The Master Shower: Three in a Series. The Plumber Experience.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

plumber plumb hose wall shower fixture tower panel
So ok.  Next step in the master shower saga?  Stop...plumber time.  Different than Hammer.

As you’ll remember last we left off in the story, everything was finally out, time to rebuild.

If you remember too, we had that cheap a** cheeseball shower tower panel* whoo-ha-ma-jig.  “I’ve always thought that thing was dumb, get rid of it,” said my beloved.  Ok, no problem.

But ah ha, removing it and replacing it with something nice and attractive and normal meant new plumbing for the handle and shower head though.

Because after learning how to remove the dopey tacky whoo-ha (merely lift up) I discovered there’s no mixer valve, just hoses and no plumbing up.

remove removal shower panel tower plumber
That's it, that's all the plumbing there is for a shower panel.  Which is way different than plumbing for a showerhead and handle.  The other plumbing is for the other side.
After a ridiculously long search as usual, I found this Glacier Bay Marx* set up on crazy sale.  Affordable, has shut-off’s right in the fixture (brilliant, why don’t they all?!?!), it’s attractive, it’s Mike-approved.  Done and done.

Hot tip:  I learned that shower parts most often don't come with The Most Important Part, the mixer valve.  So fyi, when you’re shopping for new shower parts, be mindful of the mixer valve inclusion; if it’s not, expect to pay $50-$100+ additional.

The mixer valve, by the way, is the critical part directly behind the faucet handle.  It's the water traffic intersection; the valve controls the water and mixes the hot and cold to send out to you.  In other words, the faucet can't operate without it.

Onto plumbing quotes.  Oy.

Oh, we also needed to replace the cartridge in the hall bath shower handle, turns out, because everything the flipper installed sucks (it was leaking), so this was a multi-purpose visit.

I could have done that, replaced that cartridge.  Saw, heh, a YouTube video on how to do it but I was too paranoid about whole-house water shut off and what if I didn't get it right, not being able to turn whole-house water back on.....yeahhhh.

I reached out to Super Diane, the master electrician and she zipped back two names right away.  Thanks, Diane!

Call them both.  Don’t hear back.  Hmph.  I called our fancy friend Gia’s guy, no response.  Mmk.  I start being a squeaky wheel.  I get responses.

First guy, let’s call him P-trap, comes out.  He’s annoyed I can’t walk through with him because of Finn the Meany, so off he goes, grumbling all the way.  (See, if I leave Finn outside, he'll destroy the door.  If I put him in a room, he'll destroy the door.  Mommy, gotta protect his Mommy.)  Finished, P-trap says he'll send a quote that evening.  Mmk.

Next day, let’s call him Flapper, Flapper comes out and he’s argumentative with me right off the bat.  Pissed I can’t walk through with him.  Flapper calls me on the phone while inside and argues some more.

remove shower panel tower fixture plumber wall
This is what all they're looking at when they drop by.
I meet him out front and he’s still arguing with me.  Tells me an exorbitant fee, six hours of time, argues some more, won’t install “cheap” fixtures in such a nice house (oh, ok, one kudo, gee thanks), shakes his head at me for being a dumb woman, leaves.

Yeah sorry Diane, Flapper is out.

I hear from our spiffy pal Gia’s guy, Tank.  He’s at least three weeks out but proffers the best price.  Ugh sorry Tank, you were my first choice, Mike prefers this done sooner than later.

Out of curiosity I made the mistake of messaging plumbers on Yelp.  Wow.

The plumbing quotes I got were, omg, astronomical.  Like, did they purposefully give such utterly ridiculous quotes so as to not be hired?  I kinda think so.  Either that or wow, plumbers are f’ing nuts.  I can't pop a thousand dollars solely on a plumber.  Nope.

So we go with P-trap.  And I regret it.

I think part of Flapper's problem was that I’m a woman.  His tone, his demeanor, the way he literally waved me off while speaking over me.  Yeah.

I think part of P-trap’s problem was the same.  I’m just a dumb batty know-nothing house girl and Man needs to do The Things, a man is always right.

So P-trap comes out at 5:45 pm, yes pm, and is at our house for four hours.  Yes, until 9:45 pm.  I took Finn to our cool woodworking friend Scott’s loft to wait it out.  (Thanks Scott!)  Mike was at work.

P-trap’s done, I come home, I pay him, Mike and I eat dinner, then I go look.

Why the flipping hell is this piece sticking out so far?  What is going on?  Two inches from the stud? Two?!?!  Whaaaaaaat the......huuuuuhhh???

mixer valve shower handle plumber plumbing new
It's hard to see it here and I thought I had saved photos showing a tape measured distance to the stud but in my fury, guess I deleted them.
It’s too late at night to text P-trap now so in the meantime I’m overwhelmed with upsetness.  This can't be right, what am I gonna do?  I don’t sleep.

plumber plumb shower handle wall faucet valve
From the other side but it's still hard to see how much this all sticks out.
Next day I’m up and texting, nicely, I even said thank you for the good work, but this is wrong, I’m not building out the wall two inches.

new copper pipe shower head plumber
Here's the showerhead plumbing he did.
He freaks the F out:  It’s perfect!!!  Not wrong!!!  No, you're wrong, I'm right, you dum dum woman.

He then proceeds to call me three different times over the course of the next several hours to be sh*tty.  At one point, I’m in Home Depot trying to find out if it’s installed properly (don't bother, they don't know) when P-trap calls, doesn’t even say hello, just slams out, “who is the plumber here, me or you?”

This is out of nowhere.  I was not mean, I’m not being a bitch, truly I am not because I need him to come back, I’m merely asking him to fix it and he’s having a conniption.

detail drawing installation plumbing marx fixture manual
See.  This is what the manual is showing me.  The black plastic piece is behind, inside the wall.  Not according to the way P-trap plumbed it though.
“You’re not the plumber here, I am, I know what I’m doing, it’s right.  I do excellent work.  My work is right.” Again he asks me who the plumber is and after picking my jaw up off the cold Home Depot floor, I say I am not going to play this game with you, come back and fix it.  He hangs up on me.

I’m livid.  Do. Not. Talk. To. Me. Like. That.  Do not talk to anyone like that, a**hole.

He texts saying he’ll drop by that night.   I am far too pissed, I respond by saying no, don’t.

detail plumber fixture shower handle faucet drawing
Here's the final installation diagram.  See?  The part is inside the wall.  Which Makes Total And Complete Sense.
Next day, after I’ve breathed, I text asking when he’ll be by.  We arrange for Mike’s next day off so Mike can corral the four-legged Mommy protector.  Fine.  I wait a week of teeth grinding.

To be continued....

In the meantime, ha ha, at least I was doing some fun things like shopping for tile.  Or, well, it is fun but it's also vexing as I want all the tile.  I never knew I had such a tile affliction until I started ripping it outta this house.  It's a serious serious problem.

Anyway, I ran over to Hobo before the bankruptcy killed it and found some unglazed small hex mosaic* for the shower floor (Mosaic?  Do I ever learn?  No, no I don't).  For less than thirty bucks, I had thirty three square feet, way extra.  Nice.

Next was Floor & Decor.  Sigh.  That store.  (My brain on tile:  let's tile everything!!!  Rational brain:  No!  Stop!!)

It's mind-blowing how much square footage there is in a darn shower so I had to be extra cost-conscious here.  After samples and math, I went with a glossy white 3x12 subway.*  That was about $300.  Yeah.  Tile man, it adds up fast.

Two things of note:  one, yes, I am still agog I went white of all colors, and two, I opted to take the tile to the ceiling.  It was painful not to go black tile, or omg yellow tile, or some cool pattern but I didn't want to scare Mike nor did I want to make the house a hard future sell.  Or, heh, a harder sell, haha.  Poor Pete the Realtor.

Ok, more soon!

Oh, hey, before I go, I have three (I know) entries in the Home Decor contest over on Instructables!  The wood lath wall is one, another is the cool bedroom wall trim then lastly is the wood block headboard as a later entry.

I could win some damn phenomenal tools which would be *spectacular* and would will help me make even more awesome things for you to read about!  Each is only one vote, that's it.  I'd appreciate it greatly if you would vote and share with your friends.  Thank you thank you!!

Jump to part four here!

*The shower tower panel things are an Amazon affiliate link.  The bath fixtures and hex mosaic tile are a Home Depot affiliate links.  The 3x12 subway tile is a Floor & Decor affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. What brand diverter is this ?

    1. It came with the fixture, Glacier Bay which is sold at Home Depot.


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