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Old 06-16-2008, 11:46 PM   #1
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Leaky wobbly shower arm


I have a shower arm that is wobbly and lately leaky. I slid the escutcheon back and enlarged the hole in the drywall, and I confirmed that it's leaking at the joint where it screws in to the brass fitting. I unscrewed the arm and found no tape but a little putty. I figure I can fix this pretty easily. About the wobble, the pipe is nailed to the stud with a sort of triangle-shaped piece. There are three nails, and sure enough, the fixture is loose because the nails don't secure it properly. I can hammer the nails back in, but it seems they will just loosen again over time as the showerhead is adjusted. It seems beyond stupid to use nails for this instead of screws. I've heard of using expanding foam to secure wobbly pipes, but I'm reluctant to use it for obvious reasons. I'm wondering if anyone would consider trying to replace the nails with screws? Maybe some very long needlenose pliers could pull them out? What would you recommend?
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:43 AM   #2
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Can you open the back side and resecure it from there?
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:15 AM   #3
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Leaky wobbly shower arm


screws are definitely the answer, although by the time you pull those nails out, who knows what kind of wood will be left.

Worst case scenario is a little extra sheetrock work. luckily for you they didn't put it behind the shower like some people do.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:09 AM   #4
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The "putty" is probably the remnants of joint compound. If possible, I would remove the nails and replace with the biggest screws that will fit into the holes.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:26 AM   #5
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Leaky wobbly shower arm


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Can you open the back side and resecure it from there?
I'd have to cut through the wall, which I'd rather not do.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:28 AM   #6
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[quote=Alan;131098]screws are definitely the answer, although by the time you pull those nails out, who knows what kind of wood will be left./quote]

This is new construction (1.5 y/o anyway), and the wood appears to be in good shape.

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Worst case scenario is a little extra sheetrock work. luckily for you they didn't put it behind the shower like some people do.
Can you clarify that? I don't get either point.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:39 AM   #7
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The "putty" is probably the remnants of joint compound. If possible, I would remove the nails and replace with the biggest screws that will fit into the holes.
If I'm unable to do that, what about hammering the nails back in and using foam? The nails probably lack 1/8" for full insertion. I'd hate to use foam for multiple reasons, but I'm unsure I'll be able to remove the nails without using a hammer claw, which would mean enlarging the hole quite a bit. Is there any tool for removing nails when access is restricted?

Someone else asked about access from the other side. If I were willing to cut through the wall, how would that help?
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:14 PM   #8
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Someone else asked about access from the other side. If I were willing to cut through the wall, how would that help?
A. Give you plenty of room to work
B. Only takes 30 minutes to put back.

Use a drywall saw to jab through, cut all the way across to a stud on each side. Attach a furring strip (serves as a stud replacement) on each stud at each side of the open hole. Screw the cut out piece into the furring strips when you get through. Caulk it, mud it, whatever you chose, and repaint, viola!

Same process as if you were installing an access panel which you could do here except covering the hole back as original would probably be preferable. What I need to do on mine at home when I get a "roundtoit" or get "offmyass."
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:48 PM   #9
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Leaky wobbly shower arm


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screws are definitely the answer, although by the time you pull those nails out, who knows what kind of wood will be left.
This is new construction (1.5 y/o anyway), and the wood appears to be in good shape.



Can you clarify that? I don't get either point.
Some people drill a hole for the showerhead in the fiberglass. Since yours appears to be in the sheetrock, if you HAVE TO, you can make the hole a little bigger to get some screws in there. When we top-out a house, we put a 1/2" galv nipple in there so that the sheetrockers don't bury us, and they usually rock right to it. Your escutcheon should be a lot larger than the hole that is there now, so if you have to make it a little bigger, you might still have the hole covered anyway. I would lightly trace the outside of the escutcheon so that you know how far you can go, and if you go too far, it's not a bad sheetrock repair.
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:49 PM   #10
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What I need to do on mine at home when I get a "roundtoit" or get "offmyass."
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:13 AM   #11
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Some people drill a hole for the showerhead in the fiberglass. Since yours appears to be in the sheetrock, if you HAVE TO, you can make the hole a little bigger to get some screws in there. When we top-out a house, we put a 1/2" galv nipple in there so that the sheetrockers don't bury us, and they usually rock right to it. Your escutcheon should be a lot larger than the hole that is there now, so if you have to make it a little bigger, you might still have the hole covered anyway. I would lightly trace the outside of the escutcheon so that you know how far you can go, and if you go too far, it's not a bad sheetrock repair.
I've already enlarged the hole for access and to remove the drywall degraded by the leak. Here's a picture of what I have. You can see two nails on the left and right; there's a third one above the fitting. For whatever reason, they used two sheets of drywall in this area. If this was yours to fix, how would you do it?

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Old 06-18-2008, 12:40 AM   #12
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I would drill the heads off of the nails and tweak the drop-L just far enough to get fresh wood for some screws. You should have just a little give even if it's copper. All you need is probably 1/4 "

Unless the nails are genuinely loose enough to pull out.... if you can get them out just a little, you might be able to pry them a little further with needlenose vice-grips. Maybe far enough to get a hammer on them anyhow.

Thats where i'd start.......
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:32 AM   #13
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Alan said it right
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:22 PM   #14
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Leaky wobbly shower arm


Thanks for the interesting suggestion, Alan. It makes a lot of sense. However, I've never drilled off a nail head. I have a 12v DeWalt drill. Will that be sufficient, and what sort of bit would I need?
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:50 PM   #15
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Leaky wobbly shower arm


probably don't need much more than 1/4" or even 3/8". You can try starting with a really small bit to make a point for the tip of your larger bit to start. Either that, or use a nailset or something else sharp to make a dent in the nailhead.

Your 12v dewalt should be fine for this job.
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