Tub and shower valves, although hidden in the wall, are an integral parts of a home's plumbing and comfort systems. Controlling the flow and temperature of water coming from the tub spout or shower head, tub and shower valves reside behind the sheetrock, tile, or fiberglass in your tubs and showers. Consisting of a primary valve body through which water flows, the valve is controlled by the handle(s) in your tub or shower, allowing the user to control all aspects of water flow. Some valves supply water to only a shower head, as in stand-alone shower set-ups, or to both the shower
head and tub spout, as seen in tub/shower combos. Tub and shower valves can be single, double, or triple handle set-ups, each with their own design options.
Three-handle tub and shower valves are not as common as they once were, but are still found in a large number of homes. The two outside handles control hot and cold water flow, while the middle handle or knob is the diverter, which sends water to either the tub spout or the shower arm. These valves use a screw-in/screw-out components called "stems." At the end of these stems, inside the valve itself, are hard, flat rubber washers that are secured to the stem with a screw. These washers press against brass "seats" to control the flow of water. These small washers eventually get brittle and crack, or become indented to the point where they no longer function properly. When this occurs, it is time for what's called a rebuild. A less expensive alternative to complete valve replacement, a rebuild involves pulling the stems from the valve, inspecting them, and replacing any faulty parts, usually the washers, screws, and other small pieces. Sometimes, the entire stem needs replacement. This repair generally gives the homeowners years of leak-free use. If this type of repair is not enough to fix the problem, or the valve is very old, complete replacement of the valve is recommended. To accomplish this, access to the valve is required, generally from behind. Normally this involves cutting a small hole in the sheetrock (or whatever is behind the valve), cutting out the old tub and shower valve assembly, and replacing it with a new 3-handle, or in some cases, a single-handle unit. Twin-handle valves function in the exact way as three-handle units, but only control a showerhead.
Single-handle tub and shower valves are the most popular type of set-up, and function in a simpler and more problem-free manner. Controlled by only one handle, these valves feature brass, plastic, or ceramic cartridges that are built to handle hot and cold water, as well as control flow. Multiple holes in the back of the cartridge allow hot and cold water to pass through and mix. These valves can be of a push-pull/turn type, or simply left/right turn on/off. Applications involving a tub have diverts located directly below the handle, protruding from the trim plate surrounding the knob. While more reliable and less problematic than stem-type valves, single handle cartridges do eventually wear out and need replaced. Complete valve replacements are much rarer on single-handle units, being of simpler design and functionality.
All valve repairs come with our 12-month warranty, and in the case of replacements, the manufacturer's warranty as well.