Back Button

How to Convert Bathtub Plumbing Diverters to Showers

Athena Hessong

Bathtub diverters consist of the hot and cold water valves and the spout for the tub. They also have an outlet built in to install a shower in the future. Converting an existing tub to a shower is a matter of removing the tub spout and installing the shower head in the existing diverter.

The diverter inside the wall easily converts from a bathtub to a shower.
  1. Shut off the water to the house. Look for the main cut-off valve where the water enters the house and turn the valve all the way to the right.

  2. Saw through the walls around the tub from the rim of the tub to the height of the shower surround you'll install after finishing the plumbing conversion. Discard the pieces of the wall you removed from around the tub.

  3. Insert the handle of a hammer into the tub spout and use the hammer as leverage to pull the spout off the pipe.

  4. Unscrew the tub spout and elbow joint holding it from the diverter water supply. Use a pipe wrench to get a better grip on the spout while turning it to the left.

  5. Twist a pipe cap onto the exposed pipe end from which you just removed the tub spout.

  6. Remove the pipe cap from the top of the diverter where the shower water supply pipe connects. Screw a straight brass or steel water pipe into the newly opened hole. The pipe's length should equal the distance between the diverter and the location where you'll place the shower head.

  7. Twist the elbow joint from the tub spout onto the top end of the straight water pipe to create the needed angle for the shower head.

  8. Attach the shower head to the end of the elbow joint that's connected to the straight water supply pipe.

  9. Turn the water back on to the house and turn the valves to test the shower. Replace the wall you removed from around the tub with a shower surround kit installed according to the directions included with the kit.

  10. Tip

    When you convert a bathtub, you need to install a taller shower surround to control the spray from the shower head. Look for surround kits at hardware stores.