Can I use sharkbites to replace a shower valve?


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Old 01-10-23, 07:39 AM
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Can I use sharkbites to replace a shower valve?

This is a rental built in the 60's. I'm having a guy do some joist work and put in a new floor, and I decided to get a new vanity and address the old shower/toilet pipes at the same time.

The threads where the bonnet nuts go on the tub handles have stripped out smooth on one side, and I've been having to replace cartridges about every 4 or 5 months from leaks. I'm assuming stripped threads pretty much means the whole shower valve needs replaced?

https://i.imgur.com/sDSeGzk.png

I've done a lot of plumbing DIY, but have never messed with a shower valve, and I just use sharkbites on supply lines. Can I use sharkbites for a shower valve replace? I would probably put in an access panel, so I would have easy access to it for future issues/observations.

If this is something that's feasible, can anyone recommend aa shower valve -- either a specific model, or the general name of the type of valve -- that would be a good replacement? Just want something basic and inexpensive, and like I said, I've never dealt with shower valves before, so I dont know the lingo.

https://i.imgur.com/puTKui1.png

https://i.imgur.com/biqeH3i.png

Thanks for any input.

(If I had time, I would learn to solder, but I have a very short window to replace this, so I would prefer to use sharkbites right now.)
 
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Old 01-10-23, 08:16 AM
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Bite style fittings are my last resort. Wile they are approved for in wall use they don't have a long history. Only one O ring forms the watertight seal and O rings don't last forever to the longevity of bite fittings has yet to be proven. You can do it, it is approved but I wouldn't.

Bite fittings provide no support. So, your new valve will have to be rigidly mounted on it's own because it will gain no support from the piping like with galvanized or copper. Also, I have seen bite fittings leak when a stress is applied to them so any strain, pulling or movement can cause leaking.

As for choosing a new faucet. Pick a well, known brand name that has been around for decades. So, any of the major brands will be OK and you'll be able to get parts in the future. Avoid store brands and anything online/Amazon that is not a major brand.
 
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Old 01-10-23, 08:25 AM
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If I had time, I would learn to solder, but I have a very short window to replace this
You know the old saying, give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach him how to fish (or solder in this case), and he eats for a lifetime!

Seriously, one of the easier skills to master, but for some reason is seen as being voo-doo black magic!
 
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Old 01-10-23, 09:34 AM
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Yeah I should have learned it a long time ago, because I often hear that it's not terribly complicated, for just basic repairs. That sharkbite is just always so tempting when I'm buying supplies... hard to resist, hah.
 
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Old 01-10-23, 10:35 AM
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Here's what I found when I opened up the back. There is a 2x4 running slightly below the fixture that is mounted to something solid, and they had laid a loose piece of 2x4 on top of that solid 2x4, I guess to try and provide some resistance when pushing on the pipes. So I guess I will screw a new piece of 2x4 (or stack a couple) into the mounted 2x4, and butt it up to the back of whatever I put in there, unless that wouldn't suffice.

https://i.imgur.com/DXaA37r.png

It seems like a lot of people (most?) go to a single handle... is there a particular reason for that? Is it for looks, or is it also less maintenance or something? Is there a big price difference between a one handle setup, and the style that I have?

https://i.imgur.com/7UkZQmx.png

https://i.imgur.com/JiMVlBv.png


 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-10-23 at 02:03 PM. Reason: added pic from one link
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Old 01-10-23, 11:10 AM
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Single handle shower valves generally include anti-scald temperature control. For that reason they are required by code in many locations. Two-handle systems do not provide that kind of safety protection.

A rental unit without anti-scald valves seems like an opportunity for liability to the owner.
 
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Old 01-10-23, 02:05 PM
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You picked quite an aggressive DIY project there. Shower valves are not easy to work on.
 
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Old 01-10-23, 03:23 PM
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I think that if I were doing any copper pipe work I would invest in a crimp tool. I've used crimp fittings on PEX but never copper. A couple of years ago I had a plumber install a new boiler and all the associated piping for baseboard heat. He used a battery powered crimp tool and it was pretty impressive. The fitting also relies on a static O ring seal. A reliable design that has been around for years. Crimp are easier, faster and safer than solder.

As for Sharkbites they are warranted for 25 years, They have been around for probably 20 years. I have several in my basement that may be 15 years old. I am very comfortable with using them and have never had a leak. The seal is in a static mode and the O ring material used is high quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFFkf7qUJDA
 
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Old 01-10-23, 03:43 PM
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You picked quite an aggressive DIY project there. Shower valves are not easy to work on.
Yeah I was going to pay for whoever did the floor to do it, because I had never messed with them before, but then the guy I went with said he didn't do plumbing, so I decided to take a crack at it.

After watching some vids, it looks like it's going to be pretty easy. I'm just going to cut the copper supply lines, and use Sharkbite to join CPVC, then run CPVC into the valve with a CPVC brass adapter, like in this video.

https://i.imgur.com/TfZDHEV.png

For the shower and spout connections, I might just use female threaded Sharkbite adapters to copper on the valve, as both of those lines are copper.


 
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Old 01-11-23, 05:08 AM
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You can use CPVC though for such a small job I'd just use copper throughout instead. Your not using enough materials for the price to be a huge deal. I especially don't like a plastic female fitting over metal male as overtightening can cause the plastic female to crack.

You MUST use rigid copper either threaded or sweated for the tub spout. The pipe is what holds the spout. Bite fittings don't have any structural strength so you need piping that is strong and rigid. If you use a bite fitting expect the spout to be loose and wobbly and probably start leaking in the future.
 
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Old 01-11-23, 04:22 PM
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Dane brings up a good point with the spout. A drop ear fitting is used at the shower head.
I believe you can use one at the spout too. The wood backing adds the strength.


 
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Old 01-12-23, 05:41 AM
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If you use a drop ear for the tub spout like Pjmax mentioned, get one that has three mounting holes if using bite fittings. The two hole type let the spout rock up and down, pivoting on the two mounting screws. Three screws can prevent it from moving in all directions.

Most three hole drop ear fittings on the shelf in big box stores are intended for PEX. You may have to order a bite version if that's the way you want to go. They are expensive, about $15, but that's cheaper than buying a torch, solder and flux.
 
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Old 01-12-23, 08:53 AM
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Thanks everyone. I got threaded brass nipples to use for the spout. Using a brass coupler at the valve with a brass nipple into a brass 90, and another nipple out to the spout.

I had to cut the solid 2x4 out to get better access to the pipes, and here is what i have now, with a couple of side shots. Not entirely sure how I'm going to mount it yet, but I guess I will figure it out as I go. Maybe I can toenail in a 2x4 between the joists, but put it closer to the tub than the one I cut out, and screw the valve into it. Then maybe toenail a 2nd 2x4 below that one for the tub spout pipe.





 
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Old 01-12-23, 10:29 PM
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As for Sharkbites they are warranted for 25 years,
And there is the reason I will never use one! Only 25 years?
 
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Old 01-13-23, 12:48 AM
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Here's where I'm at with it. Tub line is going to be cpvc into the 3 hole fitting that Pilot Dane posted above, and then a 5" brass nipple into the tub. Let me know if anyone sees anything amiss. I'm going to screw in a 2x4 after I make the connections, and attach the valve to it.



The remodel plate overlaps the existing tub spout, and since adjusting the tub spout just enough to clear it would leave a gap around the spout, I'm thinking about just dropping it a couple of inches so there is no gap around the spout, and then cover up the hole under the remodel cover. Anyone have any ideas how best to do that?


 
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Old 01-13-23, 04:38 AM
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What I don't see is the valve body firmly attached to structure.

Your surround, or at least the faucet wall needs to be replaced. You shouldn't attach the escutcheon plate to just that thin sheet of plastic that itself is unsupported. Plus, you've got a big hole from the previous tub spout that is left exposed.
 
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Old 01-13-23, 05:08 AM
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Let me know if anyone sees anything amiss
The hole, maybe some type of trim plate


​​​​​​​
 
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Old 01-13-23, 06:17 AM
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"And there is the reason I will never use one! Only 25 years?"

My washer hoses are guaranteed for only 5 years. Do you hard pipe your washer?

A 25 year guarantee is a hell of a lot better than most things we buy.



 
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Old 01-13-23, 07:12 AM
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What I don't see is the valve body firmly attached to structure.
You might have overlooked it, but I said I was going to attach it to a 2x4 after I make the connections.

As to the hole, I suppose I'll try an epoxy repair kit for now. Replacing the surround isn't feasible right now.
 
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Old 01-13-23, 07:19 AM
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If I were doing it I would use some kind of thin waterproof material (opaque plexiglass, Corian, etc.) and make it look like a control panel on the surface of the existing surround material. Mounted with epoxy or silicone. Holes cut where appropriate and covering all other holes.
 
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Old 01-13-23, 07:35 AM
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Do you hard pipe your washer?
​​​​​​​It's not buried inside a wall!
 
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Old 01-13-23, 08:39 AM
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"As to the hole, I suppose I'll try an epoxy repair kit for now. Replacing the surround isn't feasible right now."
Check your local home center or building supply for plastic sheeting. It is often in the same are as wall paneling. It's a bit less than 1/8" thick, white and has a pebble finish. You've probably seen it on a restroom wall somewhere. You can get a piece of that and cut a piece to cover the whole faucet and spout area. Thoroughly clean the existing surround. Then glue the panel in place with white, solvent based silicone caulk (the stinky kind, not the no smell water based). Then you can drill new holes for your faucet and tub spout. With this method you can go with a standard size escutcheon if you want. It will also cover the old tub spout hole and provide additional stiffness to the surround panel
 
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Old 01-13-23, 10:47 AM
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You can't drop the valve or the spout will hit. I see you're using the two handle to single handle trim.
I would use a fiberglass patching kit to fill that hole.
Example
 
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Old 01-13-23, 05:59 PM
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@ Pilot - Great idea, I'll keep that in mind.

@PJ - Thanks, I worded it poorly, I meant I was going to drop the spout down fully past the tub spout hole, instead of attaching it at the existing hole. If they hadn't made that hole so massive when they originally installed it, it wouldn't have been a problem. Maybe it was necessary for something... don't know.

Well, I got it finished.. Still have to mount it to some blocking, but I had zero leaks when I tested everything.





I'll attach a parts list if anyone is curious. In total, it cost $310 to convert from 3 handle to 1. I'm really curious what a quote from a plumber would have been, to compare against my more expensive parts list (sharkbites and $40 worth of drill bits).

It was pretty daunting in the beginning, especially since I have never worked on any type of shower valve. I was heavily considering calling a plumber at times, but obviously glad I didn't now. Yes it would have been nice to have avoided all that stress/work, but now I know exactly what's going on behind the wall, whereas before I really had no clue.

Oh, and I guess I now have a $30 (yikes) 3" hole saw that I will probably never use again... anyone want to come pick it up for $10? Hah.

Thanks for the help everyone.

Parts List:

Delta Foundations faucet/valve
1/2" x 1/2" sharkbite coupler (3)
1/2" sharkbite to FIP drop ear elbow
1/2" x 1/2" CPVC slip to stainless FPT adapter (4)
90 degree CPVC fitting (2)
6" brass nipple
pipe dope
CPVC Cement
3" hole saw (main faucet)
1" spade bit (spout pipe)
Danco remodel plate
10' 1/2" CPVC
14" x 14" access panel
 
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Old 01-14-23, 04:19 AM
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The problem you will find is that the faucet body and drop ear are designed to be screwed/attached from the front into wood blocking. You will have a difficult time installing the blocking after the fact from behind. You can try removing your escutcheon on the front and working through the gap around the faucet body.
 
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Old 01-14-23, 05:38 AM
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Are the black lines on the pipes there to indicate the correct depth of engagement with the fittings?
 
 

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