new home and plumbing problems

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I recently bought a new home and have a couple of
plumbing questions. Its really quite simple but I
explain in detail so sorry its so long:

First: I have a shower with a regular showerhead above
and then another coming out of the wall that sprays
you from the side. One day this side shower just kept
spraying after I turned if off. I realized right away
that the problem was in the handle/valve because it
wouldn't turn correctly. So I got a plumber to come
and he said that the shut-off valve was broken. The
valve and handle are from '91. I went to a plumbing
supply store and bought the same exact valve according
to the make/model (Kohler, rite-temp 304-k-na), not just the
shut-off but the whole valve because the guy
there said it would be better and cheaper to just replace all the
parts in the valve at once. But then the plumber came
back and said that this piece looked different and
probably wouldn't fit, but regardless, he couldn't try
it without knocking out some of the tiles in my shower
or going at it from behind through the drywall in the
other room. It seemed like he didn't know what to do
and I certainly didn't know so he left. A different
plumber said that he might be able to go through the
wall but that he might rip the wall open and then have
something be in the way so he doesn't know what to do
either. What would be best? Also, if the new valve
won't fit (I called Kohler and they were clueless),
then do I have to put in a new handle to match the new
valve? Would the handle be the only problem then or could the new valve not connect in the wall for any reason?

My second problem: My bathroom has no tub but there is
plumbing in place for a clawfoot tub. I assume that
this plumbing is old, it consists of a large drain
and the two smaller pipes coming up beside. These
pipes are just roughly cut off after they emerge from
the floor and stick up a few inches (they're not threaded). I had my plumber
(same one as above) look at this and he seemed to
think it would be no problem. But it seems to me like
there's no guarantee that this plumbing is going to
work, if it is even properly hooked up to anything,
since the house is over 100 years old and the pipes
themselves look old. I need to know what needs to be
checked here so that I can tell my plumber.
Something about a trap in the floor maybe? Does the floor below need to be reinforced or anything? Lastly,
this plumbing sticking out of the floor is positioned
in such a way that the tub I want to get (thinnest I
could find) might run into the wall on one side and
not be centered above the drain. Is it possible to use
a drain pipe that has a bit of an elbow and curve if,
when I get the 300 lb. thing in there, its not
centered properly and can't otherwise be used?

Thanks so much for any help you might be able to give.


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1) You need to keep searching for a more reputable plumber! When you find this plumber he should take the parts out of your'e valve and bring them to the supply house for an exact match, if in fact what you have isn't the right one. That valve should be repairable unless some internal damage was done.

2) This plumber should be able to answer these questions in regards to the tub info.

By the way you could call the supply house for a reputable plumber or maybe a neighbor,etc..


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thank you

I know that the plumbers should have been able to deal with these problems. I live in new york city and for some reason, its very hard here to get the simplest things accomplished. To find a plumber who can and will do the job, knows how, speaks english, has the time, etc. is proving difficult. So with plumbing as well as all other aspects of work in my new home, I'm having to learn what's got to be done so I can make sure it is. I will take your advice about asking at the supply store for a reference!
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