Having a low ceiling can be incredibly annoying. The taller you are, the more likely your head will be hitting the ceiling. Nobody wants to take a shower in an uncomfortable hunched-over position.
Is there anything that can be done with a lower than average bathroom ceiling? Do building codes require a minimum height for a shower’s ceiling? What can be done about this issue if you are very tall or just have an incredibly low ceiling?
This article will answer these questions while pointing to the obvious and not so apparent drawbacks of a shower with a low ceiling. Hopefully, the ideas and solutions presented here will help you get rid of this problem or at least make it easier to deal with.
What Is the Minimum Ceiling Height for a Shower?
According to the building standards of the International Residental Code (IRC R305.1), the minimum ceiling height for a shower is 6 feet 8 inches.
If you are building or renovating your bathroom, you should stick to this height or make your ceiling even higher if possible. It’s better to go over the minimum height to accommodate any family, friends, or guests to your home that happen to be taller than 6 feet 8 inches.
If you built your home with a ceiling height shorter than the minimum requirement or happen to buy a home with a short bathroom ceiling, you may get into trouble with code enforcement in the future.
Drawbacks of a Low Ceiling Shower
A low bathroom ceiling will result in some uncomfortable showering. You will likely bang your head against the ceiling at first. Later once you have adjusted to the ceiling’s low height, you will likely crane your neck downward while showering. All this craning downward and hunching over can cause back and neck issues over time.
The closer your showerhead is to the ground, the more likely your water will splash all over your shower and end up on your bathroom floor. All of this splashing water can become a tripping hazard and will become a hassle with all the extra clean-up and drying you’ll have to do after each shower.
Higher Chance of Mold
A low ceiling comes with a lesser-known side effect, a greater chance for mold to grow. There will be less space above the shower curtain with a short ceiling, which gives your ceiling and walls less space to ventilate and dry. Add that with the extra water splashing everywhere, and you give mold a great environment to thrive in.
Issues with Code Enforcement
Building inspectors tend to have an eye for certain things. If you go to renovate your bathroom and a code enforcement official comes to greenlight your work, your short ceiling will be obvious. The code enforcement official will tell you to fix your ceiling, costing you money, and you will be forced to pay additional costs through fines if you do not comply.
Ideas and Solutions for a Low Ceiling Shower
Using a Different Showerhead
Certain showerheads, such as a rain showerhead, are more vertical, giving you a few extra inches of headroom over a traditional showerhead. You can also use a handheld shower unit to gain every available inch of valuable headroom.
If your ceiling is lower than your height then you will still struggle with hunching over, but you will have more options such as showering while sitting down with a handheld unit.
Installing a Smaller Shower Enclosure
Your shower enclosure may be taking up some pivotal inches of space that could mean the difference between a comfortable shower and neck or back pain. You can easily measure your enclosure to see how much space it is taking up, then shop around to find one that takes up less space.
Be mindful that while removing and installing a shower enclosure is not outside the realm of skill for your average DIY enthusiast, it is still not an easy job and could take a weekend or at least a day to complete.
Take a Bath Instead
If changing your showerhead or enclosure does not solve your problem and raising your ceiling is out of your budget, you may be best off giving up on your shower and taking baths instead.
If you already have a bath installed, you can use it or buy a freestanding tub that can be placed in your shower right under your faucet. This way, you will only have to watch your head when entering and exiting the tub, but at least you will be able to bathe in peace and comfort.
Raising Your Ceiling or Lowering Your Floor
The most effective solution to this problem is also the most expensive. Raising your ceiling or lowering your floor is by no means a DIY job.
Depending on the job’s difficulty and how many square feet your bathroom floor or ceiling has, a professional contractor may quote you anywhere between $6000 to $10,000 to complete this job, which is a lot of money.
But if you are planning on renovating your bathroom or are already in the process, that would be the best time to take on this monumental task.