Shower Fixtures

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But I thought I had another few weeks before I had to start making real decisions!

For those of you following along on the Momplex, you know we've been in mechanical stage, and the Momplex doesn't change much from day to day, with the expection of more wires and pipes and tubing being pulled through walls and floor joists. If anything, the Momplex looks like we take a step backward every day, with more and more stuff being threaded through the walls. These modern houses are certainly high tech, aren't they?

But last week, the Ram said, I need shower fixtures. And I said, you mean the fittings, not the actual shower head and knob right?

Uh, wrong. It all comes as a kit, and you need the kit before the walls are enclosed in drywall. Although a non-commital person like myself may imply that we will have an access panel so I could decide on oil rubbed bronze instead of satin nickel ... I said may.

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Then we add the fittings to attach the tubing too.  Notice we've also added a fitting at the top (bottom left corner) for water to be sent to the shower head.

Time to put some heat to it!

First you heat the joints up with a blow torch.

You get it to just the right temperature

And then bring in the solder.  Can you see the silver solder at the joints?

The solder is pulled into the joints

And seals them up.

Once the shower mixing valve is soldered and cools off, it's time to install it in the shower.

We place a 2x4 behind the hole cut in the center of the shower for mounting the mixing valve to.

The mixing valve is placed in the opening, against the 2x4 on the back side.

This way we can make sure the mixing valve is placed exactly center in the opening.  Then it's just screwed to the 2x4 through the front.

We also have to mount the shower valve up top.

The opening for the shower is much smaller, so we attach it first to another 2x4 block

And attach that to the studs in the wall behind the shower.

Then we can screw the shower head arm on

And the showers are done!  We will still need to add the decorative plates and the shower head, but that comes after we finish up drywall and flooring.  Cannot wait for that!

So have you installed a shower before?  Have you done a tiled in shower?  Would love to hear about your experiences as well!

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On our house, I chose beautiful oil rubbed bronze shower fixtures during construction, and didn't quite think through the future of matching ever single fixture in the house to oil rubbed bronze .. back when it was a trendy, new color. I eventually just gave up and started mixing different metal finishes, and kinda like it. But for the Momplex, I'm going with classic satin nickel. It's easy and it's classic and matches everything.

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We have the showers set up so the fixture is inside the wall between the washer/dryer nook. Just in case there is every a problem, we can place an access panel over the back to make repairs if needed.

It's also easier to work on with the two showers back to back.

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I swear the hardest part of this whole process was determining the right size hole to drill in the shower. We went with the prefab showers just because Mom's going to be 100 years old living in the Momplex, and we want the lowest maintenance, easiest to clean amenities for her. Trust me, expensive tile isn't pretty when it's covered in gunk or is framed in dirty grout thirty years later.

The instructions didn't say how big of a hole to drill, and once you drill a whole, if it's too big, you just are plain out of luck. And if it's too small, it's really difficult to start a bigger hole without a center point for the whole saw.

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Let's hope we got this one right.

Notice we've also drilled a small hole at the top of the shower for the shower head itself.

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Now for the fixture itself. This is the main mixing valve that goes in the wall behind the shower. It pulls water from the hot and cold, mixes it, and disperses it to the tub or shower. It's got four inlets/outlets - one for hot, one for cold, one for the shower and one for the tub. Can you see where it says tub? Since this is just a shower, we have to block that one off.
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It's threaded, so you just wrap it in thread seal tape
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And tighten
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That seals off the tub.
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Now we have to prepare the ends of the hots and colds for our tubing. We need to add elbows so the hots and colds can come up through the floor, make a 90, and then go into the mixing valve.
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We'll be soldering these fittings, so it's not as simple as wrap in thread seal tape and tighten. This stuff is soldering flux.
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It's crucial part of soldering, pulling the solder inside the joint when heated.
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Between the fittings, we need small pieces of pipes cut to connect the fittings.
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Those are cleaned and and prepped
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And fit together.