Help! Is shower trim wrong in all 3 bathrooms?!

ladoladiOctober 12, 2011


As part of a whole house remodel, we reno'd 3 bathrooms. The master shower has 2 sets of trim handles--1 for the showerhead and 1 for the jets. All in all, we have 4 sets of shower handles. They are all Moen (different models) and all have the correct rough-in valve.

Our concern is that 3 of the 4 handles look "wrong." They are not flush with the wall plate. There is a metal cylinder (part #96987) that is quite visible through the gap between the handle and the wall plate.

Diagram of Moen Shower Trim:

The 1 (out of 4) handle that looks correct to us:

The rest of the handles are this far away from the shower trim:

My questions:

1. Is this "normal" and acceptable?

2. If we wanted to make the handles flush with the wall plate, do we have any options as far as solutions?

BTW, we have a plumber who did the installation, and his first reaction was to think I was crazy for worrying about the gap. When I stressed the issue, he tried cutting the metal cylinder on the one that sticks out, but that had no effect on how much it sticks out. He said it's possible his partner (who did the rough in) put the valves out too far. If we were to cut a hole behind the plumbing (the tile is already in), could we "pull" the plumbing and valve further in?

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So he thought you were crazy at first, eh? Classic. Not only is it "possible" that the valve is too far out, but it just so happens to be what happened.

Do you have access from the other side? If so, you might be able to loosen the plumbing, pull it in, and refasten it in the appropriate spot. Get the plumber to do this as part of the deal, since he's responsible.

On the other hand, you might be able to buy a shorter spindle/rod (whatever it's called). I recall that a couple models have one that can be reversed to make a closer adjustment.

Call the mfr's customer service number and see if one is available. if you get one, get the plumber to switch it out. (Don't let him off the hook so easily!)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 8:50PM
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Another simpler solution to remove the handle and loosen the two plate screws. If they are too tight, it pulls the valve out too far. (Once you get it right, go behind the wall and secure the plumbing to studs so the plate doesn't seem too loose.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 8:56PM
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"...simpler solution IS to remove handle, loosen plate screws, etc....."

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 8:58PM
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Thank you, Homebound. We will definitely check the plate screws. The plumber is coming back on Thursday or Friday, so I will get this fixed... one way or another! It's good to know I'm not crazy for thinking the handles looked off.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 11:09PM
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My SO and I took apart the two handles in the master bath to compare how far both valves stick out. One is recessed to the back of the tile, and the other is flush with the face of the tile. It seems like such a small difference, but I guess it's making all the difference.

Also, we noticed that part #12574 is missing from the plumber's installation. Should I be concerned about this?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 10:27AM
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The missing part is only used for the rough-in. As for how far the valves stick out, not so important as long that don't stick out "too" far when it's fully assembled (probably the one recessed more is better). Just remember that tightening those plate screws pulls the valve out further so the know will then stick out too far. Use that as your guide. One last thing, "96987" should be pushed in as far as it can go.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:49AM
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I can't believe I sent that garbled mess.

The recessed valve is better. Just note that tightening the plate screws "too much" can again pull the valve out too far when the plumbing is not secured in the wall. If that happens you're handle will stick out too far. Use that as your guide.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:56AM
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That missing part is used to set the depth of the valve during rough-in installation. IIRC, the face of the part (plastic) is to be at the level of the final surface, the tile in your case.

If the installer just tossed it, then that's why the valve is too far forward. If you can see behind the wall, you should be able to tell if the valve is firmly attached to something (backing piece of wood) or if the pipes are firmly attached. If not, you may be able to move it back that 1/4" or so and reattach it to the wall studs or whatever is available for attachment.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 2:50PM
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