Loose shower arm and tub spout

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by serrow, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. serrow

    serrow New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Well the title says it. These 2 things are not tight against the wall as I am used to. could someone provide a diagram perhaps on how these things should have been roughed in? is there something to do to make it a bit better? the gap for the spout ain't all that bad. it sealed up w/ caulking but since it wasnt firmly in place it broke the seal. shower is loose enough that just moving the direction of the showerhead moves the arm a bit more than i am comfortable. your suggestions would be great.

    thanks
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Both of these should be connected to a drop-eared elbow, which is screwed to a strap fastened to the studs. There may be no way to fix this unless you can open the wall from the back side;
  3. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    If you have access behind the shower, you can wedge a shim or two between the loose pipes and the nearest studs. This generally works for the tub spout, since most access panels are low. Then you can recaulk the tub spout to fill the remaining gap.

    For the loose shower arm/head, I've actually lifted up the escutcheon plate and filled the entire hole with caulk to keep it from moving around. The down side to this approach is that if you ever have to remove the shower arm, you'll have to get through all that caulk. But shower arms don't get replaced all that often.
  4. loose, meaning you can rotate it as if it were being unscrewed a bit?
    -- or
    loose, meaning you can pull it out in a straight line and push it back in a bit?

    caulk or foam will go into the hole and seize the thing when it hardens.

    some caulks are 100% silicone; some are siliconized acrylic; these don't hold up well around water in the long term.

    david
  5. serrow

    serrow New Member

    Messages:
    5
    loose, meaning you can pull it out in a straight line and push it back in a bit

    yeah, thats it. I've heard someone mention the foam... would that be a good solution?
  6. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Use caulk. The foam is extremely sticky and messy to work with and is unpredictable. It expands, so at best you'll have to cut away the excess and, at worst it may damage your shower wall by pushing out a tile or something equally bad.
  7. this is true. It is only for people who are comfortable with all the things Verdeboy mentioned. It could get out of hand or cause another problem. In your case based on the description I think the force needed to hold your pipe in place is going to be well managed with caulk.

    david
  8. serrow

    serrow New Member

    Messages:
    5
    what about the foam that says its "low expansion" type. Wait for it to ooze outta the hole, then it sets without bowing the drywall.

    at this point, the elbows must be loose or the wood rotten behind there. I'd prefer it be just poor handyman issues than actually a bigger problem.
  9. or other possibilities. Maybe ony one screw was used, and it is loose, for any simple reason. The one elbow at the top is "drop ear" - search the internet for that and you'll see a picture.

    About foam: caulking will hold strong enough and it'll be visible so you'll know what you are dealing with. Low expanding foam will prevent the pipe from moving, but not necessarily enough to ensure the pipe doesn't move at all when you grab the shower head and twist it around. So you still need caulking. From what I can see from here.

    david
  10. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051

    If the wood has rotted to the point where the pipes have let go, that is a much more serious problem. I think your pipes were simply not anchored properly.
  11. AlwaysInHotWater

    AlwaysInHotWater New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    California
    I recently had a similar problem. I ended up tearing out the wall to and installed new tile but when I did, I found the pipe had been 'secured' by a nail on either side of the pipe and bent with a hammer around the pipe. My guess is that it was done in the 40's.

    Anyway, in addition to the caulking you may want to get an escutcheon that secures with a set screw. Pull the pipe out as far as it will go and tighten the set screw. This will prevent the pipe from moving back into the wall.
  12. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Nice suggestion. Will it also prevent the shower arm from moving side-to-side?
  13. AlwaysInHotWater

    AlwaysInHotWater New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    California
    late reply

    Sorry about the late reply, but I've been driving down to La Paz BCS for the last 5 days.

    If you load the back side of the escutcheon with silicone it will adhere to the tile and help prevent side-to-side movement as well as in-and-out.
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