Shower Valve Rough In Depth (Everything You Need To Know!)

So much goes on behind the scenes to result in the warm shower water that you relish so much. One such event is mixing hot and cold water, which happens because of a rough-in shower valve. But overall, getting the shower valve rough in depth is key to getting the most out of it.

Usually, the recommended shower valve rough-in depth is 1-7/16 inches (37mm) from a finished untiled bathroom wall or 2-1/16 inches (56mm) from a finished tiled bathroom wall.

Remember, you need to get these values correctly to have the right hot-cold water combination and get to enjoy your warm shower. But overall, it’s worth noting that you can only determine the depth of a shower rough-in of a finished bathroom wall.   

Nonetheless, the depth varies depending on whether it’s a tiled wall or not. On that note, I’ll explain both factors in detail to help you understand the rough-in values mentioned earlier.

Let’s get started!

Shower Valve Rough In Depth

Shower Valve Rough in Depth and The Factors That Determines It

It is usually challenging to determine a shower valve rough-in depth from the bathroom wall as two factors have to play. That includes whether the bathroom wall is finished or not and whether it’s tiled.

Bathroom Finish

While it’s not realistic to calculate the rough-in depth of an unfinished bathroom wall, you can determine that of a finished option. If the wall is finished, then you should use the standard rough-in depths, which are as follows:

  • 1-7/16 inches (37mm) from an untiled finished bathroom wall
  • 2-1/16 inches (56mm) from a tiled finished bathroom wall.

Bathroom Tiling

From the above standards, it’s clear that you need to rough in the shower valve deeper when dealing with a tiled bathroom wall. That’s understandable, given that the tiles make the bathroom wall thicker.

You expect a shower rough-in valve to sit much deeper in such a case.

Other Factors That Determine the Shower Valve Rough in Depth

We’ve mentioned the wall finish and tiling as two crucial factors determining the standard valve rough-in depth. But other than the two, these two factors also determine how deep you can rough in the shower valve:

a) Mixing Shower Valve

When dealing with a mixing valve, you cannot expect to observe the standard shower rough-in valve measurements, as the valve has to sit near the wall surface. You should position the mixing valve about ½ inch away from your finished bathroom wall in such a case.

b) Shower Valve Brand

The shower valve brand also determines how deep you can rough in the shower valve. Let’s talk about Kohler, Delta, and Moen next.

What do you do when your shower valve is deep

Kohler Shower Valve Rough in Depth

Kohler requires you to position the shower valve deeper as the valves are much longer. In that case, the Kohler shower valve rough-in depth is more than the standard rough-in depth (1-7/16 inches) or 2-1/16 inches from the finished untiled or finished tiled wall, respectively.

Moen Shower Valve Rough-In Depth

Unlike most brands, some Moen shower valves don’t need placing behind the bathroom wall. In that case, you can put them 30 feet away from your shower controller, as it’s the case with Moen digital/smart valves.

The valve should connect to a GFCI outlet in such installations and be easily accessible. It’s, however, important not to install it where there is a risk of freezing.

Delta Shower Valve Rough in Depth

The standard Delta valve rough-in depth is 2.25 inches from a finished bathroom wall and about 2.56 inches between the finished bathroom wall and the stringer. Understandably, the profound depth is due to the delta valve’s wide and taller dimensions.

Usually, the standard delta valve measures about 4.06 inches wide and 5.56 inches high.

Shower Valve Rough in Height

I must clarify that the shower valve’s rough-in depth is different from the rough-in height. When calculating the rough-in valve depth, we calculate the distance of the shower valve from the finished wall.

In contrast, we calculate the rough-in height from the bathroom floor. In such a case, the shower valve rough-in height for bathtub valves is 28 inches, while that of shower stalls is 48 inches.

Those are the standards, but they are not fixed. Depending on personal preference, building codes, and height, you could do slightly higher or lower.

For example, you could go above 48 inches if you are 6-foot-tall and wants the most comfortable shower head height.   

How to Rough in Shower Valves

After looking at the standard shower valve depth in wall, it’s essential to know how to rough in your shower valve. This process is a little detailed, requiring the following supplies:

  • Power saw
  • Tubing cutter
  • Rag
  • Toothbrush
  • Propane torch
  • Soldering paste
  • Copper pipes and coupling
  • 2-by-4 studs
  • Metal bracing
  • 1 5/8″ galvanized screws
  • Shower kit (featuring a showerhead, mixing valve, shower head arm, and hot/cold knobs.

Check out the ideal shower kits on Amazon, depending on your brand.

shower valve depth in wall


Now, here are the steps for roughing in your shower valve:

Step 1 – Install shower head and mixing valve

Take out the shower head and mixing valve from the shower kit and install them accordingly. Ensure you attach each to its horizontal fixture using a 2-by-4 wall stud.

You’ll need to screw the mixing valve using the galvanized screws and reinforce it using metal bracing. You should also screw the showerhead in place.

Step 2 – Copper pipe installation

Install copper pipes (one for hot water and another for cold) at the base of the mixing valve and then turn off the water from the main valve. Then use a tubing cutter to cut the old pipes.

step 3 – Pipe interconnection

Once you cut the two old pipes, sand them properly and apply soldering paste using an old toothbrush. Then push couplings onto the pipe ends.

Also, do the same thing for the newly installed pipes.

Step 4 – Pipe soldering

Unroll soldering paste about 12 inches and use the propane torch to solder in the new couplings. You’ll need to hold the propane torch against the new couplings until you detect a sizzling sound.

Use the rag to wipe off the excess soldering paste.

Step 5 – Solder the Outlets and Inlets

Lastly, ensure you solder the mixing valve, outlets, and inlets. That will ensure you adequately rough in your shower valve.

moen shower valve rough-in depth

How to Install a Shower Valve Rough-In?

After looking at how you can rough in your shower valve, it’s logical to learn how to install a shower valve. We’ll discuss Moen shower valves (View on Amazon) as our reference point.


  • Shower valve (Moen)
  • Copper cutter
  • Propane torch
  • Soldering paste
  • Face mask
  • Handsaw
  • Camera (your phone camera may do)


Follow these steps to install your rough-in valve successfully:

Step 1 – Cartridge removal

Take a picture of the valve cartridge while it’s in its original position before removal. The image will help you fit the cartridge back later.

Step 2 – Solder the cap

If your shower doesn’t have a bathtub, solder a cap onto the valve opening. All it takes is applying a soldering paste smoothly onto the valve’s pipe socket.

It’s essential that you don’t over-solder the cap as it could wrap from excessive heat.

Step 3 – Valve installation

Now, go ahead and install the shower valve into the wall. Since we are talking about a valve rough-in, your bathroom wall should be open. But if the valve doesn’t fit, use a handsaw to cut the opening wide.

Be careful, however, not to damage the valve or drop it into the wall. So, having someone to help you is a good idea. Alternatively, you can tether the shower valve and only remove the strong when it’s secure.

Step 4 – Joints reinforcement

This step can be dangerous, and so you should protect your face and eyes using a face mask and eye protection, respectively. Now, use the propane torch to solder the joints connecting to the shower valve.

Step 5 – Cartridge reinstallation

Once you complete the soldering, go ahead and reinsert the cartridge as it appears in the picture you took in step 1.

Step 6 – Valve handle installation

Complete this process by installing the valve handle. Remember, Moen valves mostly come with trim plates for attaching the handle. However, not all rough-ins require the installation of a trim plate.

People Also Ask

1. What Is a Rough in Shower Valve?

A rough-in shower valve is the part of the shower system or in-wall faucet that stays behind the bathroom wall precisely to control the shower water volume and temperature.

2. What Depth Should a Shower Valve Be Set at?

The standard valve should sit 1-7/16 inches (37mm) away from an untiled but finished wall or 1-1/16 inches (56mm) away from a finished and tiled wall. Nonetheless, mixing valves should sit about ½ inch from the wall, thus shallow.

3. How Do You Measure Shower Valve Depth?

For you to measure the shower valve depth, you must first find the depth distance (the distance from your finished wall to the middle of the riser pipe). Usually, you’ll find the depth distance on the valve manual. Once you have it, you can subtract the wall thickness to get the shower valve depth.

4. What Do You Do When Your Shower Valve Is Deep?

There are two ways to deal with a shower valve that’s too deep. For one, you can grind or sand down your trim plate to about 3/8″. The downside of this is rust.

Alternatively, you can get a valve stem extender (View on Amazon) and use it to extend the valve’s length. That will cost you a few dollars, but it’s rust-free and risk-free.

5. Are Rough in Shower Valves Universal?

Nowadays, shower rough-in valves come without stops, making them easy to fit. That has seen their popularity increase, thus universal. These so-called universal rough-in shower valves come with two inlets (for hot and cold water) and two outlets (for showerhead and spout), allowing you to fit most trim kits.

6. What Is the Correct Height for A Shower Valve?

The shower valve rough-in depth depends on whether it’s a tub or shower stall installation. In that case, go for 28 inches from the bathroom floor for bathtub installation and 48 inches from the bathroom floor for shower stall installation.

Also Read:

Closing Remarks On Shower Valve Rough in Depth!

Now you know how deep into the wall the shower valve should sit. Just a recap; you should position the shower valve 1-7/16 inches away from your finished but untiled wall or 2-1/16″ away from your tiled and finished wall. However, the mixed valve shouldn’t go deep as it should only be ½” from the wall.

Let Us Know How We’re Doing!

Did this expertly prepared resource answer your question?

Do you have another question about home maintenance, home improvement projects, home appliance repair, or something else?

Get more information, send in questions and keep the discussion going by contacting the I’ll Just Fix It Myself company customer service team at at 1-800-928-1490 or Email us at [email protected]