Installing A Three-Handled Tub/Shower Faucet

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Mr. Rooter's Tip Of The Day: There are four fitting holes arranged in cross shape–two for the incoming water, one for the shower head and another for the tub spout.

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Which side up? Female threads must point down, unless plastic inserts are reversed (shower for tub and tub for shower). Single-hole valve assembly will have an up arrow that must be obeyed. It can be tricky!

“When installing any tub and shower faucet,” according to Bob Beall, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing Pittsburgh, ” make sure to have the right side up.” According to Mr. Rooter, “There are four fitting holes arranged in cross shape–two for the incoming water, one for the shower head and another for the tub spout.” Fortunately, all there is to do is to look on the faucet–it will indicate the proper direction for placement. In the photo to the right, note that the tub output is different than the shower output–they cannot be exchanged. Point the shower output up.

“A three-handled tub/shower faucet can lend a nostalgic design element to your bath,” says Beall. “Like two-handled models, these faucets need a spacer on the rear of the finished wall to keep the handles from protruding excessively into the tub or shower stall.” The thickness of the spacer will depend on the interior space in the wall, according to the most referred plumber in the Northeast Ohio and Southwest Pennsylvania region.

Mr. Rooter’s Tip Of The Day

Tip #1 A three-handled unit requires essentially the same steps as a two-handled faucet. Measure the length of the valve bodies.

Tip #2 Cut a spacer of the right thickness and fit it with holes for the three-handled unit.

Tip #3 Fasten the faucet body to the spacer; insert plugs or adapters; depending on whether the tub, shower, or both will be used.

Tip #4 Some faucets come with a plug for shower-only installations, others do not. If it’s not supplied and one becomes necessary, get a 1/2-inch brass or galvanized plug, and screw it in the output that goes to the spout. For tub/shower installations, install male adapters made for the water-supply pipe being used, PEX is a good choice. Typically, drill the wall at 0 inch, 4 inch and 8 inch to accommodate the three elements that stick through the wall.

Tip #5 Remember to make the holes 1/4 inch larger than the valve diameters.

Tip #6 Slide the faucet in, using silicone rubber to glue the spacer to the back of the wall, attach the escutcheons.

Tip #7 Install the handles, and connect the water supplies.

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Rooter (Pittsburgh)

Robert A. Beall
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