Updating shower without destroying tile surround...help!

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by jeffbirt, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. jeffbirt

    jeffbirt New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Location:
    Louisville KY
    I did a quick look around the forum hoping to find someone with a similar problem, but I didn't see one. Bear with me if this has been covered before.

    I have a tub and shower with a Sayco 3 handle fixture (hot, cold, diverter) mounted through a tile surround. The hot side was leaking for quite awhile, and I finally got around to trying to remove the stem and replace the gasket. However, the handle was so corroded onto the stem that I broke the stem while trying to remove it. I went to Lowe's and found an update kit for Sayco fixtures, which would be the easy fix, but I kind of want to change to an oil-rubbed bronze finish (everything else in the bathroom---sink fixtures, curtain rods, towel bars---have already been changed). After a call to Danco, the manufacturer of the repair kit, it appears no one makes such a kit in that finish.

    As it turns out, I am in the process of tearing out my basement ceiling to soundproof it for a home theater, and I have access through a giant hole to the bottom of the tub and up the wall where the supply lines enter the manifold/fixture itself.

    So, the question I have is: would it be possible to tear out my old Sayco fixture entirely and update to a 3-valve system that IS available in oil-rubbed bronze? Obstacles I've thought of are: how securely is the fixture connected to the studs, will the "spacing" of the stems match my current setup, will I have enough room to connect the shower supply to the fixture?

    Anything else I should be concerned about? Or should I just live with chrome handles?
    Thanks!
     
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    You should be aware that, depending on where you live, it may not be allowed to do anything other than repair the existing setup...current code requires a shower valve with anti-scald features, and that old system does not have it. Trying to find a new (old) valve with the same spacing would be tough. The safer thing is to replace it with a new valve that meets current specs, but most of them are one - handle. There are some repair plates available, designed to cover the old holes, but it would be fairly large. You might find you could plumb in a single handel offset to one side and instead of using the tub spout diverter, use a matching diverter valve in the other hole. If you use the repair plate, the new valve's trim fits on that repair plate. Not sure what finishes those are available in - probably only chrome. You might be able to take it to a plating shop and have them plate it with a matching finish, but that might end up being costly. Another possibility would be to buy a thermostatically controlled valve, then put a volume control in one of the other holes, then a diverter in the third. It would depend on how much room you had whether you could make it all fit.
     
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  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    If the valves are on an inside wall, it is very possible to replace everything from the opposite side of that wall.
     
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I would guess the availablity of a 3 handle shower in oil rubbed bronze is nil. The demand for 3 handle stuff is dropping faster than obama's approval rating. Lower demand = no availability of "exotic" finishes. You could buy a chrome set and take it to a plating shop. $$$$$$
     
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You can forget about replacing the valve from the hole in the basement. You have to open the wall on one side or the other to get access to the valve and replace it.
     
  7. Plumbermurrieta

    Plumbermurrieta Plumber

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    Murrieta Southern California
    If the valves are on an inside wall, it is very possible to replace everything from the opposite side of that wall. or still ask for a plumber contractor for this.
     
  8. jeffbirt

    jeffbirt New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Location:
    Louisville KY
    Thanks. There is a closet on the other side of the wall, so that would probably be the best way to approach the problem. I will close off the hole and proceed with my sound-proofing project.
     
  9. txchad

    txchad New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Location:
    Texas
    You could also try a remodeling cover that covers any hole you make while taking out the old valve body. This would allow you to put in a single handle faucet if you want. You can find this at Home Depot from Danco.
     
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; You could also try a remodeling cover that covers any hole you make while taking out the old valve body.

    But probably NOT available in oil rubbed bronze.
     
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