Installing a new shower head and control.

I’ve slowly been upgrading the fixtures in my bathroom to brushed nickle.  I’m a sucker for brushed nickle.  And I’ll be honest, chrome holds water stains and fingerprints ALL the time– much to my annoyance.  So this weekend I decided to buy a new brushed nickle set and install them.

Here’s what I used:

  • A new shower arm
  • A new shower head (uses 30% less water!)
  • A new shower control set (MAKE SURE YOU BUY THE SAME BRAND AS YOUR ORIGINAL FIXTURE–OR COMPATIBLE–UNLESS YOU WANT TO REPLACE THE PIPING CONNECTION IN THE WALL!)
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Channel Locks (or an adjustable wrench)
  • Teflon tape
  • Clear caulk

Here’s what I did:

1. I turned off the water (safest is to turn off the water to the whole house, but there might also be water turn off valves near your water heater too). Then turn on the water to drain the pipes.

2. I removed the old shower head (counterclockwise) and let any excess water sitting in the shower arm drain out.

3. I used my channel locks to carefully unscrew the shower arm from the wall.

4. I threaded Teflon tape (CLOCKWISE!) around both ends of the shower arm.

5. I screwed the shower arm into the wall until it was tight– don’t unscrew it because it could mess up the teflon tape, only screw clockwise.

6. Then I screwed in the shower head.  Easy easy.  Then came the harder part.

7. I used a small flathead screwdriver to pop off the handle cover, then removed the screw holding the handle to the fixture.

8. Then I used the screwdriver to remove the two screws holding the control plate to the wall.

9.  I used a small flathead screwdriver to pop the control plate from the wall– if the caulk was still good, I might have needed to cut the caulk out around it first.

10. Then I followed the directions that came with my control set to install the new one.  The new plate, a metal control piece, and finally the new handle.  Just a couple screws in and I was done.

11. Use a clear caulk to caulk around the edges of the control system.  It should look something like this when you’re done.

12. Turn on your water and test your system.

I love that all my shower fixtures finally match (the shower door I had installed last summer is brushed nickle).

Things to note:

  • It is really important if you’re planning to switch out your control piece that you go with the same brand of fixture.  Mine was Moen.  I didn’t feel adventurous enough to start messing with the piping in the wall, nor was that necessary in changing the look of the fixtures.
  • Home Depot doesn’t sell the control sets separate, which I think is DUMB.  Lowes, on the other hand, does.  So, instead of buying a complete set from Home Depot for $150, I went to Lowes, bought individual pieces (that I liked better!) and only spent $90 for everything.

Have you replaced your shower set recently?  Did you attempt to switch brands and mess with the piping behind the wall?  I’d love to hear how it went!

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3 responses

  1. Thank you! Been wanting to do this now I know how 🙂 how did you install your shower door or did you have it professionally done? Love your blog!

    • Hey Alexandra– without being able to see your drain I’m not 100% sure. It’s possible that the cover plate of your drain snaps/screws off (for cleaning the drain line), but it’s also possible that it’s permanently attached to the drain line underneath. My shower pan had a plastic drain cover that I could snap off. My recommendation is to find out the brand on your shower drain and do a little research. A call to the company might help, and it’s possible they have different finishes available 🙂

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