Threesome

Q:  The 3-handled valve in my tub and shower is broken, ugly and doesn’t maintain a safe temperature.  I want to replace it with a single control, pressure-balanced valve.  Is there a way to do this without completely gutting the wall and replacing all of the tile? 

Lynn Answers:

To replace a three-handled shower valve, you will probably have to remove a little of the original tile on the wall.  But by doing so, you’ll have an opportunity to create a new tile design that is unique.  More on that later …

The easiest method is to access the shower valve’s “guts” from the wall behind your shower.  It may require that you replace some of the original tiles, but this is the least invasive method and will require cutting through wallboard and the patching and painting that follows.  If this option is not available to you, then you will have to access the valve from the front, through the tiled shower wall.

Start this project by carefully removing the existing valve trim and enough tile and wallboard to access the existing shower valves and the pipes that lead to them.  Clearance will be required to enable work on the pipes inside the wall, so don’t freak out if the hole in your shower wall gets bigger than you expected, OK?  Bear in mind that the pipes supplying water to the three-handled valve must be cut so that the valve can be removed.  Then, these pipes will be attached to the new valve.  A heat blanket will be needed to protect the stud cavity inside the wall, while the new connections are being soldered.

Now comes the fun part.  If you don’t have any original tiles from your existing shower wall, choose ones that coordinate or deliberately contrast with your bathroom tile. More tile may have to be removed to achieve this, but it will all be worth it.  Below is a before and after drawing to illustrate this method.

As with any kitchen or bath project, advanced planning is the most important part.  So formulate a game-plan, buy some wonderful tile – maybe even a new shower head – and be patient and communicative with whomever is doing the work.

 

By | 2016-10-24T21:46:43+00:00 September 5th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Lynn M Masiello, CBD-CKD