With the huge array of bathroom innovations in recent years, there are countless ways to add luxury to a shower -- power showers and shower towers (which are actually panels), multiple shower jets, footbaths, waterfall showerheads, steam generators, sauna accommodations, heated towel bars, and more.
These mood-altering improvements, however, have more complicated technical requirements than normal baths. For example, a multiple shower installation will usually call for larger supply lines -- 3/4-inch pipe is the rule, installed from the source to the shower room -- so you'll have enough water at all the showerheads. Multiple heads also require more piping, not just because you'll have more outlets, but also because you need to install pipe loops to balance the pressure so the water comes out at the same pressure and volume from all the heads. (Without looping, water would just dribble from the last head.)
Steam rooms need steam generators. Waterfalls and circulating baths require pumps, which can necessitate additional framing and plumbing.
One to two weeks, depending on the complexity of the installation
Standard carpentry and plumbing tools
Basic framing, electrical, and plumbing skills; professional assistance may be required for planning
Using a manufacturer's template (or your own), drill the studs for the water lines. Install all fixtures. Run the water lines (with supply valves and water-hammer arrestors) from the fixtures to the valve location but do not connect them to the control unit. Fasten the control unit to the framing in predrilled holes.
Connect the 3/4-inch hot and cold supply lines to the outlets with unions. Make sure to connect the correct supply pipe to the correct outlet (they are color-coded and marked on the side of the valve body). Install the outlet piping on the appropriate outlets and secure all the piping to the framing.
Plug in the power supply and make sure the valve unit door is sealed. Turn on the water supply valve, check for leaks, and make necessary adjustments. Turn on the main water supply and make sure the valve powers up and the indicator light is lit. Install an access door when finishing the drywall.
Luxury shower installations with multiple showerheads will require both larger and additional water supply lines. Pressure loops -- either within a fixture, as shown here, or tying fixtures together -- are essential if you want water coming from all the jets at equal force. Instead of a supply line terminating at each head, the line continues to from one head to the next in a continuous loop that balances the pressure.