DIY Network

How to Replumb a Shower

Licensed contractor Amy Matthews shows how to install new copper pipes to outfit a bathroom shower.

More in Bathroom

  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Prepare the Plumbing Space

To ensure the best fitting, before you start installing copper pipes, it's a good idea to have your shower-related plumbing fixtures already selected if they are being replaced for a faucet, tub spout and showerhead. It's also important to put spacer blocks behind the faucet and the wall as well as behind the shower bar. Make sure the spacers are the same thickness as the tile or other wall material you will be using. Once the spacers are in place, screw the faucet back on.

remove part of wall behind bath faucet

Step 2: Replumb the Pipes

In our project, we used rigid or hard copper to create a series of copper pipes and fittings that we "sweat" together and attached to the shut-off valves. Before you solder, use a wire brush to clean the ends of the fittings, making sure they are clean so they will form a good seal. Tip: In place of brushing, you can wipe the ends of the pipe before with an Emery cloth.

Apply flux (soldering paste) with a paint brush to the outside of the pipe and inside of the fitting (Image 1).

When soldering, heat the fitting and not the solder (Image 2). The heat draws the solder into the gap between the fitting and the pipe to form a watertight seal.

To attach the supply lines to the valves, wrap the threads of the valves with plumber's tape (Teflon tape). Then, screw on the fittings and tighten them with an adjustable wrench. Tip: Wind the tape clockwise to keep it in place when you attach the fitting.

Attach 90-degree elbow fittings to each of the hot and cold water supply lines. Solder in place (Image 3).

When using a torch, watch for the wall catching fire. Keep a spray bottle of water or a fire extinguisher handy just in case.

In the next phase of the project, we tile the shower.

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