Valves vs Diverters

Ignorance is bliss.

Valve – the thing that opens and closes to let the water start flowing to your bathroom.

Diverter – the thing that reroutes your flowing water from your bathtub spigot to the shower head. Remember that little thing you used to pull up on and the shower would come on? That’s a diverter that diverted the water from your bathtub faucet to your shower.

Valve with integrated diverter – Allows you to turn on water and send it from the tub to the shower all in one fancy unit.

Trim – The actual KNOBS. The actual VALVES and DIVERTERS go in the wall and you never see them after the tile is on (rough in). The trim is the pretty shiny piece that makes the valves and diverters move. Dont confuse these with escutcheons. Escutcheons are the big plates that cover the ugly holes in the tile. You usually have one over the shower arm as well. They are sometimes referred to as flanges too (or cover plates).

Settings – The Shower, The bathtub faucet, The handheld shower…are all “settings”. If you want to run the shower and the handheld together, that is considered another “setting”.

I am in the process of renovating my house. While we are planning on doing the entire house, we started with our guest bathroom. It has a traditional bathtub with shower design. I wanted to give my daughters a little bench seat and a hand shower to use so they have a safe bathing environment as they grow up and learn about female hygiene. Adding a hand shower seemed like a straight forward thing to do.

I took a quick trip to Pacific Sales and the salesman was super helpful. He helped me piece together a kit that would accommodate my requirements. It was like 9 different pieces. I thought I needed like 3.

What was all this stuff I came home with? It turns out, while it was a good kit, I could have streamlined my design if I had some better knowledge of how this stuff works. Hopefully this post helps someone else in the same boat.

Valves vs Diverters. I called my plumber once my bathroom was demo’d and he looked at all the parts and said, “you want to do WHAT?”. We had a few colorful conversations after he told me I had the wrong parts. It turns out, I didnt. That super helpful sales guy was right…kinda.

He had sold me 2 little “thingies” I had to “turn”. One would open the water, and the other would tell it where to go. When I got everything, there were 2 handles on one of them and another knob handle thingie. 3 knobs. WTF!?

It turns out, I had bought a fancy new “ThermoStatic” valve with “Volume Control”. Thermostatic just means you can turn the dial to the temp you like and leave it there for the rest of your life. Every time you get back in the shower, you dont have to worry about temperature knob…just how much water (volume) you want to come out (the other knob). Two separate “thingies” to turn. One for temp, one for volume. Much unlike the one handle we are used to that you turn all the way to the left for hot water and keep in the middle for warm. With that, you get full blast water whether you like it or not. Or maybe a trickle of cold if you need that sort of thing.

While this thing was cool, I found out after the fact, that I could have had something cooler! I could have just got a valve with an integrated 3 setting diverter, This would have allowed me to just have one control in my shower instead of 2! Proving again, ignorance is bliss.

Good luck with your remodel.