Installing a new shower faucet is less difficult than it seems,
especially when done as part of a total bathroom remodeling project.
Yet there are some important dimensions that must be strictly
observed for the faucet to work right. The instructions mention some
of these issues. For example, the valve must not protrude from the
drywall at all, or the faucet's cover plate will not seal against
The height of the valve is another issue. I placed the center of
the faucet at 48 inches above the floor.
Start At The Valve And Work Backwards:
|After making some measurements, I connected
three sections of 1/2" copper pipe to the valve body.
||Each section of pipe has a male threaded adapter
soldered to the end. The male threads were coated in pipe thread
compound (sometimes called pipe "dope") before screwing
These connections require a pipe wrench to hold the valve body
and a large adjustable wrench to turn the male threaded adapter.
It's worth mentioning that I bought the wrong faucet here. I
intended to pick up a faucet with solder connections. I would have
returned it to the store, but I bought it in another part of the
state, a 2-hour drive away. I prefer to use a shower faucet
with soldered connections because threaded connections are difficult
to make water-tight, and a small drip concealed in a wall cavity can
cause considerable damage.
|Excess thread compound was wiped off, otherwise
the goo gets everywhere. It takes a lot of torque to prevent
these connections from leaking. One of the challenges for
beginners is to become familiar with just how tight threaded
connections must be. Connections that will be immediately
behind drywall are not good places to practice.
|Tightening Threaded Pipe:
Threaded pipe fittings must be very tight to seal
properly. My plumbing sources tell me that the official
procedure is to first tighten the fitting by hand, and then
use a wrench to turn the fitting 1 to 2 additional turns.
Remember this: at least 1 turn, at most 2
turns, after hand tightening.
||This Moen Posi-Temp shower valve is exactly the
same as their tub faucet valve... except that the bottom port
(which would have connected to the tub spout) is shut off with a
The interesting fact about most modern tub valves, for those of
you that want to know how everything works, is the way the
water is diverted to the shower head. All you have to do is block
the flow of water at the tub spout, and the water will be forced up
the shower riser pipe, and out the nozzle. You can do this by
covering the spout with your hand, or a washcloth, while the water
is running into the tub.
Some older tub faucets use a rotating lever to direct the water
northwards. I doubt these would work as described above.
|This is a drop-eared elbow. The ears are
meant to be mounted to some solid structure, such as a piece of
wood blocking. The threaded end will accept the standard
L-shaped shower tube, which is installed after the wall surfaces
||I temporarily attached the drop-eared elbow to a
piece of 2x4 wood blocking, which was installed between two
studs. Then I could easily measure the length of the riser pipe
required to connect to the faucet.
|Once the length was established, I soldered the
riser pipe to the drop-eared elbow. This will connect to the
short riser pipe that was attached to the valve body in the
||The two sections of riser pipe were soldered.
I could have made the shower riser pipe in just one piece, but
there was a good chance that the drop-eared elbow would not be
perfectly aligned with the valve body. It just seemed easier to get
perfect alignment by mounting the drop-eared elbow to it's wooden
support, and making the final connection in the middle of the pipe's
length, away from any combustible materials.
||The valve body has been connected to the supply
|Note how I used a 90 degree elbow and a 45
degree elbow to arrive at the desired pipe alignment (instead of
using two 90's). This arrangement will have less pressure loss.
||The supply pipes drop down a couple of feet.
From here they will be connected to the new supply lines that
will soon be installed beneath the floor.
|In the room below, looking straight up. (My neck
gets sore just looking at this picture.)
The small pipe that comes through the floor is the hot
water branch to the shower. The larger pipe (3/4" diameter)
is the new supply line for both second-floor bathrooms.
Note the sheet metal heat shields used to protect
the surroundings from the heat of the torch. The heavier
gauge, the better.
After all the new supply pipes were in place, we applied water
pressure to the system and checked for leaks. This must be
done before the drywall is installed and the pipes are concealed.
Back To Top
- Pipe Cutter
- Propane Torch
- Pipe Wrench
- Adjustable Wrench
- Tape Measure
- Moen Shower Valve
- ½" Male Adapters
- ½" Copper Pipe
- Silver Solder, Flux