What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Main Bathroom Shower Fix

There are two givens when you buy a previously owned house.  First, the sellers are going to do quick cover-ups along with staging to sell the house.  That means, even though the cover-up may not be noticeable during the viewing, it will become rather apparent when you move in.  For example, the previous owners of our new house obviously did a quick and rather shoddy paint job throughout the house in favour of a bit more neutral colours.  This really translates into us having to paint every room in the house properly.  The second given is unless a repair is noticeable to a potential buyer and may affect the sale of the house, the seller is not going to fix it.

shower faucet problem
Shortly after moving into our new house we realized the previous owners were guilty of not fixing even minor repairs.  The main tub and shower control dripped and dripped enough to really get on my nerves while wasting valuable fresh water.  Further investigation showed that the previous owners had purposely broke the control that diverts water from going into the tub so it would go to the shower only.  The hand held shower head with it's long hose ensured that more than likely during a showing there would be no noticeable leak.  The only time we actually noticed the leak was when the hose filled completely enough to spill out the shower head.

This house was built in 1994 and I can't believe that neither bathrooms have access panels for plumbing repairs that may be needed.  We had three choices for the main bathroom plumbing repair.  We could rip out the tub surround and replace everything, we could rip the tile off of the kitchen wall behind the stove to gain access to the pipes or we could go through the tub surround to gain access to the pipes.  We called in the professionals.  As avid DIYers, we know there are some repairs best left to them.

the newly cut access for shower control
We had purchased a gorgeous Moen shower set at half price during Home Hardware's clearance sale.  The intentions was to use the set when we remodeled the upstairs bathroom at our last house.  Well, we never got to that project so I told the plumber to use the set for the repair.  Once the plumber cut the hole in the tub surround, he found that the Moen set would not work with the valve we have.  The valve was the problem and needed replacing but even though the house isn't that old finding the replacement valve quickly became a problem.  He made a few phone calls and we went without water in the main bathroom for a few days while he finally found a replacement valve.

contractor's plate installed on shower control
The plumber told us the easiest and cheapest solution was using a contractor's plate.  He was very concerned we would not like the looks.  The thing is we needed water in the main bathroom and a functional tub/shower.  As DIYers we understand that sometimes a solution to a problem is dictated by what is there.  We told him to go ahead and use the contractor's plate. 

I honestly don't think the contractor's plate looks all that bad.  He used the Moen plate from our set in the centre.  If we ever need to work on the valve again, both plates are easily removed.  He had to replace the tub spigot with shower control as the old one was too damaged. 

the finished look of shower control with contractor's plate
He used the handle from our shower set giving the finished result a pleasing look.  Quite frankly, I like the peace of mind that we now have easy access if necessary.  If anything, the contractor's plate gives the shower control a custom look.  There are shower doors on the tub surround so it isn't like the shower control is highly visible but even if it was, I wouldn't mind it.

The total repair ended up costing us $250 but it was done correctly.  We likely could have done the repair ourselves but it really was a job for professionals.  The reality is, he had a lot better connections for rounding up the valve than we did.  This meant it took about four days for the repair where it would have taken us considerably longer to find the parts.

new shower head
We removed the hand held shower head.  I have waist length hair so would have liked to keep the hand held unit but it just wasn't practical.  In order to use it without being in the shower, you would have to wedge yourself between the toilet and tub while working around the shower doors. The existing shower head also had a water flow restrictor so was almost impossible to get the shampoo out of my hair.  We were in Bed, Bath & Beyond where we found a lovely, adjustable Moen shower head in the clearance section for $8 (regular $56).  We bought it even though the finish was a brushed bronze instead of chrome.  It works nicely and I can't believe the price we got it for!

With the much needed shower repair finished it was time to move onto freshening the look of the bathroom.  Coming up, how we added custom wood trim, salvaged a plate mirror, a custom made medicine cabinet, and took the bathroom for it's horrid peach tones  to a very light taupe, called Hazelnut Cream.  Stay tuned...

Garden Gnome