A Few Steps Turn Shower into Affordable Remodel

Updated May 31, 2016
before and after shower remodel

Shower Makeover: Linda Braden

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There are many myths associated with a bathroom remodel. The first: A makeover will cost tens of thousands of dollars. The second: Only a plumber should touch plumbing. And the third: A shower remodel takes months to complete. 

I spent $500 on this project. I did all of the plumbing myself despite the fact that I’m not a plumber. And I did the project in an hour. In fact, I’ve spent more time writing about my shower project than it took me to install it. 

I'll admit, I used to buy into these myths. Which is exactly why our bathroom has looked virtually the same since we moved in. Sure I slapped some paint on the walls a few years back, hung some storage shelves and called it a remodel. But I kept my dirty shower secrets hidden behind the shower curtain ...

before and after shower remodel
before and after shower remodel
before and after shower remodel

See those trim pieces? Not looking so good after 20 years of use. And they drip, drip, drip.

before and after shower remodel

And that shower head? Cheap. Plastic. Yellowing. Yuck.

And because you can only keep a shower curtain closed for so long, I took on the inexpensive remodel. 

Replacing the Shower Head

Note: I did not turn off the water before embarking on this project. Mostly because I am simply replacing the exterior fixtures, not the internal plumbing. I was a little worried at first, but my fear of locating the water valve for the house in the basement won out and I took my chances.

All went well with the water still on.

before and after shower remodel

Step 1: Use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the old fixture. Do not remove the shower arm attached to the wall. And if that arm starts to turn, use a second wrench to hold it in place. You can even use rags under the wrench if you're worried about scratching the arm or fixture.

before and after shower remodel

Step 2: Remove old thread seal tape and clean off threads. I used a toothbrush for this step to get it sparkling clean. Just like new!

before and after shower remodel

Step 3: Using your hands, screw in and tighten your new shower head. I did not add any tape before installing the new shower head since the Delta instructions did not call for it.

before and after shower remodel

Step 4: Attach hose for detachable hand shower to shower head fixture. Hand screw to tighten.

before and after shower remodel

Installing Universal Tub and Shower Trim Kit

before and after shower remodel

Step 1: Remove the old bath spout. My spout had a small screw on the underside holding it in place. I simply twisted it upside down so I could easily access the screw. Then I used an L-wrench to remove it. My spout sleeve then pulled off. However, some spouts may require you to twist them off if the piping contains threading. 

before and after shower remodel

Step 2: The universal trim kit offers three options for installing the new bath spout. My configuration included an insert that slid onto the pipe with a small screw to hold it in place. Follow the kit instructions to select the correct configuration for your plumbing.

before and after shower remodel

Step 3: I slid on my new spout and secured with a small screw that I attached using an L-wrench provided in the universal kit.

Note: The Pfister universal trim kit is designed to work with Moen, Delta and Pfister valves. You may not be able to identify your valve until the escutcheon plate is removed. Also, it will not work with separate volume and temperature control levers on the trim; two- or three-handle showers; or showers with the tub-shower diverter button or lever on the shower trim.

before and after shower remodel

Step 4: For the shower trim, I removed the old fixture. I used a box cutter to gently pry off the top plastic piece on the shower control knob to access the screw underneath. I also unscrewed the escutcheon plate screws and removed the plate, exposing the plumbing underneath.

before and after shower remodel

Just like the bath spout, there are three hardware options to choose from depending on your plumbing valve configuration. Follow the instructions on the universal kit to choose and install the new single-handle fixture that works with your pipes.

before and after shower remodel

As an added bonus, the shower no longer drips! 

To finish out the shower makeover, I installed a much-needed storage solution. I found a brilliant no-drill shower caddy from a company called Draad. It uses an adhesive yet removable locking system.

before and after shower remodel
before and after shower remodel
before and after shower remodel

I also added a white ruffled Pottery Barn linen curtain, and made a bath tray caddy. Perfect for long soaks after hard days.

before and after shower remodel

After a $500 investment, I can now pull back that adorable, ruffled shower curtain with pride and show off my new, self-installed shiny shower fixtures!

before and after shower remodel

Materials:

• Delta Int2ition Two-in-One 4 Spray Shower in chrome• Pfister Universal Single-Handle Trim Kit in polished chrome• Draad Rustproof Solid Brass No Drill Shower Caddy• 72-inch straight decorative tension shower rod in chrome• Pottery Barn Ruffle Shower Linen Curtain• Adjustable wrench• Screwdriver• L-Wrench• Box cutter

Linda Braden is a Chicago-based wife, mother, homeowner and blogger at It All Started With Paint.

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