Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: New Shower Faucet

My old three-handle compression faucet has been replaced with a one-handle ceramic disc faucet. No more fighting with obnoxious handles! Yay! :)

I started with hard-to-turn handles that I hated:

The plumber replaced the valve after cutting a large hole in the wall similar to this:

Then he installed the new handle. I thought I'd end up with the round faucet escutcheon layered over a remodel plate similar to this:

But the plumber was able to make adjustments to allow room for the oval escutcheon/cover plate which could be used on its own.
I think it looks less silly than the layered escutcheons. What really matters, though, is that I can turn the handle with the slightest effort. :D

Having the faucet replaced was a nerve-wracking enterprise. I was afraid tiles would crack or fall off when the plumber cut into the wall, especially after he pointed out that some of the tiles were loose. It would be impossible to find exact replacements for 40-year-old tiles. Also, I had no idea what he might find when he opened the wall, though I was certain he would find at least one oddity. I just hoped it would not be too serious an impediment.

When he got to work, there were loud, scary rotary tool cutting sounds accompanied by the occasional sound of something falling. Then there was the even louder reciprocating saw which seemed to make the whole house vibrate. Then there was the sound of the torch igniting. When the plumber finally emerged from the bathroom about an hour later, I was almost afraid to go in and look. :P

Whew! Everything looked great! No cracked tiles and very neat work on the installation. :D

So what oddities did he find? There was a weirdly placed stud that he had to cut away (thus the reciprocating saw.) But even stranger -- the main water line and the water heater are in the basement, but the shower plumbing does not come up from the floor. It comes down from above. :/

Overall, converting an old three-handle faucet is not an inexpensive project. I paid $178 for the faucet kit, $58 for the cover plate, and $500 for the plumber to do the work. But I believe it will be worth the money. I use the shower every day, and I was very, VERY tired of fighting with the difficult old handles.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

New Faucet Delayed

Yesterday was supposed to be New Faucet Day. Alas, the plumber had major "unforeseen circumstances" that delayed him. Three hours after my appointment time, his office called to see if we could reschedule. :( GRRR.

I'd already planned to take the day off work due to construction at the office. If I'd taken the day just for the plumber, I would have been really annoyed.

I made use of the time by clearing items out of the bathroom cabinet in preparation for replacing the vanity and by reorganizing the linen closet to give the items a new home. I want to paint the bathroom, but I'm not sure my pet circumstances will allow it. Clingy blind dog + paint in a 3' x 5' space = disaster waiting to happen. :P

Now I'm off to argue with the faucet handles to see if I can convince them to give me water of a comfortable temperature. And I was so looking forward to a cooperative shower experience today. Sigh.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: Shower Faucet

My bathroom remodel begins in five days! :D Hooray!

I'm starting big with the most complicated, most expensive, most functionally significant portion of the remodel -- replacing the shower faucet. As I mentioned in a previous post, the tub/shower handles have been a real pain for some time. They are hard to turn, and it's difficult to make small adjustments so that the water isn't too cold or too hot (and that's when the cold water isn't turning itself off). I have previously replaced the faucet stems, but it was only a temporary fix because they wore out after a couple of years.  The long-term solution is to replace the valve inside the wall.  For that, I need a plumber... and that's why this will be the most expensive portion of the remodel.

Replacing the valve will require cutting a sizable hole in the wall, something like this: 
From The Family Handyman

I do NOT want to replace the tile, so I'll need a large plate (escutcheon) to cover the hole, something like this:
From The Family Handyman

Not ideal, but I can live with it. My main concern is that there is little room for a cover plate because the handle and tub spout are very close together.
By the way, that's not mold (ick!), it's cracked grout.

I had to order everything, so I wasn't able to measure the tub spouts or see the finishes. I ordered two faucet kits and three cover plates in the hopes that some combination of them will work.
Moen Brantford

Pegasus Estates

Premier, Cleveland Faucet, and Lasco cover plates
It turns out that all the finishes are quite similar.
Moen Brantford handle with Cleveland Faucet cover plate
Pegasus Estates handle with Lasco cover plate
Pegasus Estates handle with Premier cover plate

I would be okay with any of the combinations, I think. The real joy will be having a shower that I don't have to fight with. :P