• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey and tile expert Joe Ferrante team up to repair a leaky shower valve installation.

    Steps:
    1. Remove access panel from behind shower valve and inspect for damage and loose connections.
    2. Use a utility knife to score the grout around tiles to be removed.
    3. Cut through tile glaze with a carbide-tipped scoring tool.
    4. Carefully remove the scored tile from around the valve using a hammer and cold chisel.
    5. If shower valve appears loose, cut and install 2x3 cleats to the wall studs above and below the valve.
    6. Use copper pipe clips to securely fasten the valve's water-supply pipes to the cleats.
    7. Mark the center of the shower valve onto the new tile.
    8. Drill hole for valve through tile using carbide-grit hole saw.
    9. If necessary, enlarge and elongate the hole with tile nippers.
    10. Install new tile around the shower valve with thin-set mortar.
    11. Once the mortar cures, fill the joints around the tile with grout.
    12. Press a thick bead of plumber's putty to rear of the shower valve's escutcheon plate, then screw plate to valve.
    13. Replace the access panel at the rear of the shower wall.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Requires both carpentry and tile-setting skills
Ask TOH users about Showers

Contribute to This Story Below

    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • utility knife
        Utility knife
      • carbide tipped scorer
        Carbide-tipped scoring knife
      • finish hammer
        Hammer and ½-inch-wide cold chisel
      • cat's paw pry bar
        Thin pry bar
      • handsaw
        Handsaw
      • drill
        Drill/driver fitted with carbide-grit hole saw
      • tile nippers
        Tile nippers
      • margin trowel
        Margin trowel and bucket
      • notched trowel
        Notched trowel
      • rubber float
        Rubber float
      • grout sponge
        Grout sponge

      Shopping List

      2½-inch drywall screws

      Wall tile

      Thin-set mortar and grout

      Plumber's putty