Monday, November 22, 2010


About two months ago, I went to turn off the hot water in the shower (we have a three handle system) and it just spun and spun. A little finagling and I managed to shut it off, but after a few times of that, it was done. There was no more grip. I popped the access panel and shut off the water. Since we have two full baths upstairs (a serious luxury in the city) I just started using the other one. No biggie. But, you can only let something sit for so long. Finally, I called a plumber. He came by and fixed it enough so I was able to use it, but the new handles I wanted would have to be special ordered. In the meantime, something was bugging me. . .

The tile behind the hot water trim had been cut too large . . . and there was a small hole exposed.  Since I had a little time, I decided to try and fix it myself. So, at first I had to remove the old trim. The hot water handle trim came out very easy since it was just replaced. The others, not so much. It took a hammer drill to get the stripped screw out of the diverter (the handle that changes the water from the tub to shower and vice versa), but the cold water trim wasn't budging.

I organized all my friends:

After removing the screw with great difficulty, I could not get the trim off the stem. It was rusted on there. I sprayed it with WD-40 and tried to use a wrench to pry it off. After about three times of this, it finally worked. But the stem broke off with the trim. No big deal since it was going to be replaced anyway. I have no idea if this is how you're suppose to do it - but it worked for me!

I broke out the second tile. It's always such a strange feeling to break things in your own house. This was especially disconcerting since it could break the tile next to it and cause more problems.

Thankfully, it didn't and I was able to replace the two tiles.

Then, I was able to grout:

And, make a parts graveyard:

Then, the pros came back and finished it off.

Looks good right?

Later on, we'll have to re-grout the whole shower (something I expected to do a while back). But for now, at least we have an actual working shower.

*We used O'Neill Plumbing, 703-655-0071. They specialize in emergency work. Last year they came out on pretty short notice when we couldn't get the main water connection to shut off. You can see their great Yelp reviews HERE.

** As always, DC Rowhouse was not paid or perked by the service provider. I get lots of inquiries on who we hire and I'm happy to recommend the ones who we like.


Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

Oh yes, I love those handles! I can't believe you fixed those tiles yourself. I would be terrified to break the surrounding tiles. Way to go!

Benny said...

Thanks Sara!

Melissa at said...

Nice work! Can you tell me the brand of the handles and where you got them? I need some for my upstairs guest bath.

Benny said...

Hi Melissa,

We have a price pfister system in that bath (you have to use the same brand of the handles you currently have). This is the same style as the kit we used:

Good luck with your guest bath!

K said...

I had that exact same problem in my shower! The piece of plastic inside the handle/knob broke, so I had no temperature control. I took off the cover and was able to remove the knob, but right now the only way I can operate my shower is by using a pair of pliers on the screw that holds the knob. It's very classy.

Benny said...


Wow. Your shower system sounds chic!

But, probably time to call a plumber to change out that faucet, huh?


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