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Old 04-02-2015, 09:52 AM   #1
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Installing bath and shower mixer valve...


Hey all, new to the forums. I've been on here reading through the forums quite a bit since my wife and I bought our first house a few months ago, but I have a question that other conversations haven't quite been able to answer, so I figured I'd join up and ask.

In our guest bath there's a tub and faucet, but no shower. I'd really like to install one since it gets used by guests when they stay over and the shower head attached to the diverter on the bath faucet just isn't cutting it as far as looks and functionality goes.

So fortunately the plumbing backs up to a closet with cedar paneling that gives me plenty of access to the rough in, which doesn't have a shower outlet on the top of it. I'd like to remove this and install a new one, keeping the two handle setup, and running a shower line up. How difficult will this be? I don't have any experience sweating copper pipes but I'm pretty handy and confident in what I learn to do. Though if it could just be a direct fit, that would be preferable since I'm on a bit of a time crunch. The board above the valve is the bottom to a cubby/shelf thing in the shower itself and can be drilled through or removed if necessary.

My other thought is that I'd just install a shower bar to mount the head on and keep the shower hooked up to the diverter on the bath faucet. No ideal, but more functional than what we have now.

thanks for y'alls help. Glad to be here!
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Old 04-02-2015, 01:55 PM   #2
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Please post pictures of the bathing area.

We also need to know what state your in.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:31 PM   #3
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Sure, I live in TN, about 45 minutes south of Nashville.

And I apologize for the picture orientation, not sure how to fix it... The first two, obviously, are inside the bathroom. The last one is through the closet where the valve is.

I talked to a gentleman at a plumbing supply store by me and he suggested attaching brass push fit adapters in the supply lines in the basement, then running pex pipe up to either side of the valve where they will be attached with the same type of fittings. I think I'm going to be going with a one-handled type knob rather than the two since there are a lot more to choose from. I could either keep the current pipe in there for the tub faucet or use pretty much anything else. And then run a copper line up to the shower head. All that sounds pretty easy and straightforward, which, now that I said that, it won't be. I'm going to be replacing the sheetrock in the bathroom so I'm not too worried about tearing up the wall.

Let me know what you guys think.
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:27 PM   #4
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Not going to like it, but all that old steel pipe needs to go, see all that corrosion under the pipe union, it caused from electrolsis, Those threds by now are paper thin.
Really need a whole new two piece tub and enclosure, that huge ugly hole in the wall will always be an issue if you make it into a shower.
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:45 PM   #5
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Where those somewhat rusted pipes are coming from, the lines in the basement, there is no rust so I was just going to take my chances and attach the brass adapters there. Re-plumbing the house is certainly a job that'll have to be tackled one day, but for now everything is holding together alright and I think, in my limited home improvement wisdom, that what I have will be alright for what I would like to do.

That hole is very ugly, that's definitely true. But I was going to frame it with some 1x's, put in a moister barrier, put backer board in there, and tile it for a shelving area.

Is the pex pipe okay to use going up to the shower head from the valve? I was told it should be a solid pipe, but a lot of places I'm seeing shows them using the pex. If I can, I can route it around the ugly hole and I'll save myself the trouble of figuring out how to make a random pipe sticking through that box look aesthetically intentional.
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:46 PM   #6
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Oh yeah, and my wife refuses to get rid of the porcelain tub, or whatever it is. Naturally, being an interior designer and a woman, she always knows what's best...
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:55 PM   #7
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Cast iron with porcelain probably. I would replace it as well with a new one. I much prefer the cast iron tubs as well. If budget is an issue you got to do what you be to do . I did my bath a couple of years ago and got a nice Koehler cast iron tub for just slightly under 500 bucks from a local supply house. Thicker metal than the Orange apron version and it was only 50 bucks more.
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:22 PM   #8
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You may be out of luck trying to use a double handled mixer---todays codes require anti-scald valves--which means a single handled unit---as a result--most companies stopped making double handled mixers long ago.

However, your tub wall needs a makeover--so switching to a single handled mixer should not be a big issue.

Using the existing steel pipe could be done---use dielectric unions between the steel and your new copper---

If the option is practical--replacing the steel pipe is always a good idea---
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:32 PM   #9
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Yeah, I realized after searching for two-handled assemblies, they're pretty difficult to come by and the one's I did find were pretty ugly. It won't be too difficult switching to a single handle though and I do feel a lot more comfortable with the anti-scald feature they all come with now.

Can I use the green, moisture-resistant drywall around the shower or should I go with the backer board since it's less likely to swell?
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:46 PM   #10
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Use cement board--Durrock or Hardibacker---If you look into out 'tile' section,you will find plenty of advice in older threads---
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:20 PM   #11
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I would not leave that as a shelf. Most of the water when you take a shower splashes back on the valve wall off you.

If you need a shelf install it on the non valve wall.
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