How to Repair Different Tub and Shower Controls
Tub and shower controls are just like sink faucets. Both work in a very similar way. So, basically they are repaired in quite the same manner as how you usually do repairs with your faucets. The only difference is you’ll be working now horizontally rather than vertically.
Tub and shower controls are a bit complicated also since they divert water to flow out both the tub spout and the showerhead. There are instances where their parts are difficult to reach and may require chipping off the tiles just to repair them. If it happens that your shower control body is already damaged and needs replacement, you may check the wall at the opposite side and look for any access panel to it. If you fortunately find one, you can just work from there to minimize the damage to your shower wall.
Before making repairs make sure to shut the supply stop valves or the built-in shutoff valves first.
One-handle ball control
This is similar with the rotating ball faucet which contains seals and springs. When you raise its handle, the ball rotates aligning the openings with the supply line ports which then allows the water to pass through it and flow out the spout.
If a minimal amount of water flows out from the spout, this could be caused possibly by debris clogging the openings or by worn seals. To give solution to this problem, you have to remove the debris, clean out the openings and replace the worn parts.
Before you start repairing, shut the water supply off first. Take out the setscrews which are used to keep the ball in place. After taking them out, remove the ball. Clean out all the openings and scrape out any gunk that you might find. Replace the worn seals and rubber parts and then lubricate them with heatproof grease. Check if the ball is worn and corroded. If so, consider replacing it with a new one.
This type of control usually contains stems with washers. Each washer is pressed against a seat in order to control the water from flowing out the spout. A damaged washer could cause a leak. To put a stop to a leaking shower control you have to remove the stem. In doing so, you may find the need to use a special stem wrench or perhaps a deep socket wrench.
There are also cases where you need to chip at the tiles in order to solve the problem. After removing the stem, take out the screws which hold the washer in place and then pull the washer out. Clear away any debris from the stem. Purchase a washer that has identical size and shape with the old one. Slip on the new washer into the bottom of the stem. Once you have snug the right fit, keep it in place by placing the screws back on. Tighten them as much as you could but be careful not to over tighten. Reinstall the stem afterwards. However, if the spout’s diverter valve is no longer working properly, you may have to replace the spout already.