A shower faucet that’s loose from the wall is nothing but an annoyance. Each time you’ll want to turn the faucet handles, the wobbly fixture will feel like falling off. It will also cause the pipes to vibrate, and in time, it could lead to extensive damage. To prevent costly repairs, you’ll have to tighten the faucet as soon as possible.
To fix a shower faucet that’s loose from the wall, you must remove the handle and tighten the screw. If this doesn’t work, you could use caulking or Teflon tape. Alternatively, you could fill the gap with expansion foam, but this is a temporary solution.
Why Does Your Shower Head Pipe Move?
The main reason why showerhead pipes start to move is due to improper installation. All pipes vibrate when water passes through them. If there is too much empty space in the wall, the vibrations will eventually loosen the pipes.
A loose pipe vibrates even more than a fastened one, and the motion will damage the valves and seals sooner or later.
The first sign of loose pipes is a loud sound when you’re running the shower. Next, the showerhead and faucet handles will start to move from the wall. Lastly, you’ll notice water leaking from both the faucet and showerhead when you turn off the water stream.
Loose pipes can also hit and damage other plumbing pipes. Moreover, if water starts leaking inside the walls, it could lead to expensive damage.
For this reason, you should keep an eye on these signs and fix a loose pipe as soon as you notice it.
Things You Will Need
Fixing a loose shower faucet takes little time and requires minimal plumbing knowledge. All you need is a handful of tools.
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Flathead screwdriver
- Silicone caulk
- Plumber’s tape
- Putty knife
- Utility knife
- Protective equipment
How To Fix A Shower Faucet Loose From Wall
Once you’ve gathered all the materials, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to business. Turn off the water at the main and follow the easy steps below to fix your loose shower faucet.
Step 1 – Remove the escutcheon plate
The escutcheon plate is the metal plate covering the hole through which the shower handles extend from the wall. This plate is generally fixed to the wall with caulk. Use a putty knife to dislodge it from its place, then pull the caulk from around the plate to clean it.
Step 2 – Remove the faucet handle
The shower faucet handle is fixed to the wall with a small screw located in the middle of the handle. This screw can be covered by a plastic or metal plate. Thus, if you don’t notice it, remove the plate with a screwdriver to locate the fastener.
Unfasten the screw with the Phillips screwdriver and pull the handle from the pipe it’s connected to. If the escutcheon plate is fixed with screws, remove those screws too and pull the plate slightly away from the wall without removing it completely.
Step 3 – Caulk the escutcheon plate
Inspect the plate and make sure you’ve removed all old caulking, then place a new caulking strip at the base of the plate and along its edge. Push the plate against the wall to create a seal, then fasten it back with the screw you unfastened earlier.
Step 4 – Reseal and mount the handles
Remove any old plumber’s tape from the handles and replace it with three wrap courses of new tape. Tighten the handles back onto the faucet’s valve stem using the same screw you unfastened earlier. If the old fastener presents a sign of rust or corrosion, replace it with a new screw.
Step 5 – Examine the showerhead
In addition to the handles, you should also inspect the showerhead and make sure it’s tight. If it is wobbly or the threaded pipe extending from the wall moves, unscrew the showerhead and seal it with a plumber’s tape. Mount it back and check if everything is now tight.
Still Loose? Tighten the Escutcheon Plate
Escutcheon plates generally come in pre-fixed dimensions that fit tightly against the pipe. However, they can sometimes fit a bit loosely, so they’re wiggly.
An easy way to tighten the plate and make it fit snugly is by bending the little nibs found on the back of the plate around the opening that goes around the pipe.
Simply bend each nib slightly with a pair of pliers. Be careful not to damage or break the nibs. Bend slightly and try it on the pipe, then repeat until you get it to fit snugly.
How To Secure Loose Plumbing Pipes: 2 Proven Methods
While the methods above allow you to tighten loose shower faucet handles and heads, it won’t fix the loose pipes rattling inside the wall. But you can fix them with the two proven methods below.
Fill the Gap with Spray Foam
One of the easiest methods is to fill the gap with spray foam. Loose pipes rattle because there is a too wide gap inside the wall, so if you fill it with foam insulation, you’ll likely fix the problem.
For this, remove the shower faucet handle and escutcheon plate as explained above, then insert a foam spray nozzle into the gap. Press the spray and let the foam fill the empty space until it comes out through the faucet hole.
Let it dry – the foam expands and provides solid support once it sets. This will take a few hours. Then, remove any excess foam with a utility knife and mount the escutcheon plate and faucet handle back.
Fix with Clamps or Straps
If you can access the shower pipes from the basement or crawl space, you can also fix them to the floor joists or wall studs with straps or clamps.
You can use plastic straps or metal clamps, depending on what you have at hand or feel more comfortable using. Try to secure the pipe in more than one place for a tighter fit.
Go back into the bathroom and shake the shower handles and showerhead. If you feel the pipes firmer, turn on the water and pay attention to any rattling sounds. If the pipes are silent, you’re good to go. Otherwise, fill the gap with expandable foam to fix the issue.
Frequently Asked Question
Loose shower faucets are a pain, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that you have further questions. Find out the answers below.
Is the wall-mounted faucet good?
Wall faucets come with lots of advantages, especially from a designer’s standpoint. You can mount them wherever you want on the wall. Moreover, wall faucets give your environment a more streamlined appearance. On the downside, wall-mounted faucets are often harder to fix or replace if they break.
Can you move a showerhead?
Yes, moving a showerhead is possible. Moreover, the project isn’t complicated nor expensive, not to mention that most homeowners should be able to move it themselves without issues.
Can you replace the shower handle without replacing the valve?
Yes. The shower handle is mounted on the valve with a screw. Thus, all you have to do if you want to replace it but leave the valve is to remove the screw and install a new faucet handle.
Wiggly pipes and rattling sounds don’t promise good when showering, but the issue could be easier to fix than you think. Try to tighten the handles and showerhead first. If it doesn’t work, expandable foam or fasteners could be a cheap solution.