Tub/shower valve and PEX...DIY?


Old 03-02-06, 08:14 AM
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Tub/shower valve and PEX...DIY?

Is PEX considered a DIY project if you have the correct tools? I had my 14 yr old house replumbed last Summer with PEX due to an under slab leak in the copper piping. I now want to replace the tub/shower valve assembly (old single handle P/P unit, extremely hard to pull out/push in). The replumbing was really expensive so I couldn't afford to replace the valve at that time.

I was going to remove and repair/replace the internals of the valve, but it is in really bad shape and I can't even get the center cartridge assembly out. All the trim needs replacing too. So I think, hey, just replace the whole thing, that way I get a new valve assembly, handle, trim plates, spout, etc. There seems to be more than enough room due to a large hole that was cut into the tub wall so the plumbers could connect the PEX to the existing valve assembly. There's an oversize trim plate covering the hole. I removed the handle. trim plate, etc. and the PEX is crimped on the inlet fittings to each side of the shower valve.

I had the same plumbers come out to give me an estimate on replacing the shower valves in both bathrooms (I want to replace both). The estimate was over $850 to replace the two shower valve assemblies so I was a little shocked (that's parts and labor). It just doesn't look that involved (I'm no expert though). I have another plumber coming over for a second estimate.

I'm pretty good around the house with DIY stuff, but have never worked with PEX. I know it requires expensive tools, but even if I bought the tools, I'd still be way below the estimate from the plumbers. Is there more to it than the tools? Should I leave this to the pro's? Any advice is appreciated.

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Old 03-03-06, 06:04 PM
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I think Pex is very "do it yourself" if you spend the money on the crimper.

If the fittings are threaded into the valves you may get real lucky and be able to unscrew the brass Pex fitting from the valve without cutting the line and screw it back into the new valve. The brass fitting will usually spin inside the Pex and still maintain a water tight seal. It's really incredible stuff.

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