How to Replace a Two-Handle Shower Valve With a Single-Handle Unit

Updated: Apr. 06, 2023

Replace a shower valve without tearing open a wall

shower valve replacementFamily Handyman
Use a special cover plate to replace a leaky, old two-handle shower valve with a new scald-proof one-handle valve without tearing out tile or the wall. This is a challenging project.

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Shower valve replacement…without ruining the tile

shower valve replacement

Photo 1: Remove the old shower valve

Unscrew the old handles. Mark the cover hole on the tile and cut it out with an abrasive blade in a jigsaw.

shower valve replacement

Photo 2: Install the new valve

Cut the pipes and remove the old valve. Solder in a new one and screw the conversion plate over the hole.

If your old two-handled shower valve is worn out or leaks, don’t despair. You don’t have to tear open the tile wall to replace it. The best way to replace it is with a conversion plate. The plate covers the old valve holes and you do the entire job through the hole you cut in the tile. Buy a plate that fits your new faucet and is wide enough to cover the old valve positions. To find a conversion plate, call a plumbing supply store or order online.

Shower valve replacement is a challenging project. You may find loose tiles, rusted pipe and other problems.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY shower valve replacement project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Jigsaw
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Soldering torch
You’ll also need an abrasive blade for your jigsaw to cut the tile.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Conversions plate
  • New shower valve
  • Pipe fittings