1929 bath/shower controls - save them?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by machina, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. machina

    machina New Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    The bath/shower controls started leaking behing the wall and has to be fixed. Do you think these are worth saving or should i just replace them with a standard diverter setup?

    Pipes are original galvanized and should be changed to copper btw.


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  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    If you were really lucky, you might find repair parts, but the safer thing would be to replace with one that meets current codes - this means one that provides anti-scald technology. Your next big decision is what to do with the holes left from the original valves. They do make a repair trim that would let you use a new valve and it's trim.
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  4. asktom

    asktom Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Victor, MT
    Do you know if the "leak in the wall" is the old galvanized pipe leaking, or, perhaps just the packing washer on the stem? If it is leaking around the stem, a new packing washer or a few twists of string packing on top of the old washer &/or a tweek of the packing nut may solve the problem. It looks in your picture like it might just be a packing washer.
    If there is some disaster inside the wall and you have to open up the tile to get to it, change the valve. If you can work from the back, it is your call. Whatever you do to cover the extra holes is going to look a little goofy. If you are thinking of saving the valve, take it apart. If the washers are gouged or cut, look to see if the seat is replaceable, if they are not - change the valve or expect to change washers on a reqular basis. Look at the threads on the stem, are they square or have they worn to a narrow blade. If they are worn, you can expect the threads in the body of the valve to be in the same shape and you should probably change the valve because you are living on borrowed time.
    If your house is piped in galvanized, changing just the section in the wall to copper is asking for electrolysis problems unless you plan on repiping the house in copper soon. There are code restrictions (that vary locally) on how and where you can transition between these materials. If you can find it, and afford it, you could change all the piping in the wall to brass, which would not be a problem (except the finding and paying part) whether you later repipe in copper or not.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Usually when there was a three handled tub faucet with a two handle shower valve above it, the center knob was to operate the drain fitting. In addition, the tubs did not have an overflow opening, and the tub spout was inside the tub. I cannot read the what the lettering says, so do not know what your middle knob controls.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
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