Changing from one brand showerhead/handle in shower

sis2twoJuly 21, 2011

I have posted this on the plumbing site but thought I would try here as well. I am looking to change out the showerhead and handle in my son's shower. The brand I would like like to switch to is kohler. Can this be done without ripping out a wall to change the valve. I would ask my plumber but he is on vacation and wanted to place an order soon so that when he returns, I can have it installed. If anyone can give me an answer I would be so appreciative.

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Showerhead threading is pretty much universal, you can swap one for most any other.

Shower valve trim kits are the exact may have luck by staying within a certain manufacturer, but for the most part trying to swap a trim kit onto an existing valve may or may not work. And it's more likely to not work than to work.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 3:52AM
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What brand is it now? If you find out the brand and style, you should be able to identify what type valve it has, and then which other trim/handles will work with that valve (not all trim styles by a certain manufacturer work with all their valves! So confusing...)

If you have an access panel on the wall behind the shower it might not be too expensive to change the valve.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:14AM
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The current brand is Price Pfister. Thought it was Moen, but was confusing it with my other son's bathroom. And we don't have an access panel .
So let me see if I understand. The valve does not protrude out enough to be changed externally? That will be a bummer! Wish I would have known that at the time that I was selecting plumbing fixtures 11 years ago. Guess I will have to wait until my plumber returns to take a look at it. Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 9:47AM
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So let me see if I understand. The valve does not protrude out enough to be changed externally? That will be a bummer!

Valves usually have a large "cover plate" as part of the trim kit, it's called the escutcheon plate. It covers the hole in the wall. If you were to ever read the manufacturers installation instructions, that hole is supposed to be large enough to allow maintenance and even valve removal/replacement to be performed if needed without having to touch any tile work on the wall. Some install the valve and leave the proper sized hole. Some install the valve a leave a small hole just large enough for the valve's spindle to stick through.

The thing is that were the valve to be replaced, not all new valves will fit through that old hole. Some will, some won't. And for some of those new valves that will fit through the existing hole, their escutcheon plates may not be large enough to fully cover the existing hole.

So it's always a bit of a gamble wondering if the new valve will fit into the old valve's space without having the actual valve and trim kit in hand.

Stacy referred to the back of the valve wall. Even if you don't have an access panel there, if it's simple drywall it's quite easy to cut an access hole, swap out the valve from the back of the wall, then repair the hole or if it's not in a visible area (it's inside a closet for example) fashion an access panel that can be used for future valve maintenance.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 2:07PM
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mongoct-- would it make a difference since it is not tiled but an acrylic unit? Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 3:40PM
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To a certain extent it's not really all that different whether acrylic or tile.

However, what I have seen is with some acrylic/fiberglass/whatever units is when a too large of an opening had been cut through the acrylic was whoever did the work used a larger piece of plastic...sort of like a piece of corian, 1/4" to 1/2" thick and whatever size or shape was act as a larger cover plate to hide the hole, then the valve and trim kit were installed over that larger cover plate.

The "corian piece" (I'm using "corian" just to describe, I saw one that actually used a piece cut and shaped from a plastic kitchen cutting board) was sealed to the acrylic wall with a bead of silicon, then the valve's trim pieces installed over that.

I think someone on this forum showed photos of doing something like that in a tiled shower. The demo'd too large of a hole when doing valve repair, so they covered the too-large hole something like a square 12" tile set on a diagonal and siliconed in place, then installed the valve trim kit over that tile.

I will backtrack and say that if light "demolition" could be carried out, then an acrylic unit could be different. If you could peel back or remove the wall piece on the valve wall that might give you better access to the valve. Then reinstall that wall piece. Just an idea, but it depends on the structure of the unit. Some are one-piece molded (rigid and probably more difficult to do), others have walls made up from individual pieces.

But with an acrylic unit you could still go through the back side of the wall if need be to access the valve.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 5:28PM
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