We just moved into a new (to us) home that was built in 1993. It has a dual
sink master bathroom, stand up shower, bathtub and a half bath downstairs.
In each of these, there is what appears to be pretty much the exact same
hot/cold faucet handles. No clue what make, there are no markings
whatsoever so Im guessing its some generic brand they used in the houses at
The problem is that the handles are all loose and wobbly, with a lot of play
in them. Tightning the handles didnt change anything, so Im sure they are
just old and need to be replaced. I can replace the 3 sinks, but Im
particularly concerned with the shower and bathtub in the master bath.
There do not appear to be any access panels, and everything (tub included)
is behind tile.
Is there any magic solution? Will it be necessary to hack away at the tile
to gain access to these old fixtures? Im reasonably handy, but also pretty
busy- Im not sure how much of my time this project would take if I got into
Can anyone give me any clues or suggestions as to what I would be getting
into? This way I can either go for it or just pay a plumber to do it.
When I first read your post I though it said 1933 which IS old; 1993
IMO is not old.
Are you sure you tightened them properly? How about posting a picture?
Valve housings for tub & shower should last for years; only the guts
need be replaced. Are they 1/4 turn ceramic? or compression washers?
Maybe a neighbor knows the brand.
Are you tightening the screw that secures the handle (it may be hidden
under a cover) or are you just turning the handles off a little tighter?
Even a cheap brand only 12 years old should not have this problem with
all of the handles. One or two maybe but not all.
Do you mean the connection of the handle to the valve stem, or the stem
within the valve body? Two distinctly different problems... the first
could have an easy solution using some type of shimming.
The second, well, for being 12 years old, just shouldn't happen to a
fixture of any quality at all. A good plumber (or handyman, maybe) can
rebuild a shower valve (or most of them, anyway), provided there are
parts available. I just had one rebuilt after about 60 years of use.
No wobbly valve stems, though!
In other words, more info needed.
Thanks for the replys, sounds like more info is needed.
Sorry for the laymans terms for this stuff, but Ill try to describe it as
best I can.
So the handle screws onto a stem, and it is the stem itself that rotates to
control the flow of water and appears to be the problem. I of course first
tried to see if just the handles were loose on the stems by tightening the
screw that attaches the handle to the stem, but no luck.
I then removed several handles and wiggled the stems themselves, finding
that they were indeed very loose- i.e. it wouldnt matter how tight the
handle was on, these things are gonna more around. They are loose laterally
by the way.
The stems are made of plastic, as is most of the assembly I can see. It is
pretty bizzare, from what you guys say these things should last a bit longer
than 12 years, but out of 8 handles of the identical make, all 8 are very
lose and wobbly.
Let me know if more info is required!
You need to remove the stems and take them to a plumbing supply or home
They should be able to supply you with replacement parts. BTW, did you
tightening the packing nut? Sounds like you have el cheapo faucets,
but to replace
the entire shower/sub faucets without access is likely the last resort.
That's what I'd try, but I really doubt you're going to find parts for
cheapo plumbing fixtures. A supply house isn't going to carry parts for
low-cost imported stuff, and the home centers will carry the entire
units, but probably not subassemblies. It'd be a shame to have to tear
up a shower stall to replace a fixture, when it should be readily
serviceable from the front.
I hope you have better luck than I expect.
In alt.home.repair on 14 Mar 2005 10:07:31 -0800 email@example.com
And I think one can add more packing also. They have, I think, teflon
string, about an eighth inch in diameter. Go once or twice or three
times around. Just a little more actually. Let it overlap a bit.
I agree. I can barely imagine something so cheap that it couldn't be
made ok from the front of the wall.
If emailing, please let me know whether
or not you are posting the same letter.
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