to 500 feet long. The longer pipe lengths of PEX are most suitable for running many supply lines from a single point in a manifold system. Shorter coils of PEX pipe are best for minor repairs and easier for beginners or DIY-ers to navigate.

Why PEX Size Is Important

Installing the right PEX size for your shower is crucial. When it comes to water flowing in the pipeline, the size and water pressure depend on each other. What happens when you install the wrong size? It results in an increase or decrease in water pressure.

What Size PEX Is Best for a Shower? 

Don’t worry! Installing PEX pipes are DIY friendly. Finding the right size is easy to determine to ensure proper water flow in your shower. A simple solution to match up your existing water supply line is to use a PEX of the same size. For example, replace your 1/2-inch with a 1/2-inch PEX. For 3/4-inch lines, you’ll want to replace them with a 3/4-inch PEX. You get the point! 

Experts confirm that using a 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch PEX should suffice for most of your main lines. This size also applies to a showerhead and handheld shower in your bathroom. A dual shower system will most likely use 3/4-inch PEX. You can always check with the product manufacturer for the best results.

What To Consider When Choosing PEX Pipes

Whether you’re new to plumbing or experienced in the trade, it is important to know what factors to consider before installation. Below, we will break down each aspect in more detail. 

Diameter

The diameter is the dimension size given by the manufacturer and is also known as copper tube size (CTS). As discussed, PEX tubes range from 3/8-inch to 1-inch in diameter to accommodate your fixture’s water pressure. 

Manifold Compatibility

PEX manifolds keep track of the temperature and control the flow r to help distribute hot and cold water. You can buy pre-assembled manifolds that are ready to install. 

Water Pressure

Water pressure and pipe size go hand in hand. When you install it correctly, PEX pipes help resolve low water pressure so users can experience safer, cleaner water. After installation, always check the water pressure to ensure all the connections are tight and leak-free. 

Outlet Distance

Check out the distance from your bathroom shower fixture to the manifold system. This knowledge will help you reduce problems with water pressure and other inconveniences. You should try to use wider PEX tubing if you want the best water pressure if there is a great distance between the manifold and the fixture. For example, a 1/2-inch PEX pipeline provides enough water pressure for a distance of 350 ft. 

What Areas Have Approval for PEX Piping?

You can use PEX piping in residential and commercial properties for hot and cold water supply. It is often a popular choice for running water to new bathroom fixtures, remodeling projects, and re-piping.

Other areas of approval include: 

  • Building services pipes
  • Municipal water service lines
  • Radiant panel heating systems
  • Baseboard heating systems
  • Ice/snow melting systems

Pricing

PEX pipe is the more affordable option with minimal labor costs due to easy installation. It costs approximately $0.50 – $2 per foot and is less than copper at $2 – $4 per foot. Overall, you can save thousands of dollars for an all-inclusive job. 

FAQs

No one wants to see their shower plumbing go down the drain, and a DIY installation can lead to many questions for homeowners. It is best to be ready to handle or avoid possible problems when plumbing with PEX tubing. Check out these popular PEX-related questions and answers. 

Does PEX corrode?

PEX can endure in most environments without corroding, which can happen with copper and steel pipes, leading to leaks and water supply contamination. Due to its durability, PEX piping should last at least 25-50 years before requiring a replacement.

Does PEX size affect water pressure?

Water pressure and pipe size go hand in hand. When you install it correctly, PEX pipes help eliminate low water pressure so users can experience safer, cleaner water. After installation, make sure the water pressure is tight to prevent leakage.

Is soldering required for PEX installation?

No. You use mechanical fittings to connect the different parts for PEX instead of soldering. Therefore, you don’t have to fear a fire hazard or injury during the installation. 

Is PEX sensitive to heat?

Yes, PEX is plastic, so it melts. We advise that you keep your PEX pipes away from heat. Code requirements suggest a distance of at least 18 inches from a water heater. You should also keep your piping away from other areas like a furnace, wood-burning stove, and all other hot surfaces.

What size PEX should I use for a shower?

A 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch PEX should suffice for most of your main lines. This size also applies to a showerhead and handheld shower in your bathroom. A simple solution to match up your existing water supply line is to use a PEX of the same size. 

Is PEX installation suitable for DIY?

PEX pipes are quick and easy to install when you follow the directions. Many have completed this bathroom project with the right supplies and following a DIY YouTube video.

Final Words

Now that you have a guide, you can decide which size ranging from 3/8-inch to 1-inch in diameter is the best PEX size for your shower. After you select the right size for your shower, you can secure the PEX pipeline. 

If you still need help, you can always consult a professional plumber. If you accept the challenge and feel confident tackling this project, get ready to check this task off your DIY list. There’s nothing better than a shower with good water pressure. Except maybe if you know that you installed it yourself!

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