I've read a fair amount about shower and faucet woes, and when the spouse threatened to cease traveling as she was fed up with scalds, leaks, inability to find "warm", I finally decided to attempt a fix, on a budget no less.
I was bothered by not being able to find real specifics, and reports of cost of some items, like a shower valve. And then I read somewhere, probably here, there is no reason why standard household items cannot work. And that's the route I took.
For the sink faucet, a simple Lowes $29.95 single control faucet did the trick. Old one was single faucet, and I figured a like replacement would work, and it did. The shower bothered me more, I could not find a shower valve on the 'net that matched, and some of them were outrageously priced. But on our last outing, last weekend, the shower started leaking, no way to shut it off, so I knew it had to be dealt with. So here is my approach to the shower portion:
1 - remove old shower, completely, hose, valve, the whole bit. In doing this, I made an error, my fault, but assisted by the P.O. who seems to have a habit of cranking everything down to the point of bursting or stripping. I simply could not get one of his fittings to come loose, and in the struggle with the valve in a vise, I screwed up a piece of pex piping, which went from the output over around the valve to the opening where it enters the shower stall, and where the hand held hose attaches. Bummer dude.
2 - take old valve, with all the bits removed (but coming along for the ride in a sack), and trundle down to home depot,,,,, I wanted a comparison of what I had in the sack to what I was about to buy. A simple shower kit. I found an American Standard, very simple, valve, control, and shower head, $64.95.
3 - I also needed a hand held, as the old one was just so crusty it was embarassing to even look at, let alone attempt to shower with. Another simple off the shelf item, $17.98.
4 - enough "plumbing" to replace the damaged pex assembly. I found everything I needed easily in the HD bins, then I came to the copper crimp rings, and the crimper. The crimper is big bucks, for a single job, totally budget breaking. So I went with Watts compression fittings, elbow and staight, and Watts tubing, 100psi. Yeah, no doubt pex is better, but they priced themselves out of the game with that dratted crimping tool. Another roughly $15 for the plumbing and home we go. Total to home depot, $112.
5 - the American Standard valve is wider, thicker, and has a larger diameter valve head, so I had to use a shorter nipple than the one I had on the hot side, and I had to auger out the hole in the backwall where the valve head goes through, but not too tough to do. I assembled everthing in the garage, then trooped out to the AS for the install. A couple hiccups, but pretty straight forward. I had to shorten one of the original pex pieces on the cold water supply, but that was easy, overall, the larger valve went into place pretty painlessly. I used the mounting bracket from the old hand held piece, but used the new hose, and the new hand held.
6 - leak checks, and test, works like a champ!
Nice even flow, looks like a real shower coming out, even temp, spouse loves it!! Success. total time, about 6 months fretting over it, and 6 hours actually doing the work, including the trip to home depot. Geeze, I should have done this 2 years ago!!
Including a couple pics, enough I hope to add some value. Pics show the old parts, valve near the center, the new valve installed, and a view from inside the shower showing the new shower handle, trim piece, and the hand held hose attachment.