Shower wall opened by new contractor - will someone explain what’s going on with water lines?

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Midwest Girl

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First, this wall was supposed to have a shower head + hand held shower wand. Unfortunately, my previous contractor said that he forgot. I purchased a combination Delta rough-in valve + diverter to replace the newly installed universal Delta HF shower valve. I asked a few plumbers to provide bids to (i) replace current rough-in valve with combination mixing + diverter valve, and (ii) run water lines for hand held shower wand.

I have a couple Qs after seeing what is behind the previous cbu (photo below):

1. What are the extra hot and cold lines that continue up on wall and are capped off? As someone who has no plumbing knowledge, I assumed that the hot and cold water lines would enter the mixing valve from the sides + one line would exit the top of valve up to shower head - if this had been plumbed only for one shower head. Maybe I am wrong. . .

2. I also am concerned re: the large notch that was removed from the board. If these lines are necessary, I assumed that a hole would be made to run the lines through instead of a deep notch out of the board due to the way the header looks (second photo). There are quite a few boards stacked at the top of this wall - my understanding is that this is done when it is a support wall - but, again, this is not an area of expertise for me.

3. If this is a support wall - I am now concerned because my previous contractor changed things inside this wall to replace the existing door to my master bedroom closet with a pocket door. He did this without asking me - he said that it allowed the shower to gain 2-3 more inches. However, in order to install a pocket door, I’m assuming that two support (vertical) boards were removed inside the wall. He did NOT open the wall up - so, I don‘t believe any additional boards were added along the top.

This is the first time that the drywall was removed all the way up to the ceiling by the shower (at least as far as I know - and I saw what happened on a daily basis in there + took a lot of photos along the way). I know that none of the drywall outside of the shower was removed (except for the few extra inches where shower was widened + where he cut out the old tile surround above the deck of the old jacuzzi tub that was removed). The closet door opening is to the left of this photo - and the pocket door slides into the alcove wall where the new vanity will be installed (in the same place where previous vanity was located).

I will find other photos to show layout.

I appreciate any guidance. As I’ve explained, I don’t have any experience (much less expertise) in these areas.
 
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Midwest Girl

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I think the photos will post now -
 

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James Henry

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1. Poor man's hammer arrestor.
The shower line coming off the shower valve should be copper so the shower head is solidly anchored to the wall.
 

Reach4

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I think that is a drop ear elbow up top, so that is probably solidly screwed into place.
 

Midwest Girl

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@James Henry - Well, that doesn‘t surprise me. There were a few things that this guy did incorrectly - and when I questioned him, he became very upset. Luckily, we have a master plumber coming on Tuesday - he will be replacing the rough-in valve with the new valve with integrated diverter. I’m glad that I decided to pay my contractor to redo all the walls so we know exactly what was done. While paying twice isn’t fun, at least I’ll know how it should be done.

I know that it was copper behind there - but he obviously replaced everything with PEX (is that correct?) when he installed the new rough-in valve.
 

Midwest Girl

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@Reach4 - so. are you saying that the reason the hot and cold lines are extended that way is to provide a better anchor for the line to the shower head?
 

Reach4

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@Reach4 - so. are you saying that the reason the hot and cold lines are extended that way is to provide a better anchor for the line to the shower head?
No. #4 stated that correctly -- it was put there as an old-time water hammer arrestor -- correctly. Old time water hammer arrestors can get waterlogged, and can serve as dead ends where bacteria can grow. I tend to think no water hammer arrestor needed of any kind for this shower, since the valve is slow closing.

I was addressing his second sentence. I expect that James Henry is not partial to pex, and not to just the drop ear 90/elbow.
 
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Jeff H Young

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The notched stud isnt a problem headers are supported on the ends like a garage door opening so support isnt needed in the middle. the drop ear 90 on the showerhead is normal no idea how drop ear 90s are interpeted as wrong shoddy or cheap.. Im a copper guy but pex must be in 90 percent of new homes now so call it cheap whatever but its pretty normal. The plumber installed air chambers to minimize water hammer whats wrong with that ? ok water hammer arrestors are better but most people install neither.
 

Breplum

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Water hammer chambers that were installed by the idiot you hired are worthless. The water absorbs the air quickly and they are just dead legs where bacteria can grow. They should be eliminated.
They were also completely wrong to cut the stud with that big notch. (holes are the proper route, or many other plumbing methods like elbows !) The stud should be fixed with a sistered length or replaced.
Shower valves with integral stops are the preferred way to go, that way the valve can be serviced without shutting down the whole house.
 

Midwest Girl

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@Breplum - I didn’t hire the “idiot“ who did this work - the plumber was engaged by my former contractor (who was engaged by my significant other after receiving recommendations from two of his law partners). Due to a couple issues with my former contractor’s work (initially laying pvc liner flat on subfloor for mud shower pan = no pre-slope - which he then said he was using a schluter drain - not a weeping drain - but I knew that a weeping drain had been installed - so, he retrofitted w/ a schluter adapter drain + using mastic to install my Carrara Marble field tiles after I specifically purchased the white thin set recommended on JB forum) - I decided to have the walls removed and replaced by new tile professional. That’s when I saw the current plumbing configuration.

As I explained above, I questioned the configuration because I didn’t understand the purpose of the hot and cold water lines that leave the valve just to be capped off. I have to be EXTREMELY diligent about any potential exposure to bacteria/mold/plus, many other things due to having systemic mastocytosis (which has recently developed into mast cell leukemia). That’s why I researched shower pan construction and knew the pvc liner should have been installed over a pre-slope vs. flat on the subfloor as he had done.

FYI - I purchased a Delta rough-in valve (with stops - it’s R22000-WS) - that is what was supposed to be used for this wall of the shower be a use of the hand held shower wand (and will be installed by the new master plumber that I’ve actually hired myself.



@Reach4 and @Jeff H Young - since the wall has been reopened, what is the way you would run the plumbing lines using a Delta R22000-WS rough in integrated diverter? Is it okay to just leave the pex running up to the shower head?

.
 

Midwest Girl

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@Jeff H Young - Lastly, Breplum has commented that the notch compromised the stud - and it should be replaced or, at least, sistered. However, your explanation re: a garage door makes sense. It doesn’t appear that he changed anything on the ends of the wall - at least, not on that side of the closet door. I am very concerned about his removal of studs on the other side of the closet door related to his decision to add change to a pocket door. On that side, he has removed stud(s) (vs. notched) + changed the studs that framed that side of the door opening.

I really wish that I NEVER started these bathroom renovations. It has been a huge mess + a lot of extra $$ spent ripping work out and replacing it. Since being diagnosed recently with mast cell leukemia, I am having a difficult time dealing with that much less the added stress of all of this. I need to make sure all of this is done correctly.

Do I need to hire a structural engineer?
 

Jeff H Young

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Midwest girl I think the problems are less than everyone is making it out to be . Im not going into all these things I dont see a structural issue , i dont see a problem with the air chambers (new plumber can easily remove) but I wouldnt be worried about them. I understand its the wrong valve your taking care of that.
Pex to shower head is an absurd comment to say its wrong to use pex.
Sorry you have problems with subs but evedently we aint helping any just getting you worked up more needlessly
 

Tuttles Revenge

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If the wall is exterior or load bearing then the stud should be sistered with another full height stud.. If not, then its essentially just to hold tile and can be sistered with a board that spans the notch in order to maintain rigidity and have material to screw the Schluter/Wedi board to and not have voids. Really not a big deal. Just for peace of mind, install a whole new board and call it good.

The new valve valve can be plumbed in all PEX just fine. The tubes from the transfer valve can be pex as well. Its not like its a jungle gym in there. The drop ear 90's should be mounted on solid backers, so definitely verify those are solid.

What will the shower head and handheld fixtures be? If you are using a longer than 9" shower arm for the fixed shower, then I suggest that the backer for the fixed head be mounted as far back as possible, and a plywood piece be mounted flush with the face of the framing with a hole drilled for the shower arm. This will allow you to mount the arm securely and have a point to rest on at the tile and potentially shim if need.. Theres a lot of leverage on those 12" or longer rain arms. And make sure you dial in the height of the shower head too.. A rain head needs to be mounted higher than a typical shower arm.

A handheld on a bar typically has a Wall Elbow / Union, with the hose that drapes and supplies the handheld on the adjustable bar. Too close and the hose rests in a twisted mess.. I prefer them to be 10" apart so they drape nicely. I like to mount my wall elbow low enough that a 60 - 72" hose allows easy cleaning of all of the shower surfaces.

This is a bathroom remodel we did a couple years ago. While the transfer valve was separate, there is a fixed head and a handheld. The same setup was installed on the left side, but with an angled showerhead.

1679517709769.png
 

Jeff H Young

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Some real nice work Tuttles!
A lot to it Generaly I dont like those jobs because I hate all the back and forth with owner or general trying to figure out what they want often with very little detail to me. they often bring the wrong parts as I dont provide the fixtures and trim . Or they tell me its just a shower and couple of Lavs All done rough plumbing when you find out its a wall lav faucet , no one wants to talk about shower head height or valve height or where diverter goes height of the stub to the handheld. not till you set finish then its why is this roughed in here? LOL but that came together pretty sweet.
Well I dont want to stress Midwest girl out any more. I hope things back on track for her
 
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