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Ask a plumber: Updating dull tub, shower trim

The Purist Rite-Temp pressure-balancing bath and shower faucet from Kohler.
The Purist Rite-Temp pressure-balancing bath and shower faucet from Kohler. TNS

Q: We recently moved into a condo and want to update our bathroom. The tub/shower unit is in good shape except for the dull chrome trim on the old shower valve, showerhead and bath spout.

We do have a plumber, but I want to choose and pick up the new trim materials myself. Can I just buy new chrome fixture trim, or will I have to get the entire mixing valve package?

Marty, Nebraska

A: If your tub/shower mixing valve is fairly new and you have the make and model, you may be able to order just the chrome trim package from a local plumbing supplier. If you’re really lucky, you may even have some different trim styles to choose from. If the mixing valve is in bad shape or new trim is not available, your best option may be to replace the entire valve.

The good news is that many mixing valve packages come with the trim, tub spout and showerhead included. Your plumber can then install the new mixing valve complete with all the new accessories to give your bathing area a nice, clean start.

Master contractor and plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call” and the host of TV and Internet shows. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com.

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