How to Plumb Tubs & Showers

Plumbing a tub and shower can be a strenuous task.

Valve Removal

Plumbing a Shower and TubPlumbing a Shower and Tub
The job will require you to remove any tile or tub surround piece that you have in front of your shower's plumbing. The area around the handles though only needs to be removed. The tub spout and shower head can be installed or changed without having to have access to the inside of the wall. Improvementdirect. com offers a wide variety of tub and shower fixtures that cater to most tastes and styles.

Turn off the main water valve in your home.

Turn your shower's handle so it is fully open, letting the remaining water in the pipes flow out.

Unscrew the unions on all four sides of the brass mixing valve keeping it in place. The unions are the brass fittings with large nuts in the middle of them. They will be roughly 6 inches form the brass shower valve. A plumber's wrench or channel locks will be needed to loosen them.

Remove the brass shower valve from the wall once you have unscrewed all the unions.

Unscrew the lengths of copper that are threaded directly into your brass shower valve.

Valve Installation

Thread the lengths of copper, the ones removed from your old mixing valve, into your new one. A piece of Teflon tape should also be applied to the copper threads before they are installed.

Place the valve back into the wall, re-threading each of the four unions back together. A plumber's wrench or channel locks will be needed to loosen them.

Inspect for any leaks after you have turned on your home's main water valve.


Loosen the nut connecting your showerhead to the shower arm. Channel locks may be needed to loosen the nut.

Wrap a piece of Teflon tape around the threads of your shower arm.

Screw your new showerhead onto the shower arm.

Tub Spout

Remove the Allen nut located bottom side of your tub spout. Your spout may not have a nut depending on the model.

Remove the spout from the wall by turning in counterclockwise.

Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of the now-exposed pipe that held on your tub spout.

Install your new spout by threading it onto the pipe you just wrapped with Teflon tape. If your spout uses an Allen nut to keep it in place, then install it once the spout is in place.

Apply a thin bead of caulk where the tub wall and the spout meet.

Things You Will Need

  • Plumber's wrench or Channel locks
  • Teflon tape
  • Allen wrench
  • Caulk


  • Be careful not to over-tighten any of the nuts.

About the Author

David Batka has been a journalist since 2005, having reported for "The Chicago Flame" and "Glacier." He also has numerous years of experience with home repair and building. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago.