INSTALL A SHOWER FAUCET

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
Completion Time: 1 Day

Most bathrooms these days have a water-saving shower as well as a bath. Three varieties of shower faucets are available: single-handle (one handle controls everything), dual-handle (one handle to control hot and cold water and a diverter handle to redirect water coming in to the faucet to the shower head) and three-handle (hot water, cold water, and diverter). This is a new-construction project for installing a single-handle shower faucet. Installation takes less than two hours. Basic plumbing and woodworking skills are required, since you’ll need to install the shower wall covering once the pipes are connected.

TOOLS

  • Allen keys
  • Basin wrench
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Adjustable pliers

  • Slip joint pliers
  • Circle cutter (hole saw)
  • Copper soldering torch
  • Star screwdriver

MATERIALS

  • 1 90º elbow for the shower spout
  • 1 drop ear elbow, ½" TPT × ½"
  • 4 female threaded pipe adapters
  • Shower faucet, head and spout set
  • polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape

  • Soldering coil
  • Solder paste
  • Steel wool or sandpaper
  • Small steel brush
BEFORE ASSEMBLY

WATER SUPPLY PIPES

You can connect your shower pipes using either copper pipes or PEX plastic pipes. Copper pipes will require soldering. Although PEX pipes are easy to install and do not require soldering, water pressure may be compromised since the metal rims are secured inside the pipes, thus reducing the diameter.

PEX tubing cannot be connected directly to the hot water tank or exposed to a significant source of heat.

The following project proposes using both copper and PEX.

ADVICE

To facilitate access to your plumbing in order to make adjustments or carry out repairs, we recommend making a trap door in the wall.

The project below is restricted to the installation of a shower or bathtub-shower faucet. Details concerning shower stall or ceramic tile installation are not included.

STEPS

Shower installation details
1.1. Shut off the water supply to the shower.

1.2. Use a pencil to mark the location of the shower head, and of the bathtub faucet and spout if required.

Height of the faucet: between 45" and 48"
Height of the shower head: between 72" and 78"
Height of the spout: between 24" and 28"

Step 1
2.1. Install a cross stud between the two studs at faucet height to attach the valve.

2.2. Position the valve so that the “UP” indication faces up to the ceiling.

2.3. Make sure it is level, then screw it to the cross stud.

2.4. You can weld directly on the valve. Weld the ½" TPT × ½" copper (recommended) adaptors directly on each side of the valve. Don’t overheat the valve; you could damage it. For PEX pipes simply screw on the adapters.

2.5. Connect the hot and cold water supply pipes to the adapters.

2.6. Connect the shower riser tube, the long pipe connecting the shower head to the valve, in the same way.

2.7. If this is a bathtub-shower, you should install a spout for the bathtub. Connect the tub spout in the same way and install a 90o elbow toward the bathtub-shower. Attach a piece of copper pipe that will protrude from the wall surface after the wall covering has been installed. If the valve is for a shower installation without a spout, screw on a ½" brass cap to plug the outlet that won’t be used. First, wrap the filets with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape.

3.1. Install a cross stud between the two studs at shower-head height to attach the drop ear elbow.

3.2. Apply polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape to the filets of the upper outlet of the drop ear elbow.

3.3. Connect the drop ear elbow to the shower head supply tube.

3.4. Screw the drop ear elbow to the cross stud.

Step 3
4.1. Put the shower stall in place. If this is a ceramic tile shower, start constructing the wall surface by installing fibre-cement panels as a base, followed by your ceramic tiles.

4.2. Use a hole saw to drill holes at the appropriate height for the shower faucet, the tub spout (if necessary) and the shower head.

5.1. Remove the protective template attached to the valve.

5.2. Slide the decorative plate onto the valve.

5.3. Position the holes in the plate over the holes in the front of the valve, insert screws and tighten with a screwdriver.

5.4. Screw the handle adapter on the cartridge and, using the hexagonal Allen key, install the handle. The lever should point downwards when the faucet is turned off.

Step 5

The wall is not shown in the illustration opposite so that we can show the pieces located behind the wall.

6.1. Apply polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape to the showerhead filets and wrap the tape around the filet two or three times.

6.2. Hand screw the shower head, then tighten the connection ¼ turn with an adjustable wrench.

6.3. If your set includes a flexible connector, install it now.

Step 6
Tub spouts are either screwed or slid on a pipe. The copper pipe must not have any defects or imperfections; the pipe’s cut end must be flawless inside and out. The edge must also be smooth, with no sharp edges.

Sliding tub spout
7.1. Turn the spout on the copper pipe so that the setscrew faces upward. Use a hexagonal Allen Key to moderately tighten the screw.

7.2. Turn the spout to the “normal” position, while making sure it’s well installed against the shower stall wall.

7.3. Use a hexagonal Allen key to tighten the screw securely.

Screwed tub spout
7.4. Apply polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape to the sleeve filets and screw on the spout.

Step 7
8.1. Open the hot and cold water supply.

8.2. Check all connections for leaks.

8.3. Run the water on a “lukewarm” setting for a full minute to remove any air from the pipes.