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Thread: Running bath tub facet in old house

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    derekcentrico is offline New Member
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    Running bath tub facet in old house

    We just moved into an old house built in 1957. Very little has been done since it was built. A bathtub facet in one of the bathrooms is constantly running from the hot water value not turning off. Also, water sprays out of the heads of the hot and cold water valves when the water is turned on for showering. It runs, but does not spray, when the water is coming out of the spout.

    Someone told me that it would require ripping out the wall to replace such old stuff. If so, I don't think we can afford it. I'm looking for a home solution because this hot water is causing major humidity issues in a bathroom without any ventilation.

    The knobs are broke and barely turn. It's a real mess for these lay eyes at least.

    I tried to see about an estimate for redoing it from a plumber, but it was going to cost $150 on average just to get someone to come and take a look.

    Input is greatly appreciated.


    Images:Running bath tub facet in old house-imag0372.jpgRunning bath tub facet in old house-imag0371.jpgRunning bath tub facet in old house-imag0375.jpg

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    pushkins's Avatar
    pushkins is offline General Contractor
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    I see lots of old faucets exactly like those, problem is they can be difficult to repair (if at all). You might be able to re seated and have new washers installed and this often will solve the problem at least in the medium term.
    Whats on the other side of the wall (behind the faucets) is that by chance in a closet or just drywall ? If so that might just save you a ton of money, if it's accessible (not tiled) then you can cut a hole remove and replace the whole faucet set and then either drywall it over or install an inspection cover plate and paint over it.
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
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    derekcentrico is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by pushkins View Post
    I see lots of old faucets exactly like those, problem is they can be difficult to repair (if at all). You might be able to re seated and have new washers installed and this often will solve the problem at least in the medium term.
    Whats on the other side of the wall (behind the faucets) is that by chance in a closet or just drywall ? If so that might just save you a ton of money, if it's accessible (not tiled) then you can cut a hole remove and replace the whole faucet set and then either drywall it over or install an inspection cover plate and paint over it.
    Thanks for the input. The wall in the bathroom is cement or something similar. It is a house in Miami, FL built in 1957. We had to rip the fungus infested wallpaper off a few weeks ago when we moved in. I noticed that it was cement and had some holes drilled through. It was about 1/2 thick. On the other side is the refrigerator. When I knock on the wall it sounds like dry wall. I'm not sure if there's something else in between.

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    Faucet cartridges...

    Hey Pushkins, is it possible for them to pull those cartridges out and get new at the local big box? Sounds like the stem packing and the faucet washer have finally failed. But I do believe parts are available...just match up what's needed. One other thing....is there a name stamped anywhere on those handles? If you can find the manufacturer, quite possibly a call to their service department could get you the help you need...

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    derekcentrico is offline New Member
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    Well it's all rusted and limed over. I tried to use CLR to get them cleaned some, but that did no good. I tried unscrewing the metal piece that goes up against the wall. The screw just top fell off. It's rotten metal by now I guess... I thought that part was at least amusing.

    Also, one of the knobs has fractured and won't even open the valve for the shower. You have to really work at it to get the shower on or off.

    This is a nightmare!

  6. #6
    pushkins's Avatar
    pushkins is offline General Contractor
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    If the wall behind the faucets is drywall or even older cement board paneling then it would be a fairly simple matter to replace the entire faucet system, being behind a fridge makes it even better you can simply install a large inspection panel and paint it all the wall color as your not going to see it anyway.
    I'm not sure where the "cement wall" your referring to is situated.

    You can buy seats, washers and packing for those faucets, it's usually it's not worth the effort unless you have a tiled wall right behind the shower wall making replacing them much more expensive.
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
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    Nestor is offline Handyman
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    Derek:

    While I agree that it'd always be best to replace an old faucet with a new one, and a good way of doing that is by opening up the wall BEHIND the faucet, you should also be aware that Kissler & Company of New Jersey specializes in old and obsolete plumbing hardware.

    Kissler | Plumbing Repair Parts

    ph. 1-800-547-7537

    Kissler buys parts for faucets from the companies that made those parts for the original manufacturers, and they even have their own in-house machine shop where they make their own brass parts if they're not available anywhere else.

    Talk to Doug Tanner over at Kissler and e-mail or fax him one of those pictures of your faucet so that he can better identify it. If there's any manufacturer's name on the faucet handles or wherever, that would help as well. You can also download Kissler's faucet parts catalogue from their web site and see if you can identify the parts you need in there.

    Also, Kissler has a minimum order of $250, so you won't be buying from them directly. Instead, phone their 1-800 line and ask to speak to someone in accounts receivable who can tell you which companies order from Kissler on a regular basis. You can then order from that company. I know that Sexaur in the USA orders from Kissler, as does the Handyman's Inc. chain of hardware stores in the northern central states.

    I own a small apartment block, and I have about 20 Crane Tub & Shower faucets in my apartments. However, apartment blocks are built with fire separations around every stack of suites to prevent fires from spreading laterally. So, in my building, the tub & shower faucets have a ceramic tiled wall in front, and a concrete block wall behind them, so the option of cutting open the wall behind the faucet isn't open to me, thereby making the situarion very much more serious if I can't get parts for those 20 Crane T&S faucets. About 5 years after Crane discontinued making their Tub & Shower faucet, parts for them were no longer available from Crane. A good 10 years after that, I was still able to buy 30 escutcheons for that faucet at $6 each from Handyman's Inc. in St. Cloud, Minnesota who ordered them from Kissler in New Jersey who got them from the original manufacturer in Taiwan. And, I can order another 30 tomorrow if I want.

    Most likely the "cement wall" you're referring to is either a mortar bed for the ceramic tiling, or a product called "Gyproc lath", which was a fairly short lived product used between wood lath plaster and drywall. Gyproc lath comes in 16 inch wide by 4 foot long panels and is a gypsum core sandwiched between two layers of paper just like modern drywall. It was only used in the late 50's and early 1960's. Prior to that, wood lath plaster is the norm, and after that, drywall is the norm.

    PS: The 4 1/4 inch square ceramic tiles on your wall are part of a line called "Colour Collections" made by "Maple Leaf Tile" which was is a subsidiary of Olympia Tile here in Canada. Olympia Tile is still operating and any ceramic tiling retailer in your area should still be able to order Colour Collections tiles from Olympia Tile here in Canada. Maple Leaf was a very popular tile in the 50's and 60's because it came in the same colours as both American Standard and Crane used for their bathroom fixtures. Also, Maple Leaf doesn't change it's product line nearly as frequently as other ceramic tile manufacturers so even though your house was built in 1957, it's very possible that the same tile is still available from Maple Leaf, or at least, something exactly the same size and of a somewhat similar colour.
    Last edited by Nestor; 06-12-2012 at 01:49 AM.

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    derekcentrico is offline New Member
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    Thank you all for the comments. I think it would be a better investment to just replace the dang faucet.

    We cut out the drywall behind it and an image is attached. Any advice on proceeding with replacement including tools or issues we need to anticipate would be appreciated. It looks like the copper pipes are screwed on...

    Running bath tub facet in old house-imag0396.jpg

    Also, we have a problem shutting off the water main. The main won't shut off all of the way...go figure. So, we can get the hot water off via the tank, but the cold water continues with limited flow. I'm not sure how to go about capping off the pipe while we make the changes.

    Look forward to making this a successful project!

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    pushkins's Avatar
    pushkins is offline General Contractor
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    I don't know what your level of DIY is at but the task of changing out those faucets probably ranks in the 7 out of 10 range (10 being hardest for a DIYer) a lot will depend on the type of faucet system you decide to reinstall, some will come all pre set up and all you need to tackle is the connection to the existing water lines, others will require a certain amount of connecting each piece with fittings etc...
    The easiest option would be to make your connections with PEX fittings, but this will require you buy or hire a PEX tool (crimper) and fittings etc...
    If you can solder you can make all your connections in copper (solder sets are pretty cheap)
    You could use CPVC but you will have to use a special fitting to transition from the existing copper to the CPVC called a "shark bite", Gator Bite" they have a few names. They simply push onto the copper pipe and then you can glue onto the other end with CPVC.
    For that matter you could use shark bites for the entire job, depending on the faucet set.

    Look around the internet or your plumbing stores for the type of faucet you would like then once we know what your working with it's going to make directions much easier. I've left a few links for faucets in your configuration, of course there are many much more expensive ones available, I'm not promoting any supplier or maker.
    Kohler K-T15231-4-CP Coralais 3-Handle Bath and Shower Faucet Polished Chrome*-*eFaucets.com
    Three Handle Banner Shower Tub Faucet | B646-X
    Premier 120142 Wellington 3-Handle Tub and Shower Faucet, Brushed Nickel at PlumberSurplus.com

    As for your shut off, wherever your water meter is there should be a shut off valve located before the meter, the meter and everything on the street side of the meter is the responsibility of the water department, so if yours is not shutting off give them a call and they will come out and replace it.
    Failing that (or for a quicker solution) if you turn off the water as best you can and there is not a lot of flow you could cut and install a new shut off valve again using a shark bite (push on fitting). You cut the line and quickly install the valve (turned off) then reinstall the other side at your leisure. This new valve MUST be on your side of the meter, never cut the cities side...lol
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
    Every day is a learning day.

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    Nestor is offline Handyman
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    Derek:

    The pipe going up from the faucet looks like it's galvanized to me. There will be an elbow at the top of that galvanized pipe. Let's call that elbow the "shower elbow". The "shower arm" screws into the other end of that elbow and the shower head screws onto the other end of the shower arm.

    Take a light and mirror and see if there are any wires or nails or anything holding the shower elbow in place. Also, see if there's any wood bracing up there behind the shower elbow or the galvanized pipe that goes to the shower elbow.

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