Did we make a big mistake in our shower?

lauren0319June 8, 2014

To make a very long story short, hubby just finished tiling our shower- I'm super pleased with the results! He tasked me to find a shower trim kit. Problem is we have dual knobs and I was totally dismayed to find out those are now against code.
Tile is done- here are pics:

What are our options? Are there dual knob shower kits out there? Bc I'm not fining them :/
This is DIY gone bad.

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nosoccermom

Do you mean two handles?

If yes, see link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: two-handle shower trim kits

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Ninkasi

No, this can be fixed with the right hardware. The hole placement looks similar to many showers we have here (Germany) that are single knob. Look into European style systems-- grohe is one of the makers that make showers like this, the picture is one of theirs. One side is the heat, the other is the water pressure, very good for saving energy/water.

Maybe you can find a solution that works with the measurement of the holes in the tile. It probably won't be cheap, but much better and nicer than tiling or filling in those holes!

Here is a link that might be useful: European style shower system

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:37PM
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DreamingoftheUP

I don't understand. You would have installed the valves as the rough-in before tiling. You then buy the same brand trim kit as the valve brand.

Or, are you saying those are just the supply pipes sticking out of the wall and you don't even have the valves installed? If so, you've got a bigger problem.

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 12:55

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:54PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The rough in behind the walls with new valves happens before the walls and waterproofing and tile goes up. Do you have valves behind the wall? What type of waterproofing did you do? You may have some big issues bre.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 2:39PM
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chispa

Agree with hollysprings. My GC won't do anything with the shower until the thermostatic valve, diverter valves and drain rough have been delivered. He also prefers to have the trim/handles also on site to make sure the valves get placed at the right depth.

Worst case, lauren0319, you will need to remove tiles on that plumbing wall and start over.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:06PM
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aktillery9

What a beautiful shower! Can you please share the details of the wall tiles, bench and cubbies and floor? We are building a new house and I have been on the lookout for tiles for our shower.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:53AM
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tibbrix

Wolverine Brass makes them, for tub and shower, but can't you just use the shower part of such a kit?

I just had my WB kitchen faucet installed. I LOVE it. My plumber was very impressed with the quality and heft of the faucet.

They make simple but high-quality and not expensive faucets .Rare nowadays. Only thing is, you can't buy WB yourself. Your plumber has to buy it for you, or you can order it through a plumbing company online that sells it. I got mine from Matson's Plumbing in Idaho. They were great.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 7:42AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Presumably the pipes are connected to something. You can't just have a pipe coming out of the wall and decide it's going to handle pressure. You need to know what each pipe is and does.

We ran into a similar issue where we had the valve and the hardware and it was installed, but the gal at the plumbing supply place ordered the wrong thing and we didn't know it until after the tiling was done. Fortunately the shower wall backs up to sheet rock in the dressing area. So we had to bust through the sheet rock, get the wrong valves removed, the right ones installed and then patch the sheet rock. No one knows the difference. If we had more flexibility in design (I mean you can't accomplish every whim) the back of the shower would've been in a closet where we would've had an access panel instead. We had that at the old house and it was great for fixing plumbing.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:35AM
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juddgirl2

I'm not sure I understand the issue - we have 2 handles on our recently installed shower and as mentioned above the mechanics were all installed before the tile went on the walls.

Love your tile! Can you share the name and color of the wall and niche tile?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:25AM
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ineffablespace

I think what the original shower had was this, without the tub faucet: This is a non-pressure balanced /non-thermostatic set-up which means you can scald yourself and in many locations this is no longer code compliant.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:28AM
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ineffablespace

And in the wall is probably something like this:

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:30AM
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ineffablespace

And what a typical pressure balance valve looks like is this:

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:37AM
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Linelle

I just went from the old non-code pressure valve to a new pressure balance valve like what ineffable posted at 11:37.

I understand that with the old setup, one could turn on the shower in the hot position and potentially get scalded. But can't someone simply turn on the water and push it all the way to the left (perhaps unthinkingly) and get just as scalded?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:09PM
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ineffablespace

No. There is always cold water in the mix, and there is a set screw to control how much toward the hot it can be turned. If something happens to take away the cold, say a toilet flushing, or the washer going on, the pressure for the entire system drops and it will not let just hot water out of the showerhead--it allows only enough hot to mix in with the amount of cold available.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Kippy

I take it you did not update the plumbing before doing that wonderful tile?

You can replace the valve by accessing it by creating a hole in the wall behind it, might be preferable to tearing out that whole wall. Then you will have to decide if you patch the 2 supply holes you have now or tear out those two tiles and make your new cuts for the new valve.

If you want to keep the old valve just replacing the handles and live in a subdivision, look in their junk piles from demo.

But personally, I would update the plumbing

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:29PM
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sjhockeyfan325

If something happens to take away the cold, say a toilet flushing, or the washer going on, the pressure for the entire system drops and it will not let just hot water out of the showerhead--it allows only enough hot to mix in with the amount of cold available.

Isn't that true whether its one-handle or two?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:30PM
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suero

You can use an exposed (external) thermostatic valve to connect to the pipes. You won't have to rip out any tile. You will have to spend a pretty penny, though.

Here's an example. I have no idea of the quality. Your best bet would be to ask in the Bath forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Exposed thermostatic valve and shower fixings

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:39PM
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lauren0319

So a little more background. Hubby is a super hard worker but not so great of a researcher. So yes- he did the tile but nothing with the pipes. We went to a very upscale plumbing supply co here in s. texas and was told we couldn't get the dual handles. Hence the freak-out.
I have since found this and is sorta matches our Moen faucets.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/KOHLER-Revival-2-Handle-Shower-Faucet-in-Vibrant-Brushed-Nickel-K-16214-4A-BN/100094257?quantity=1

Steep price but I like the idea of buying from HD bc at least I can return it to the store if it doesn't work.
Any idea why it MIGHT not work? I'm not too worried about the scalding issue.

If we do need to access the plumbing, thankfully the wall backs up to my husbands closet so there is access.

Thank you for all your thoughts!!! I appreciate it!

And thanks for the compliments on the tile. I'll post back about what it is. All from Floor and Decor. The subway tile is marble and the niches and seat are porcelain.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler 2-handle shower from home depot

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:44PM
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pricklypearcactus

That is fantastic news that you have access to plumbing from the closet. That means you can go out and choose a modern valve and trim and do the replacement from the other side. I would opt for that since it will allow you to have new trim and up to date plumbing that will prevent scalds.

Here are two Kohler shower kits that includes trim and valve.

Since you mentioned that your hubby is not a great researcher, I am curious about waterproofing. What did he use? There are many ways in the past (and sadly the present) that people have built showers that did not fully take waterproofing into consideration. The last thing you want is to have to redo the shower AND fix water damage if proper waterproofing was not done. I really hope everything was done correctly because that is some beautiful tile work.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:26PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

sjhockey, no because a flushing toilet uses only cold so the cold volume will drop leaving you with a shock of hot water.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:36PM
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sjhockeyfan325

So there are no two-handled setups that have a pressure balance valve?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:03PM
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patricianat

A couple of reasons for the balance valve that I personally am familiar with, having worked in the medical profession: young children turning on the hot water and scalding themselves because they could not turn it off and did not know about turning the other on. Mothers and caretakers are sometimes busy with other children, sleeping or just not paying attention, and curious children can get into all kinds of mischief, some of which is fatal.

Another is that there have been vicious nurses aides in nursing homes who turned the hot water on after putting old patients in the tubs who were unable to get out, and left them to burn almost to death. One nursing home had the same nurses' aide do that on two different occasions to two different patients. Sometimes it is difficult to get rid of employees until crime can be proven beyond a doubt.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Oaktown

Hansgrohe makes showerpipes with exposed thermostatic valves, not too expensive if you are looking at something along the lines of Kohler.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:19PM
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ineffablespace

To my knowledge, no, there are no two-separate-handled pressure balanced valves. The cold handle controls the cold volume, and the hot controls the hot volume, but since the water is not Mixed inside the valve, if the cold water is not getting to the cold shower valve at all, the hot will continue at the same rate, because it is not affected by the Total volume coming through the valve.

The Grohe, Hansgrohe, European type valves that have two pipes coming out the wall just have a mixer that is exposed outside the wall.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:07PM
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