How to Install Multi-Shower Diverter Valves

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Contemporary showers call for more than just a rain shower head; fixtures such as hand-held sprays, steam outlets, body sprays and multi-shower panels fill tiled shower spas once found only in resort hotels. These luxuries require special pressure balancing equipment, higher overall water pressure and thermal controls to make them function smoothly. A multi-shower diverter is also necessary because a simple pull-tab or lever cannot divert water to separate fixtures. You’ll need to install a multi-port rough-in valve and corresponding diverter trim to control your spa. Specific instructions vary between models.

Things You'll Need

  • Multi-diverter rough-in valve
  • Multi-diverter trim kit
  • 1/2-inch pipe -- straight, elbows and connectors
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Pipe cutter and threader
  • Plumber's tape
  • Mounting boards made from 1/4- or 3/8-inch plywood
  • 6-penny nails
  • Roofing nails
  • Hammer
  • Perforated strapping
  • Tin snips
  • Allen wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Place the proper washer for two, three or more fixtures in the wide opening in the front of the valve. Only one type of washer is included with rough-in valves but others may be purchased separately. See your valve’s instructions for more specific directions for insertion and positioning.

  • Thread outlets that you don’t need with plumber’s tape and cap each with a cap and nut.

  • Attach the rough-in valve to the 1/2-inch water supply pipe that rises from the pressure and temperature, or mixing, control below it. Wrap pipe threads of the rough-in valve and pipe with plumber’s tape before twisting on connectors to make the joint watertight.

  • Fasten the valve securely on a mounting board in a central location between two wall studs for all of the future fixtures using perforated strap secured with roofing nails or other wide-headed fasteners.

  • Connect 1/2-inch pipe for shower risers, hand showers, body sprays or other fixtures, using plumber’s tape and connectors. Use a wrench, if necessary, to tighten pipes firmly. Don’t over-tighten -- it will crush the tape and break its seal.

  • Add elbows and other adaptations to turn the connections through the wall. Follow fixture package directions for the distance that pipes should extend beyond the wall. Block all outlets with temporary rubber plugs.

  • Secure all risers and supply pipes to additional mounting boards with perforated straps.

  • Assemble the body, cartridge and stem of the valve -- the parts that will go through the wall to the handle. Insert washers and/or o-rings where directed in the instructions. Fit the body into the front of the rough-in valve and seat it according to directions.

  • Test your multi-diverter by opening the mixing valve that controls the water supply, located below the diverter. Inspect for leaks under or in outlets around the rough-in multi-diverter valve. Make any necessary adjustments if a joint leaks by tightening or redoing the connection. Turn off the water supply before taking pipes apart.

  • Cover the rough plumbing with cement board, tile or other waterproof covering. Remove the plugs and install trim fixtures. Add the handle trim according to the directions on its container.

Tips & Warnings

  • A two-way washer serves a shower and one other fixture such as hand shower or body sprays; a three-way serves three fixtures. Valves that manage more -- or combinations of -- fixtures require six- or more-way washers.
  • Handle trim customarily contains an escutcheon, bonnet and handle, all of which are connected to the valve stem with a screw capped by a decorative button.
  • Always wear eye protection when working with power tools or water -- where popping plugs may fly.
  • Investigate and conform to local plumbing codes before beginning your rough-in work. Local governments regulate plumbing and will require you to acquire a permit before beginning.
  • Never close the wall until your local plumbing inspector has approved your work.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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