Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: New Shower Faucet

My old three-handle compression faucet has been replaced with a one-handle ceramic disc faucet. No more fighting with obnoxious handles! Yay! :)

I started with hard-to-turn handles that I hated:

The plumber replaced the valve after cutting a large hole in the wall similar to this:

Then he installed the new handle. I thought I'd end up with the round faucet escutcheon layered over a remodel plate similar to this:

But the plumber was able to make adjustments to allow room for the oval escutcheon/cover plate which could be used on its own.
I think it looks less silly than the layered escutcheons. What really matters, though, is that I can turn the handle with the slightest effort. :D

Having the faucet replaced was a nerve-wracking enterprise. I was afraid tiles would crack or fall off when the plumber cut into the wall, especially after he pointed out that some of the tiles were loose. It would be impossible to find exact replacements for 40-year-old tiles. Also, I had no idea what he might find when he opened the wall, though I was certain he would find at least one oddity. I just hoped it would not be too serious an impediment.

When he got to work, there were loud, scary rotary tool cutting sounds accompanied by the occasional sound of something falling. Then there was the even louder reciprocating saw which seemed to make the whole house vibrate. Then there was the sound of the torch igniting. When the plumber finally emerged from the bathroom about an hour later, I was almost afraid to go in and look. :P

Whew! Everything looked great! No cracked tiles and very neat work on the installation. :D

So what oddities did he find? There was a weirdly placed stud that he had to cut away (thus the reciprocating saw.) But even stranger -- the main water line and the water heater are in the basement, but the shower plumbing does not come up from the floor. It comes down from above. :/

Overall, converting an old three-handle faucet is not an inexpensive project. I paid $178 for the faucet kit, $58 for the cover plate, and $500 for the plumber to do the work. But I believe it will be worth the money. I use the shower every day, and I was very, VERY tired of fighting with the difficult old handles.

15 comments:

  1. I'm so glad that it worked out for you, Bane! You will be glad that you spent the money that you did so that something that you use every day will function properly! A nice easy hot shower is one of the best things there is about living in the developed world.

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    1. Thanks! I think it was money well spent. A nice hot shower is indeed one of the best things!

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  2. Yay! It's done! It looks great too! Success!

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  3. Weird, your old hardware (all five pieces) is EXACTLY the same as mine!! What our guy replaced was the old shower head, giving me a "new" one; unfortunately, I now have much less water pressure coming from it, and the spray action is not adjustable like the old one was. And I don't think it actually needed replacing, the management just wanted something that would save them more water. :-(

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    1. One of the bathrooms in my parents' house also had the same kit. I think Price Pfister must have sold a gazillion of them.

      Yeah, sounds like management is trying to save water. I'm not convinced the low pressure shower heads are always the best idea. If it takes twice as long to rinse shampoo out of your hair, you're not saving water.

      The good news is shower heads are super easy to replace. You just twist the old one off and twist the new one on. No tools needed, maybe just some plumber's tape on the threads. When I lived in rentals, I always took off the provided shower head, which was inevitably crappy, and put on a nice adjustable shower head. Then I'd switch them back before I moved. :)

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  4. Yaaay! I think you did the right thing by calling a plumber to do it if you werent sure. it looks nice and hurray! It works!

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    1. Even though the plumber was expensive, replacing a plumbing valve wasn't something I wanted to attempt myself. (Plus I don't have the right tools.) In this case, it was better not to DIY.

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  5. It looks so much more classy now and is even better to clean and use! What a nice upgrade for your home!

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    1. Definitely an upgrade, in both appearance and function. I'm very happy with it. :)

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  6. It looks great and far more practical than the tiny old knobs. It may be a small change but when things aren't working the way they should, an improvement is a huge difference :-)

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    1. Those little knobs were annoying even when they were working properly. Changing to a handle that's easy to use has had a huge impact. So much better!

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  7. Do you mind sharing the brand/source of your faucet and cover plate? They are beautiful!

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    1. The cover plate is Premier Faucet Tub and Shower Remodel Plate in Brushed Nickel (133962) from Amazon.com. The faucet is Pegasus Estates 1-Handle Tub and Shower Faucet in Brushed Nickel from Home Depot. Looks like it has been discontinued, though.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this with us, I am currently using hand showers and valves from Delta Faucet and they are similar to shown in the picture.

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