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Unread 08-06-2022, 06:27 AM   #1
Sixto
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Best way to enlarge opening around shower faucet

I installed the plumbing and tile back in 2015. I have a recent problem with the faucet and need to access the valve body shut offs, so I don't have to shut off the whole house.

I made a rookie mistake, thinking a smaller opening behind the handle trim would somehow be beneficial.

I need to expand the opening so the shut offs are readily accessible.What is he best way to make the opening wider?

There are 3 tiles surrounding the opening and one has a small crack that I never noticed before, see photo
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Unread 08-06-2022, 07:28 AM   #2
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You could use a grinder or a hole saw.
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Unread 08-06-2022, 07:31 AM   #3
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Most pros would use a grinder with a 4 inch diamond blade but you have to be careful not to nick the plumbing pipes behind the wall.

If that's ceramic tile, which it looks like it is, you can use a Rotozip with a tile bit and cut it out. You might go through 2-3 bits but you can set the depth and it does a good job of cutting circles.
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Unread 08-06-2022, 08:33 AM   #4
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Like James mentioned, I'd use a grinder with a vacuum hose next to it. You should be able to cut thru the tile without going too deep.
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Unread 08-06-2022, 09:31 AM   #5
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Thanks guys, I do have an old rotozip and a grinder with a diamond blade lying around somewhere. I saw a utube video where a “professional” takes a hammer and bangs out a wider opening. How he didn’t cause collateral damage is beyond me
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Unread 08-06-2022, 01:34 PM   #6
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You might can beat on tiles that are on a concrete slab or walls that are on a mud bed but I would still cut the tile out the best you can. The less beating you do, the better. Cutting the tile separates it from the rest of the tiles, which helps. Once you have it cut, use a hammer with a small cold chisel to slowly chip away the broken pieces of tile.

Not sure where my dad got it from but he would say to use kid gloves on it. Which meant to take it slow and easy. I think that's what he meant.
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Unread 08-06-2022, 02:35 PM   #7
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Thanks Davy,

Yeah, I would never simply smack it with a hammer, too easy for things to go south...anyway, I want to replace the cracked tile.

I had used Laticrete Hydro Barrier over a concrete backer board. Is there place to buy a small amount of Hydro barrier or a similar product to re coat the board before re tiling?
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Unread 08-06-2022, 06:33 PM   #8
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Home Depot has Custom Redgard and Lowes has Auqa Defense. Both comes in one gallon buckets.
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Unread 08-06-2022, 06:53 PM   #9
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Or you could identify the precise location of each shut off and drill a pair of 1” holes with a proper diamond hole saw. That would give you access to the valves. If you do this, I’d recommend removing the center pilot bit shortly after the holesaw has ground into the tile by 1/16” or so.

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Unread 08-09-2022, 07:01 AM   #10
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Couldn't find roto-zip tile bit so I used a diamond wheel I had, let it get away from me. Looks terrible, still behind the escutcheon plate though.

The cut that is too far out is the tile I'll need replace at some point anyway.

At least the valve shut offs are accessible now

Is it recommended to seal the exposed surfaces? What would be best?
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Unread 08-09-2022, 05:03 PM   #11
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Does the escutcheon have a foam or rubber gasket?

What about the cracked tile?
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Unread 08-10-2022, 06:22 AM   #12
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The roto-zip w/diamond wheel was too large for me to do this with a clean opening. I had to enlarge it further anyway because the valve body stops are partially blocked by the ears that the escutcheon screws on to. Poorly designed.

I used a dremel with a diamond wheel for round 2, to deeply score the tile, and then lightly tapped with a screw driver and hammer, worked much better. The dremel diamond wheel degrades pretty quickly though, but much easier to control.

It does have a gasket. I will replace the tile with the hairline crack another time. So for now, to seal the exposed tile substrate, just use a sealer?

And this is all safely behind the escutcheon plate
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Unread 08-10-2022, 05:10 PM   #13
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I'd leave it as is. It's behind the plate, moisture shouldn't ever get back there. I'm trying to figure out what type sealer you're asking about.
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Unread 08-11-2022, 07:09 AM   #14
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A grout sealer maybe on the exposed tile where the porcelain is missing
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Unread 08-11-2022, 07:45 AM   #15
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Wasted effort, Sixto. Just leave it alone.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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