Plumber's perspective on Grohe

homeboundJune 3, 2010

I just did a bath remodel using Grohe fixtures for the fist time. Can one routinely expect stuff like tiny set screws that are recessed (shower handle) and the need for a 14mm hex wrench (shower arm)? To top it off, the trim plate for the shower didn't seem to snug up tightly enough against the tile due to the gasket that goes underneath it. I'm tempted to replace it with plumber's putty.

Not a good first impression from me, though the stuff looks really cool. Any thoughts?

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lazypup

In recent years the use of recessed hex head screws in lieu of slotted screws in rapidly becoming commonplace in all trades and all manufacturers. To add further confusion to the mix, since we have become a global marketplace it is common to find both SAE & Metric Hex heads.

Single hex keys are relatively cheap and in many instances the manufacturer supplies one in the kits, but more often then not they seem to get misplaced just when you need them most.

Today every tradesman carries full sets of HEX keys in both SAE & Metric. Although I am sure that every tradesman has his/her individual preferences, I prefer to carry the sets made by Echo tool company that have a solid metal frame to which the keys are permanently attached and fold out like the blades of a pocketknife. These tools come in three sizes, small, medium & large for both SAE and Metric. The individual keys in these sets are only about 2 - 3" long so you may run into the occasional situation where you need the longer shank keys, but overall they are the easiest to keep in your pocket and not worry about loosing an individual loose key as you might with the loose keys in a vinyl pouch.

In regards to your trim flange. You could use plumbers putty in the manner you suggest, but the oils in plumbers putty can stain some natural stone or tiles. I prefer to use clear silicone a sealant such as, but not limited to, "Plumbers Goop" which can be found in the plumbing section of any hardware or home supply center in a small squeeze tube.

I would begin by applying a light film of the silicone to both sides of your neoprene gasket and see if it will seal to your satisfaction before discarding the seal.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 1:01AM
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brickeyee

S"ingle hex keys are relatively cheap and in many instances the manufacturer supplies one in the kits..."

Just throw away any hex key a manufacturer supplies.

They are not properly hardened and can damage the hex recess on the screw you are trying to tighten when the corners of the key strip off.

The less than adequately hardened screws just add to the problem.

They are not worth keeping around for any purpose.

Many of the plates use foam seals that can require a pretty decent force to compress and make a good seal on tile across the grout lines.

It becomes a three handed job, two to compress the seal adequately and the third to tighten the screws.

Using the screws alone to force the seal tight oftten strips the screw threads, the valve body threads, or the screw recess/slot.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 7:26AM
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homebound

Good points. BTW, do you guys consider Husky hex wrenches sufficiently hardened? I haven't had problems so far, but don't know if I've pushed them to the limit or not.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 6:50PM
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brickeyee

"...Husky hex wrenches sufficiently hardened"

I only use Allen or Bondhus.

They usually run about $10-$15 for a set of around a dozen in smaller sizes.

The ball end is useful for tight spaces but should not be used for final tightening since the ball can snap off.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 8:26AM
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asolo

Ditto brickeyee.....especially Bondhus...and caution about final tightening.

(Cheap hex wrenches are a curse.)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 1:58PM
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