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Shower Faucet Installation : A Pro-Backed Guide with Pro Tips!

how to install shower faucets
Written by Callum Strempel

Certainly, installing shower faucets isn’t easy. This is why some people prefer to leave this job in professional hands. However, if you don’t want to call in a professional plumber, pay close attention.

Today, we’ll explain you in detail how to install your brand-new shower faucet and give you a list of all the tools and materials you’ll need during the installation process.

How to Install a shower faucet

1. Tools & Materials

  • Slip joint pliers
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Screws
  • Wrench
  • Level
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Hole saw
  • Caulking gun
  • Crimping tool
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen key
  • Silicone sealant
  • Teflon tape
  • 2X4-Inch board
  • Female threaded adapters
  • 1/2X1/2-Inch NPT drop-ear elbow
  • Shower and faucet headset
  • PEX tubing

2. Turn the Water Supply Off

First of all, you’ll have to turn off the water supply. To do this, you just need to close the main valve of your bathroom. In case you don’t have one, you’ll have to close the main water valve of your home.

If that’s your case, reserve some water on pots before getting started. You’ll need it to wash your hands and perform other important activities.

3. Get Access to Plumbing

Shower Faucet Installation
Next thing you need to do is getting access to plumbing behind wall. In the best scenario, there’s a small door behind the shower wall to do this. If that’s not your case, you’ll probably have to break the wall.

If the walls are made of drywall or similar materials, you’ll just need a hole saw, a regular saw and a hammer to get access to the pipes. However, if the wall is made of blocks and concrete, you’ll need a hammer and a chisel to get the job done. When breaking the wall, be careful not to hit the pipes directly so as not to break them.

4. Make Some Measurements

Shower Faucet Install
After getting access to the pipes, it’s time to make some measurements. On the apposite side of the shower wall, mark the points where the handle and the shower head are going to be.

Usually, the shower handles should be 45-48 inches above the floor. All your family members should comfortably reach the handles, no matter the type of faucet you have. So, don’t place them too high if there are young children at home.

On the other hand, the shower head should be 72-78 inches above the floor. In the case of rain shower heads, it’s better to follow the suggestions in the installation manual. In this case, the shower head goes higher to give that special rain-falling feeling.

5. Install the Plumbing

Install the Plumbing
a. Horizontal board

Join two consecutive studs with a piece of 2X4-inch board. The wooden board will work as a support for the valves. So, make sure to properly fix the board between studs with enough screws. Also, make sure the valves are placed on the center of the wooden board.

b. Apply Teflon tape

Wrap the ends of the valves and adapters with Teflon tape and connect the pipes using a wrench. Don’t forget that hot water pipes go to the left and cold water pipes to the right.

Join the outputs of both hot and cold water valves with a horizontal piece of pipe. In this pipe section, the water will be mixed to get the desired temperature.

c. Vertical pipe

Connect a vertical PEX pipe at the midpoint of the horizontal pipe that joins both water valves. Make sure the pipe is properly aligned using a bubble level.

d. Drop-ear elbow

After that, install a second horizontal board between studs. This time, on the exact point where you’re going to install the shower head. Then, warp the end of the drop-ear elbow with Teflon tape. Connect the vertical pipe with the drop-ear elbow. Finally, fix the drop-ear elbow to the wooden board with a pair of screws.

6. Drill the Shower Wall

How to Replace a Shower Faucet

Using a drill saw, drill three holes corresponding to the shower head and the handles. During the drilling process, wear protective glasses and a face mask. Make sure the holes for the handles are perfectly aligned at the same height.

7. Install the Handles

Replace a Shower Faucet
Insert the two handle adapters inside the corresponding holes on the shower wall. Make sure the adapters perfectly fit on the cold and hot water valves. After that, install the decorative rings around the handles using a drill and screws. Finally, install the handles on the adapters using an Allen key.

8. Install the Shower Head

Install the Shower Head
Wrap both ends of the shower arm with Teflon tape. Then, insert the shower arm insider the corresponding hole. Use a wrench to connect it with the drop-ear elbow. After that, fix the decorative ring to the wall with some screws. Finally, connect the shower head to the free end of the shower arm.

9. Turn on the Water Supply

After completing the installation process, it’s time to make a test to identify any possible water leak. To do this, turn on the water supply. Make sure there are no water drops around valves and fittings. In case of any leak, turn off the water supply and make the corresponding corrections.

10. Fill the Holes

After verifying there are no water leaks, fill all the holes around the decorative rings with silicone sealant. Doing this will prevent water from seeping into the walls.

Useful Installation Tips

  • When connecting pipes with valves and fittings, make sure not to apply too much pressure. Overtightened shower fixtures is a common cause of ruptures and water leaks.
  • Never use CPVC fittings with copper pipes. CPVC doesn’t properly adhere to copper. So, high temperatures and water pressure can easily separate the joined pieces.

Conclusion

As you can see, you don’t need to be a professional contractor or plumber to know how to replace a shower faucet. All you need is the knowledge and the right tools and materials to get the job done.

Carefully follow the tips in this installation guide to avoid making mistakes. If you don’t have the experience to do this project by yourself, ask someone else for help.

About the author

Callum Strempel

Licensed Plumber

Hi, I’m Callum, a full time plumber with a plumbing license issued by my state. So far, I’ve spent nearly a decade and a half installing and fixing a wide variety of plumbing components and units. My profession inspires me to talk about the kitchen and bathroom (and the plumbing system) so confidently and knowledgeably that I offer my free consultations to help neighbors and fellow homeowners every now and then. As I enjoy installing faucets, sinks, showers, and fixtures, I love to see people enjoying services from those components for years to come. So, I write every week to inform you and others. Will you mind going through some of my articles on this website?

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