Monday, July 07, 2008

Shower Valve Roughed Too Far Forward!

Now that all the painting and caulking is done, it was finally time to attach the shower trim plate and hot/cold lever. The wall trim plate attached fine but the lever was about an inch out away from the trim plate. After a deep breath and closer examination, I concluded that my plumber had roughed in the valve too far forward. All I could think about was what a huge pain in the ass it was going to be to rip the finished wall off to move the valve.


Clinging to the notion that everything has a workaround, I googled the problem and found someone else with the same exact situation. They even had a Moen valve and handle. In their case the plumber was also responsible for the finished wall, which is even more embarrassing. In my case, I had stuck with my detailed plans for finishing the wall so I am still blaming my plumber. Apparently, the Moen valve installation instructions must confuse plumbers. Either that or plumbers are too cocky to use the instructions. I assume it is the later.

Anyway, the other couple had posted their problem on the Terry Love plumbing forum and managed to solve it by using Moen's valve stop extension piece. The extension is actually provided for valves that are set back too far into the wall, but I guess it can also be used for the opposite. And despite the fact that Moen says to correct the valve in-wall depth instead, several Terry Love moderators seemed to think correcting the problem by using the extension was acceptable. In fact, some argue that the rough-in is still technically accurate because the trim plate fits.


Since bringing my plumber back was about the last thing in the world I wanted to do, I studied the valve and lever parts to determine if said workaround was sound. I came up with a few modifications to help improve it. Since two screws would now be exposed, I added rubber washers between the screws and the trim plate. Then I filled the extension with plumber's putty in case water dripped into it (to prevent it from flowing into the valve from the lever). Finally, despite a rubber gasket where the extension passes through the trim, I had Melissa seal it with black caulk. The caulk looks a little out of place but I prefer to error on the side of function over style.


Well, it looks a little weird but the damn thing seems to work and as far as I can tell, it should be a suitable workaround. In the end, I'm disappointed and I can't help hearing the phrase, "If you want it done right, do it yourself". Next time, I'll rough in the plumbing myself!

5 comments:

bosco said...

Dude, your plumber is an idiot. I can't believe that someone would do that. You should write a nasty review on kudzu.

mrhutton said...

No, no, no, no. The problem is with Moen. The Moentrol valves come with a plastic disc mounted to the face of the valve, and this disc is clearly stamped "IMPORTANT! THIS SURFACE MUST BE FLUSH WITH FINISHED WALL". And if one abides by these instructions (i.e., measuring roughly 13/16" past the stud face to accomodate Durock + thinset + .25" tile), then yes, your valve handle will stick out roughly an inch past the face of the escutcheon. So eff Moen and their horribly bad directions. What you should do is affix a piece of 1x4 to be flush with the rear face of the studs, and mount your valve to that.

gate valves said...

great post. that shower valve really looks nasty.

Anonymous said...

I'm having the very same problem right now - the plastic guide indicated where i should mount the valve body and it totally led me astray.

Luckily I haven't tiled the wall so i can still access the valve, but I drilled a hole in the stud for the hot water line and it lookes like i'll have to chisel the hole to allow the valve body to move back.

EFF MOEN!! How could they distribute instructions that are so obviously wrong!!

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