Bathtub and Shower Faucet Replacement

Gleaming new bathtub faucets add functionality and style!

There are a wide variety of tub and shower faucets available in today's marketplace. Technology and design innovations over the last few years have brought about a whole new way of looking at tub and shower fixtures. Once upon a time, faucets were purely functional, as bathing was viewed only as a necessity. Nowadays, our spa-like bathrooms have become inspiring and fashionable retreats and faucets are stylish and functional enhancements.

New Faucets and Fixtures are Environmentally Friendly

Look for manufacturers certified by the EPA for the WaterSense program. One such certified manufacturer is Price Pfister, offering the ultimate in functionality and style with several collections of bathtub faucets from traditional to modern. State of the art faucets will feature precision temperature and volume control for the tub and shower with a pressure balancing valve to avoid hot water scald and cold water shock. You simply set your preferred temperature one time only.

Not only will your bathroom embody modern sophistication and chic beauty when you replace bathtub faucets with gleaming new ones, you will be helping to conserve water for future generations while reducing costs on your water bills by almost 30%, all without compromising you and your family's enjoyment of the water experience.

Tips and Techniques

The most important first step when replacing your tub or shower faucets is to carefully select the correct faucets to purchase. Then, follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter to help save you time, money, and effort. If you are new to replacing plumbing fixtures, this can be a rather intimidating project, but if you carefully read the instructions before you begin you will gain a deeper understanding of the task at hand. As you work through the project, refer back to the instructions often. The completed installation will be neater and more satisfactory thanks to your attention to detail. Once the job is complete, put the instructions and parts list in a plastic bag and tape it to the inside of the bathroom vanity cabinet for future reference.

Selecting the Correct Faucets

There are many sizes, types, and styles of faucets so when you are replacing an existing faucet make sure the new ones will fit. Many faucets are not interchangeable, so take an exact measurement of the holes for the faucet, center to center. Remove the old faucet and take it to the store when purchasing new fixtures. Choose the style you love without any restrictions, however the size of your new faucet must perfectly match the old faucet.

Use Proper Tools

Every job is made substantially easier with the correct tools! It's particularly important to use correct tools for a plumbing project. Plumbing fixtures can be stubborn to remove, especially if they are old or rusted, so there are a variety of wrenches and tools designed for specific plumbing jobs. The following tools are essential and will help make the task of replacing bathtub fixtures go smoothly:

  • Two pipe wrenches, one for holding and one for turning
  • Open-end wrenches
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Closet spud wrench
  • Vise grip wrenches

Material Checklist

Some or all of these may be used during replacement and installation of new bathtub faucets:

  • Solder
  • Sandpaper or emery cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Hand cleaner
  • Pipe cutter
  • Flaring tool
  • Vise-Grip® pliers
  • Transition unions
  • Propane torch
  • Plumber's putty
  • Penetrating oil
  • Adjustable smooth jaw wrench
  • Vise
  • Pipe compound or PTFE tape
  • Rag and pail of water for soldering
  • Hammer
  • Solvent cement

Instructions in a Nutshell

Before you remove the old faucets and purchase new ones, review these simple instructions to get an idea of what's in store for you. In addition to these guidelines, there are many other considerations and possible complications that could arise depending upon the type of existing pipe, such as copper or plastic or iron, and the type of faucet system being used.

The following guidelines are based on the best case scenario. Keep in mind, that when you tackle this project it is crucial to follow the manufacturer's instructions which will be packed with your new bathtub faucet system. The instructions are designed for non-plumbers, and are generally quite clear and easy to follow with troubleshooting advice and solutions.

The first challenge in installing bath and shower faucets is getting at the faucet assemblies behind the wall. For several years now, home builders have provided a rear access panel in closets in the back of the tub which allows for connecting fittings without defacing the bathroom wall. Hopefully yours will be easily accessible.

Removing the Old Faucets

  1. The undisputed first step for every plumbing job is to turn off the main water supply
  2. Loosen nuts with adjustable wrench
  3. Disconnect faucets from water supply pipes
  4. Carefully remove the old faucet assembly-place in a bag and set aside to take to the store
  5. Thoroughly clean all around the faucet mounting area

Installing New Faucets

  1. Turn off the main water supply.
  2. Before installing the new faucet, apply plumber's putty around the base unless gaskets are supplied.
  3. Make sure the new spout's setscrew is loose, then slide the new spout on and tighten the setscrew clockwise, making sure it is flush to the wall and tight.
  4. Apply caulk between the shower wall and the faucet. Wipe off any extra caulk with a wet cloth and wait 24 hours before using this spout to ensure that the caulk has dried.

Enjoy the Results of Your Efforts

As with every home improvement project, the reward in a job well done is to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So, set the precision temperature and volume control dials on your new faucet system, fill up the tub, and throw in an apple bath bomb. Now sit back for a nice relaxing soak! You deserve it!

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