Updating a too-small clawfoot tub showerhead

Updating a too-small clawfoot tub showerhead

Normally updating a showerhead isn’t really something worth mentioning here because it’s so easy. But our new clawfoot tub ended up causing more trouble than we were anticipating, and we thought it would be worth it to explain how we went about doing this just in case any other clawfoot tub owners find themselves in the same situation.

Our new Barclay Products tub is gorgeous, and we’re really happy with it. We’d been a little worried that showers might we awkward in a clawfoot tub, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that’s not the case at all… Buuuut, and this is a big but, the showerhead that came with it is the WORST. It’s so small that there’s barely enough water to wash my hands let alone get the shampoo out of my hair! So we decided after the first shower that replacing the showerhead would be priority #1.

the original showerhead

We stopped at Home Depot and picked up some plumbing tape and this really reasonably priced Delta showerhead with several settings and a nice, bigger-but-not-too-big size. We figured it would be a simple change, since normally changing a showerhead is as easy as unscrewing the old one and screwing in the new one. Normally. (oooh, the foreshadowing!)

Welllll… turns out the pipe that our showerhead connects to, which came with our tub, is 3/8″, and a standard showerhead needs a 1/2″ pipe.

Womp womp.

We did a lot of googling and found almost zero information that was helpful on whether there was a fix other than buying a new Barclay Products showerhead, which are all out of our budget. We decided to get creative and once again hit our local Home Depot (seriously, we’re so lucky it’s close!) where we picked up a little brass pipe converter that connects 3/8″ pipes to 1/2″ pipes for less than $3. (Edit 2019: the original link has gone inactive, so we’ve updated it to a product that’s the most similar to what we found at Home Depot.)

Andy screwed off the original showerhead and wrapped some plumbing tape around the pipe, which helps to seal the threads. Then the converter went on, followed by the new showerhead.

the new and improved showerhead!


Seeing about a quarter-inch of brass on our otherwise all-chrome plumbing is a really small price to pay for a great shower, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s barely noticeable from more than a couple feet away.

The new showerhead is wonderful. Plus, I love that we went from an I’m-never-using-this shower to an I-want-to-wash-my-hair-twice-a-day shower for about 30 bucks and two minutes of labor.

Now we’ll just have to wait and see next month’s water bill after all these showers!!


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