View Full Version : Starting total bathroom remodel:

11-20-2009, 09:52 AM
First time poster here. I was directed here by Tool Guy - Kg, one of the good folks at the John Bridge Tile Forum; I'd asked for a rec to a plumbing site where a DIY'er can get prompt & accurate answers (patience helps too.:))

1958 custom built ranch house, very dated original guest full bath, big crawl space underneath so no trouble accessing everything. Typical 3-walled tub & shower enclave. Got it all gutted out to the subfloor and studs, including removing the old ceramic tiles set in 1" thick mud base and sledging out the old cast iron tub- what a trip that was!

Going to install a Kohler Villager cast iron tub (already lugged it to outside the door), 1/2" Durock, ceramic tile.

1/2" copper supply pipes coming up through floor seem in very good shape, planning on using them, have removed old two-handled valve.

Would like to start installing the pipe and control valve and I've got some preliminary questions- I'm sure I'll have a lot more:

1. First and foremost, can a reasonably handy and experienced DIY'er install an American Standard Pressure Balance Temperature Control Valve, Model R110? I'm hoping that by carefully following the installation instructions and with a little help from you guys I can do it.

2. A little puzzled about proper heights. The old spout was 5" above the tub deck, and the valve was approx. 8" above the tub deck. The new Amer. Stan. rough-in dimensions say the spout is 4" above the tub deck and the valve is 18" [I]optional[I] above that, which would bring the valve 22" above the tub deck. Any thoughts on this?


11-20-2009, 10:40 AM
If you've got the whole wall open it shouldn't be too difficult. This reasonably handy DIYer did it all through an 8x11 oval. Knowing what your finished depth will be is important.

One thing. Can I strongly recommend the Delta Multichoice instead?

11-20-2009, 02:59 PM
The requirements for the tub spout outlet are that it be at least an inch or so above the tub rim so that it can't possibly suck tub water back in if it overflowed. Other than that, you can put in anywhere you want. There is often a recommended distance to the tub spout when using a spout diverter. You can put the control where you want it within limits. If you go outside of the limits, you might get dribbling from the showerhead when trying to fill the tub. It all has to do with the relative resistance and restrictions in the piping and gravity.

The bigger hassle is getting the valve at the best depth in the wall so the trim fits and looks good. Just so you understand, I suggest you temporarily attach the trim and do a mockup of the thickness of the finished wall, then figure where you want the valve to be so the part sticking out looks best to you.

11-20-2009, 03:13 PM
Thanks for both replies.

My wife and I looked at some displays in tile stores, and on some internet sites. It looks like the "standard" height for the control valve is a bit higher than it was 50 years ago! (Us baby boomers can't bend down as low when we're showering?:)) Anyway, I'll go with about 20"-22" inches above the tub deck.

Yes, I'm going to do a mock-up of the finished wall to make sure I install the valve at the right depth.

New question: I'm embarrassed to admit this but I still find soldering copper pipes to be a challenge. Is it true that one should not put compression fittings behind an inaccessible wall? TIA.

11-20-2009, 03:33 PM
Practice soldering.

11-21-2009, 06:57 AM
As it turns out, American Standard gave us the wrong finish on the shower stuff, so we returned everything including the valve. Going to shop for something new.

I've been reading through this forum and it seems that many pros have strong feelings about various companies ("Kohler is never a replacement for anything" is something I read yesterday. :)) I've also seen many comments about "plastic parts."

We need a complete shower and tub kit, including the valve, and a matching vanity faucet. What manufacturers are regarded as the "best?" TIA.

11-21-2009, 02:01 PM
I am glad you returned the American Standard, not happy that you are considering Kohler. I ONLY recommend the Delta 1700 series valve. The dimensions for the spout and valve are flexible. Put them wherever feels comfortable to you. normally for a tub shower, I put the valve about 18" above the tub. That makes it convenient for both tub and shower users to adjust and operate it.

11-21-2009, 05:12 PM
I look at it this way...why bend over to adjust the shower? If you fill the tub before you get in, you're standing as well. So, why put it low? I guess if you're filling it while sitting in the tub, you don't want it so high you have to stand up to get to it, so, maybe a little mockup and reach test is in order.

I know I did that prior to adding some safety bars, and they come just to hand as I try to get myself in or out of the tub. It's a bigger hassle if the regular occupants aren't close to the same height, though; then, it ends up being a compromise for both.

11-21-2009, 05:45 PM
Most new valve bodies, I know Price Pfister does, has a molded plastic to the valve body that is shaped like a flat disk. The face of this should be flush to the backer board and not to extend pass the surface of the finish tile. After the finish wall is done you break off this plastic disk before mounting the finish plate and handle components.

11-22-2009, 06:00 AM
hj & others- thanks for the valuable replies. Hj, I'm not considering Kohler, I quoted another poster who half-joking said that "Kohler is NEVER an upgrade for anything!"

I've decided that with taking my time & using reasonable care I should be able to install the valve.

More importantly, I found another thread on the general plumbing forum that really concerns me. Some pros there, Terry included, seem to be saying that virtually ALL the valves and other fittings sold together at the Big Box stores are specially made for them and are generally inferior. Wow! What the heck is an average DIY'er like me supposed to do???????

11-22-2009, 06:40 AM
They are NOT specifically made for the big boxes, they just seem to have a higher percentage of problems. One reason making the rounds is that the manufacturers just produce a "run" and box them up for shipment with little inspection. That way they do not have to compensate for "rejects" since any problems will be "discovered" by the eventual user and then he will return anything he cannot "live with". This reduces the company's cost so they can sell to the big box cheaper than to to a plumber, who insists that HIS materials be inspected and verified that they are correct. I have seldom, if ever, bought products from my supplier which have had the problems I see with materials the customer gives me which he bought at HD or similar. As I have stated previously, a recent job involving the replacement of four faucets took three times as long as it should have because of defective faucets and missing parts. None of which would have been the case if I had furnished the faucets. But then, I would have charged more for the faucets, but it would still have been CONSIDERABLY less than the additional labor cost.

11-22-2009, 06:53 AM
There are sources on the internet for most any fixture model you could want. Personally I think the model number thing is simply an attempt to create retail exclusivity. Hard to price compare a specific model when only one store carries it... Big boxes might sell some junk but they also have good stuff.

11-22-2009, 10:55 AM
Will check out the Delta 1700 valve tomorrow!

There is a large, well-known plumbing supply place here in Columbus called Worly Plumbing Supply. Also has a showroom for the general public.

One of their product lines is sinks and other stuff by a German company called Duravit. Is anyone familiar with them? Any input on quality? TIA.

12-02-2009, 10:41 AM
Starting to rough-in the plumbing.

Because of some unavoidable eccentricities of the original home construction, I had to install the cast iron tub a bit further from the plumbing wall studs than I wanted to (1") which means I've got some serious firring to do before putting up the CBU. I also need to move the hot & cold supply lines (risers?).

I wound up with a Moen Posi-Temp tub & shower valve with-to me-almost incomprehensible instructions.

1. The black plastic plaster ground is 7/8" wide. Does this mean that the outside surface of the finished wall (tile) must be within this depth?

2. Probably related: Their instructions say, "Maximum wall thickness can only be obtained with minimum distances from face of stud to centerline of piping." Would someone please translate/explain that to this simple DIY'er?

3. The plaster ground has what looks like a "cap" on the front, where the cartridge goes. After the rough-in installation, is the entire plaster ground removed or does this cap snap off?


12-02-2009, 04:22 PM
There is usually a second line on the plaster guard to show the minimum depth. Your finished wall surface must be within the min/max. It may be easiest if you install the trim and handle momentarily to help you visualize how it will look. Most people don't like the handle sticking way out into the shower. Having it at the other extreme may have the handle too close to the wall for easy operation (depending on the shape of the handle). Normally, the entire plaster guard is removed after you finish the wall. It is there literally to protect the innards while potentially installing it in a new plaster wall - it keeps crud out of the innards during the rough-in and wall finish install. To service the valve later, the hole in the finished wall needs to be big enough to remove the plaster guard. It should become obvious if you install the trim and handle temporarily. Then, take a scrap of cbu and your tile and see where you like the look. Get it as close as you can to where you want. You may have some compromises depending on how the wall is built. At one extreme, the valve would sit so far into the wall, you could barely get the screws to catch. At the other, you'd have the screws nearly all the way in before the trim got tight against the wall.

12-05-2009, 10:05 AM
Installing Watts brass trip lever bath drain.

Following all the instructions as carefully as possible. Have tried 3 times to get the plunger linkage assembly to work correctly. The lever handle DOES NOT want to move the plunger up and down the waste tee.

I have tried adjusting the plunger linkage assembly up and down, still no luck.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

12-05-2009, 02:31 PM
The "plaster ground" is STRICTLY to maintain the proper sized opening in the tile. It does not protect the valve's "innards" from anything. It is discarded before placing the final parts on the valve, and since it should be even with the tile surface, the opening should be the proper size to remove it. No way to help you with the trip lever because we cannot see what you are doing. All we can tell you is that when the length is adjusted properly it will seal when the handle is up and drain when it is down.

12-13-2009, 07:51 PM
I'm planning on doing a test of the plumbing rough-in in the next couple of days:

1/2" copper supply pipe in, Moen Posi-Temp valve installed, pipe to tub spout and pipe to shower.

I have a couple of Sharkbite end caps to temporarily cap off the spout & shower pipe.

Would somone kindly walk me through the proper order and technique for testing?

12-14-2009, 07:22 AM
Turn on both the hot and cold water supplies. Turn the valve on to the middle/mixing position. Look for leaks. If no leaks the test is complete. Question. Where did you find Sharkbite caps to fit onto i.p.s. sized stubs for the spout and shower? The spout MAY have a connection for copper tubing, but the shower NEVER does.

12-14-2009, 07:47 AM
You are 100% correct, I misspoke. I had some Sharkbite caps but realized yesterday that I was not going to be able to use them.

Going to go get something today to use for the stubs and caps. What is commonly used? TIA.

Also: Is it necessary/possible/recommended that the stubs be capped and the entire valve cartridge removed so that valve body itself is flushed out????????

12-15-2009, 08:18 AM
Tested plumbing, no leaks, looks good.

One Big Problem:

For some reason, my water heater is no longer filling up with cold water!?!?

Everything turned on, was working fine before.

12-15-2009, 08:45 AM
Correction to last post:

Maybe it is filling with cold water, I can't tell.

But no hot water in house. Pilot light lit, all supply lines open.

12-15-2009, 09:43 AM
If you don't have the cartridge installed in the shower valve, hot and cold will mix, disrupting flow because of the internal cross-over.

12-15-2009, 11:03 AM
I had in the grey "test" cartridge that came in the unit.

I off the supply lines and installed the regular cartridge. Hopefully that will do it.


02-09-2010, 04:32 PM
Very Minor Question, Just Wondering:

Any tips/tricks for screwing in a new chrome shower arm?

I'm going to wrap the threads a few times with Teflon tape AND put some pipe dope on them.

Is hand tight enough? If not, how to prevent damage to chrome?

Is there some sort of actual "standard" for how far the arm screws into the drop ear elbow? TIA

02-09-2010, 08:03 PM
For an average person, the bend in the shower arm is plenty of lever to get the thing tight enough not to leak. Worse comes to worse, stick a dowel of something into the end and use that extra length to get it around one more time, or to get it to line up where you want.

02-11-2010, 02:27 PM
Jim- Thanks much. It's that "one more time around" middle ground that's got me worried, I'm never quite sure where to stop! :o

I'll give it a try, worse comes to worse I'll just back 'er out and try again. -Gary