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Concealed VS Exposed Shower Valves: A Comprehensive Guide for Your Bathroom Upgrade

When embarking on the design or renovation of your bathroom, the selection of the perfect shower valve becomes a pivotal decision. Two prominent choices that you’ll encounter in your search are concealed and exposed shower valves. Each option has its unique advantages and considerations, so delving into their disparities is crucial for an informed decision. In this article, we’ll delve into the distinctive features, benefits, and potential drawbacks, empowering you to choose the ideal fit for your needs.

Concealed Shower Valves: Embracing Sleek Sophistication

Example of a concealed shower valve

Concealed shower valves are seamlessly integrated behind the wall, presenting only the control plate or trim to the eye. Here’s why concealed shower valves might be the perfect choice for you:

  1. Aesthetics: Homeowners often gravitate toward concealed valves for their sleek and minimalist appearance. Without visible pipes or connections, they deliver a clean and uncluttered look that elevates the overall design of your bathroom.
  2. Space-saving: Concealed valves contribute to space optimization in your shower area. By eliminating exposed pipes and valves, you gain flexibility in positioning other bathroom fixtures, such as shelves or towel racks.
  3. Temperature control: Many concealed valves feature separate controls for water temperature and flow rate, allowing for precise adjustment and consistent temperature control—ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable shower experience.
  4. Easy cleaning and maintenance: Thanks to their streamlined design, concealed valves are relatively easy to clean and maintain. With no exposed pipes or connections, cleaning becomes a breeze, with fewer areas for grime or residue to accumulate.

Exposed Shower Valves: Classic Charm and Practical Accessibility

Contrary to concealed shower valves, exposed shower valves proudly display all plumbing components on the wall’s surface. Here’s why you might find exposed shower valves appealing:

  1. Easy installation: Exposed valves are generally quicker and easier to install compared to concealed ones. With all plumbing connections visible, access is straightforward, making installations and repairs less complex.
  2. Retro appeal: The classic and traditional look of exposed valves adds charm and character to your bathroom. Particularly suitable for vintage or period-inspired designs, where exposed pipes become a distinctive feature.
  3. Cost-effective: Exposed valves are often more budget-friendly than concealed ones. The simplicity of their design and installation process typically leads to lower overall costs.
  4. Accessibility: The visible knobs or levers of exposed valves make controls easy to access and adjust, making them a practical choice for individuals with mobility limitations or disabilities.
Example of an exposed shower valve

Factors to Consider in Your Valve Selection

  1. Bathroom Design: Align your choice with the overall style and theme of your bathroom. Opt for concealed valves for a modern and minimalist look, while exposed valves can provide that desired retro charm for traditional or vintage designs.
  2. Space Constraints: Evaluate the available space in your shower area. If space is limited, concealed valves can help optimize it. However, with ample space, you have the flexibility to choose between the two options.
  3. Accessibility and Ease of Use: Consider the specific needs of the users. Exposed valves are generally more user-friendly, making them a practical choice for individuals with physical limitations.


Choosing between concealed and exposed shower valves is a personal decision influenced by your preferences, bathroom design, practical considerations, and budget. Concealed offer a sleek and modern aesthetic, precise temperature control, and space-saving benefits. Conversely, exposed bring a traditional charm, easy installation, and accessibility advantages. By comprehending their characteristics and weighing the pros and cons, you can confidently make the right decision for your bathroom upgrade.