Purchasing and Installing new Bathtub Faucets and Shower Heads can be a daunting task. There are several things to consider before purchasing. The style, the finish, and the flow. Traditional, modern, art deco, or with decorative elements, faucets come in a variety of shapes and styles. Chrome, brushed nickel, brass, copper, oil rubbed bronze are just some of the finishes, and the flow can be anything from one that saves water, to one that imitates rain, or one that massages, just to name a few features. But once the decisions are made, they pretty much all install the same way.
Position the valve so the “UP” indication faces upward.
Connect the hot and cold water supply pipes directly to each side of the valve. Solder all joints making sure not to overheat the valve, which could damage it.
Secure the valve inside the wall. To make sure it is solidly secured, screw it to a horizontal 2 × 4 in. part. If there is no such part at that location, install one.
Reconnect the riser tube (or showerhead supply line to the valve) and the spout pipe (if applicable) by using appropriate connectors. If the valve is only for a shower installation (without a spout), plan for a ½ in. brass cap to block the outlet that will not be used.
After completing the walls and tile work it is now time to finish installing the faucet and shower head.
Remove the protective template attached to the valve. Make the decorative plate slide on the valve. Position the plate hole(s) in front of the holes in the valve and screw. Now is the time to install the handle. Screw the handle adapter on the cartridge and, using the hexagonal Allen key, install the handle. It is important that the lever points downward when the faucet is shut. Make sure to read the instructions that come with your faucet for any differences in installation.
Some shower heads are fixed, others are removable (telephone shower) and attached to stems for adjusting the height to the user. It’s up to you to choose the model you like. Variable flow shower heads make it possible to adjust the water flow to gentle, strong or pulsating.
Connect the upper outlet (drop ear elbow) to the shower head supply pipe, after applying Teflon tape to the filets, and then screw the drop ear elbow to a horizontal 2 × 4 in. part. Caution: just before screwing the connections, slide the flange to the end of the shower pipe, on the wall side. That way you’ll avoid damaging the chrome pipe.
Wrap clockwise the shower head’s pipe filets with two or three layers of Teflon tape. Manually screw the shower head without tightening too much. Use an adjustable wrench to finish tightening with a ¼ turn.
If your set includes a flexible connector, install it now.
Most spouts are slid or screwed on a pipe. In either case, first make sure that the copper pipe has no defect or imperfection. The pipe’s cut end must be flawless inside and out. The rim must also be smooth, not sharp.
Turn the spout on the copper pipe so that the setscrew faces upward. Tighten the screw moderately with the hegagonal Allen key. Then turn the spout to the normal position while making sure it’s well installed against the shower stall wall. Tighten the screw well with the hexagonal Allen key.
Apply Teflon tape on the sleeve filets and screw the spout to the sleeve.
Open the hot and cold water supply and inspect the connections to make sure there’s no leak. Open the faucet to the “lukewarm” position for at least one minute to release the air caught in the pipes.
Drill, tubing cutter, multiuse wire brush, flame guard, propane torch, damp rag, channellocks.