A shower faucet is one of the most important fixtures in a bathroom. These fixtures are known by many different names, including shower head and bathtub spout. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually two different pieces of equipment. It is important to understand the differences between the two fixtures before you buy one or even repair one.
The first step in replacing your shower faucet is to determine if it is a single handle or a two-handle faucet. If you have a two-handle faucet, replacing it is not hard, but it can be tricky. If the shower faucet has a small hole, you can skip this step altogether. The second step is to determine the type of stem. There are two basic stem types: washerless and washer. The former type has one handle that rests on a metal plate and controls hot and cold water mixing. The second type features two or three handles, one of which acts as a diverter.
To replace a shower faucet, you will need to work inside the shower wall. Fortunately, some homes have a removable panel in the next room that can be removed without damaging the surround of the shower. In other homes, you may have to drill a hole in the shower surround. If this is the case, the best solution is to purchase a paintable plastic panel that fits behind the faucet. You can find this type of panel in many home centers, plumbing suppliers, and online. Ideally, the panel will be 14 by 14 inches in size. If that is not possible, you can use an oversized cover plate instead.
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