Do I HAVE to have the newer style tub/shower fixtures?

southernstitcherSeptember 4, 2013

Currently, in our 1975 built home, we have three knobs in the standard tub/shower - hot, cold and in the middle is the diverter.
We are giving the baths a facelift - new cultured marble surrounds and vanities, etc.
Do they simply not make knobs for this style anymore? How cheap and outdated am I being by not wanting what I think of as hotel style fixtures?
It's going to cost us about $1,000 more with plumbing fees to change from knobs to a central one lever up on the wall. It's a budget remodel, and I'm re-thinking spending that.
We are in this house likely for the duration, and won't be having the money to do this again. The next remodel will be to make the hall bath handicap accessible, and we won't do that till it's necessary.
I see spouts and handles for Roman tubs, but nothing nice at all for the style we have!
What do you think?

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IMO the single lever faucet is an ergonomic improvement. Much of the industry is manufacturing faucets with cartridges - no more washers or packing.

Grohe and others have gone to a valve box in the wall, then you buy the valve and trim. Much easier to install, and easy to repair.

I'm installing a thermostatic shower/bath valve that keeps the water at a constant temp. Prevents scalding. Some locals require this.

But it's you choice. I know American Standard makes the traditional hot/cold/diverter setup.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Standard

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:22PM
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No, you don't have to replace them now. But you'll spend more later when you do have to replace them. They have a finite life, and you're kinda beyond it for fixtures of that era. Do you really want to keep 40 year old valves behind a wall that could fail at any point and need the wall torn open to fix? Plus not have any protection against scalds? Yes, costs add up in a redo. You need to find the budget to replace the valves. It's not wise economically to do anything else. Much less the increased safety factor. You can buy all new valves and trim at any box store for under $150, and there's a world of choices via special order there and elsewhere. That's pretty cheap insurance.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Fori is not pleased

I'd get new valves and stuff when the wall is torn up, but I wouldn't get those "newer" style ones. I don't know if that would save any money, though. I just prefer fiddling with lots of knobs. :)

I think you'll end up glad you got nice new ones even if they are in the old style. They'll just work better.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Also I doubt that your three handled option is thermostatic or scald-proof.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Also I doubt that your three handled option is thermostatic or scald-proof.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:19PM
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"Also I doubt that your three handled option is thermostatic or scald-proof. "

The new thermostatic valves have a 'stop'. Simply adjust the water temp - then set the stop. You can adjust the temp down - and up - there's a button if you want to go higher than the set temp.

Additionally, the newer designed valves are completely acessible after removing the face plate. The old time valves are buried in the wall - if there is a problem - it's a major expense.

We don't touch the water temp - just turn the shower on - the right temp all the time. Even when someone flushes the toilet - the valve maintains the set temp - It really is nice.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Well, thanks for talking me down from the budget horse! I went to the local plumbing showroom today, and was told I can still get them, but cited the same reasons you guys did for switching out to the lever/wall style. I have no idea what that is called.
So I looked at a Delta with the thermostat lever and pressure lever separate. Now to choose a faucet from Delta or Moen that I can match a light fixture with. But that's another thread.

Again, thanks.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Personally, I wouldn't feel compelled to switch. But, some of the single-lever valve trims look pretty nice, and not like what you see in motels, with those huge dials. I would look around, and not limit consideration to Delta and Moen.

If you are still considering keeping the old-style set-up, take a look at what California Faucets sells, and visit a dealer that features their stuff and talk to them.

I wouldn't get hung up on "matching" a faucet and light fixture. In fact, too matchy is not always the best look. (A living room with a quirky but compatible collection of furnishings may give a better impression than a package matched living room set.) What you want are things that you like and that look right in the same room, which usually isn't hard. Take a look at some photos on the web, and see the variety of pairings.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 12:37AM
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My plumber likes Wolverine. To get that brand, the plumber has to get it and install it. It is well respected but not high fashion. Mongoct has referred to Symmons fixtures. They are basic and of very good reputation.

Here is a link to a site that has reviews of faucets. This link takes you to page 2 of the 2 page article. The tab for page one is at the top of the page along with other bathroom articles.

Here is a link that might be useful: Star Craft article on faucets.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 8:50AM
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We replaced the same kind of valves and faucets you have in both bathrooms this summer. Used Grohe in one and Hansgrohe in another, both are thermostatic with a diverter. Just from my limited experience with what we have, the new valve and faucets are so much better than the old ones. Much easier to control temperature and they look very sleek.

I would really recommend replacing them because like what the others said if they do break it is nearly impossible to repair/replace them without doing a lot of damage to tiles or the back of the wall. We had to do that in a downstairs bath a few years ago and it was expensive.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 3:23PM
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