How To Replace Shower Valve Without Removing Tile? Step by Step


Water valves regulate the temperature and water flow in plumping and pipe fixtures; the valve is used to keep a constant volume and flow of water. They can be made from different materials like galvanized pipe, cast iron, bronze, stainless steel, plastic, or brass.

However, water valves can face problems and issue overtime which usually lead to the leaking; for example, one of the common problems of valves is a leaky shower, which is usually an annoying situation because the valve is behind the tile; therefore, you will need to remove the tile or find another way to reach the valve to replace it.

How To Replace Shower Valve Without Removing Tile?

To replace a shower valve without removing tile, you will need to have access to the wall behind the shower valve. Usually, the wall behind the valve will be untiled; therefore, opening through this wall is more effortless. You can change the valve without removing the tile or destroying it by opening a hole.

However, if you can’t access the wall behind the valve or the valve can not be located from the wall behind the shower, you will need to open the tile or remove it to change the valve; you can hire a plumber as he will be able to tell what is the size of the hole required to open in the tile.

This will reduce the number of repairs you will need later after changing the valve; if the hole in the tile is small, you can use an escutcheon that has an oversize; however, if the hole has a large size, an escutcheon will not be able to cover; therefore, you will need to repair the tile or replace it.

But anyway..

How To Replace a Shower Valve?

To replace a shower valve, you will need to be experienced in home improvement projects. It is not an easy project like changing the showerhead; changing the shower valve is way more complicated than the showerhead. In addition, it would be best if you had previous knowledge of plumbing.

Required Tools

Step One

Disassemble the faucets of the shower to replace the shower valve and cover the shower drain or the tub using a cloth or a drain stopper; you need to ensure that you block the opening of the drain completely to avoid any small components or screws from getting into the drain. Next, unscrew the shower handle to remove it; you might find a cap covering the screws holding the handle together. 

After unscrewing the screws from the handle, you might need to wiggle or tap it to make it loosen and then remove it. Next, place the screws and the handle safely and keep them together; therefore, after finishing the replacement process, you can reassemble them and put them in place. Then, you will need to remove the escutcheon or the trim plate.

The escutcheon is the plate made of metal used to cover the hole in the shower wall or the tile; the shower valve will be behind this wall. First, remove the plate from the wall by unscrewing its screws; if the plate is fixed with caulk, you can use a utility knife and remove the metal plate. After removing the escutcheon, “the metal plate,” and its screws, you will need to put them together in a safe place.

Step Two

You can clean the trim plate and the handle; since you have removed them, you can clean the debris, like soap scum and limescale, from them. To do this, you can soak them in a lime remover or white vinegar while you are replacing the shower valve. Next, you need to cut off the shower’s water supply and locate the shower’s shutoff valves to stop leaking after replacing the valve. 

On the sides of the valve, you will find the shower’s shutoffs, one is for the hot water, and the other is for the cold water; the two shutoffs need to be shut down. However, if you can not locate the shutoffs of the shower valve, you can turn off the main valve which is used to supply the water for the house during the replacement process.

Step Three

The hole you will find behind the metal plate may not be big enough for you to change the valve through it; therefore, you will need to make a bigger hole in the tile to be able to change the valve. The hole for changing the valve is typically around twelve inches by twelve inches; this size is suitable for changing the valve and will be easy to repair after finishing the replacement process.

When enlarging the hole behind the metal plate, make sure not to make it very big because it will be harder to repair it later; you will need pliers to remove the clip valve; use the pliers to remove the clip from the top of the valve. The clip is used to fix the valve in place; after removing it, you need to keep it in a safe place. 

Some showers use retainers instead of clips to fix the valve in place; you can use a wrench to remove it from the valve; after removing the retainer, you need to keep it safe. 

Step Four

The last step is to remove the valve from the wall; you can use the pliers to remove it by wiggling it to make it looser and easier and hold the valve from its carriage by the pilers to remove it. Next, place the new valve, reassemble each part you have previously disassembled and then turn on the water supply.

When To Replace a Shower Valve?

A leaking shower valve will cause a lot of water waste over time; as a result, it will increase the utility bills; in addition, when water leaks behind a wall, this will increase the growth of mold and can cause water damage to the wall due to the water accumulating behind the wall.

Therefore, when you have a leaky shower, you need to replace the valve as soon as possible to stop the leaking; replacing the shower’s valve will increase the shower’s performance. In addition, if you have a problem with the temperature when using any tap in the house or when flushing the toilet, you need to get a pressure balancing valve. 

Safety and convenience can be achieved once you change your shower valve; you can also upgrade to preset water temperatures and thermostatic valves for your shower. The thermostatic valves will allow you to have the perfect temperature balance without adjusting the tape finicky.

 If you have elderly or children in the house, it’s recommended that you use thermostatic valves because they ensure that the temperature doesn’t get too high; unlike the adults, the elderly and children can get scaled or burnt from high temperatures of water.



To sum up, you can only replace the shower valve without removing the tile if you have access to the wall behind the valve or the shower. You can open up the wall behind the valve and then remove it without any need to replace or open the tile behind the shower. However, if you can reach the wall behind the shower or you can not locate the valve from there.

Then you will need to open the tile or make a hole large hole than the one behind the metal plate covering the hole of the valve; the hole should be a maximum of 12 inches by 12 inches; it should not be larger as it will require more repairs and effort after you replace the valve. 

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