Shower Valve Replacement: Do I Have to Replace the Tile?

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Most shower valve leaks can be addressed with minimal damage to exisiting tile

Shower valve replacement is an unfortunate circumstance many homeowners often face. The repair could result from a leak or simply a worn out vavle. When ignored, a leaking shower valve, no matter how small the leak, can lead to additional home repairs as well as mold and mildew growth. Many homeowners fret over a shower valve repair and assume they are facing major tile replacement and costs. While the possibility of major tile repair certainly exists, many shower valve leaks can be addressed with minimal damage to existing tile. The post below will point out the ramifications of a leaking shower valve as well as what you can expect during a repair.

What is a Shower Valve? A shower valve is a device inside the control wall of your shower that allows you to mix both the hot and cold water to your desired temperature by turning its handle or knob. Also, referred to as a mixing, diverter or control valve, the device connects to the hot and cold water supply line, the showerhead and tub faucet when applicable. These connection points are often the areas that develop a leak.

What Happens When they Leak? A leaking shower valve can wreak havoc on your interior walls, sub walls, flooring, baseboard and cabinetry just like any other leaking fixture. In addition, the leak can weaken the sub wall-studs and underlayment which as we know, supports your tile. Since the shower valve is inside the wall, the leak often goes unnoticed until it is too late and the damage is already done.

Does the Repair Require Tile Replacement? Upon arrival, your plumbing contractor will assess the situation and determine the best point of entry for shower valve replacement or repair. If you are fortunate, your shower control wall will be adjacent to a wall that allows the plumber to access it by simply cutting the drywall on its opposite side. If this option is not available, the plumber will have to access the valve from the tiled side of the control wall. This may require some cutting or removal of the tile around the shower valve opening to access the leak. While your plumber will take great care to cut or remove only enough tile as necessary, you could face some minor tile repair depending on the size of the opening. Most tile repairs under these circumstances can be addressed by installing an oversized escutcheon to cover the larger opening in the tiled wall. However, severe access limitations may require a larger opening in the wall that a larger escutcheon would not cover. Under these circumstances, you can expect a minor tile repair or replacement.

Due to recent climate concerns and global warming, awareness has risen for the importance of water conversation and energy efficiency. If you discover a leak in your home, no matter how small, contact your plumbing contractor immediately.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

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