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Question DetailsAsked on 4/8/2016

I had a plumber give me an estimate to change out my shower mixing valve of $300. Should I get another estimate?

I ripped out my all in one tub w surround (you know the awful ones they put in these cookie cutter homes). Right now it's down to the studs but the tub is in. I wanted to get the shower mixing valve fixed and the set the right depth for my backer board and tile. The plumber came in recommended I change the valve completely to a Delta and that he can do it all for $300 all parts included. Is that reasonable? He said that buying the parts myself isn't recommended bc he can buy better quality than the boxed stores (he said they "mess with" the parts from the supplier to the store). There were other things that bothered me about him, but he came recommended on a neighborhood site. I just want to know if my $200-250 range is delusional before I get other estimates.

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I agree with the Delta changeout unless you intend to go with a very high-end constant temperature valve (which adjusts the water flow to maintain same temp as the hot water tank cools down qith use) for typically $250-400 just for the valve. About $100 something for a standard Delta valve with cover plate and handle and such. If doing a total tearout on an older shower mixing valve or one needing repair (as you said yours does) I would definitely go with a new one which hopefully will last 20+ years without trouble. I like the Delta because the design is such all the guts can easily be taken out from the front (after removing the decorative cover plate) so rebuilding one is a pretty easy DIY job.

Replacement in open wall like that probably about $150-250 labor - the low end only in ideal conditions or real cheap labor area.

A real rebuild or real cheap new faucet plus labor MIGHT come in at your $200-250 range that would probably be achievable only in ideal working conditions AND normal to low labor rate area, in most areas the $300 bid would be normal or even a bit on the low side if that was a firm bid rather than an estimate and unlikely to be beaten by much if you get other bids.

He is right about the chain-store models or fittings and appliances commonly being made with cheaper parts or fewer features - like chromed plastic instead of all-metal, cheaper gasket and seal material, steel rather than brass screws, copper or cheaper brass instead of high quality brass or bronze, etc. Of course, I would make sure the new one comes in original sealed packaging to be sure he is not buying box store anyway.

You said you found him on a neighborhood site - have you checked his Angies List ratings and reviews ? Especially since you said other things about him bothered you. You certainly don't want a substandard job that leads to a tearout in a few years - plus you likely want someone you can trust for future plumbing work as needed so this is a good time to get one who can be your go-to person.

You know - one other thought, assuming this is an older house (over 10 years old). Personally, in hard to access areas like that (though a bit harder to do this now if tub is in), I recommend going with total replacement of the piping in the wall so you don't get corroded piping failing in the wall behind your new tile in the foreseeable future.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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