Dear Ed: I have been saving for this year to remodel my bathroom featuring a large custom shower stall. Now that the new year is here, to begin my planning for the shower, what tips and new product info can you give me?

— Brian, New York state

Dear Brian: When planning such a shower stall, the good news is “custom” means how you want it. So you can make the job as simple or as complicated as you like.

First, I suggest checking local water use codes and/or meet with your local inspectors. Then you’ll know what your area will allow for custom shower plumbing and shower fixtures. Early information makes planning for any remodeling job easier.

For new products, a lot of rain head showers have been redesigned with new efficiency features. One type is a real rain-style fixture that saves up water in a reservoir and with the push of a button delivers a burst of warm summer rain.

But again, check local codes before installing any shower fixture to avoid a storm of trouble

 Dear Ed: Since we’re remodeling our master bathroom I thought I’d put my creative side to the test. I want it to be a relaxation room as well as a bathroom, highlighted with a soaking tub. Can you guide me with some soaking tub info?

— Patty, Oklahoma

Dear Patty: Soaking tubs are usually smaller and deeper tubs that seat two people comfortably. Perfectly square or round shapes are the most popular choices.

Now here are some bells and whistles you can add to your soaking tub.

In place of vigorous whirlpool jets, champagne bubble massage systems can be your best soaking choice.

Keeping the water warm is important as well. Look for tubs with built-in heaters.

For visual relaxation, chromatherapy provides soothing lights that slowly change water color.

Finally, some soaking tubs are wired for sound to gently vibrate the water — I’m sure that option will brings music to your ears.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write

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