Shower Valve Maintenance

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by rtmateyko, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. rtmateyko

    rtmateyko New Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    I am about to install a shower valve in a stand up shower that I am building. I am concerned about maintenace - like what do you do if the valve stops working for some reason after you have tiled.

    Most of the installation techniques I have seen look permanent and nowhere have I seen anybody placing in line valves like you would for a kitchen sink. Is that the way things are done? - just assume that nothing goes wrong and if it does tear the shower apart to get at the valve.

    I was thinking of installing the valve on the face of a 2x6 screwed into the studs with copper line long enough so that in the future i can come in from the back cut the lines and then unscrew the screws and remove the 2x6 and the faulty valve.

    Does this make sense or am I over-engineering?
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    Most but not all tubs / showers have access from behind so they can be serviced. If it is a quality valve and is installed right it should be a long long time B 4 you need to access behind the wall.
    If you can do something now that will help make access to it in the future easier, do it.
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    All shower valves are repairable from in front of the tile. That is why they have trim allow you to leave a large enough opening in the tile to access the stems and cartridges. Common problem is when tile installers decide to be super meticulous and just leave the tiniest opening in the tile for the stem to poke through. Then you have to knock away some tile for access.

    A good brand of shower valve should have A 20YR + life expectancy, so even if you don't have access behind the wall, this is not a worry issue for a long time. By then, the tile may need to be redone anyway.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Some valves are optionally offered with in-line service valves. This allows you to turn off the water to the valve so you can do service without shutting off the whole house. Watts makes some designed for this that can be added to many valves. You need to be careful about placement so that you can reach them after the eschution is removed and still have it fully cover the required opening. If you go with a quality ball valve, it hopefully would still work many years down the road when you need guarantees, though. An access panel from behind works.

    In my last home remodel, I didn't have access after the wall was closed in (there's a main air duct immediately behind it). I chose an external mount valve from Grohe. All of the works except for the threaded connection to the water is external to the wall.
  6. Pimbley

    Pimbley New Member

    Jul 3, 2007
    Valve in

    I'm of the same mindset. Trying to think ahead for the bad sweat joints or other.

    I can get to the back of my valve through the wall behind. I am going to install the valve, note the location and install a small access panel in that rear drywall. The panel won't show too much as the room is a utility. Plus I can paper and paint the panel to match the wall.

    I've got the valve on a 4/2 screwed with frame brackets to the studs so I should be able to get things in and out. Prefer screws over nails for all the stuff for this reason.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    bad joints should be apparent immediately. Few modern valves are installed with access, and it is sometimes impossible anyway when there is another shower or tub on the reverse side. Intergral stops are and option, but since many valves can be serviced without removing the trim plate, the plumber would probably not use them when repairing the valve anyway.
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