Install a Shower Diverter Valve

glass tile shower
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-125
What You'll Need
Shower head
Shower diverter valve
Handheld shower head
What You'll Need
Shower head
Shower diverter valve
Handheld shower head

Installing a shower diverter valve allows you to switch between using your shower like a handheld, and having the standard shower head. Rather than having to muck around with a double shower head, or fitting attachments, you can have the best of both worlds by adding a shower diverter valve. This procedure is not too difficult, even if you are a home improvement beginner, so if you feel that you can tackle this skill, follow a few simple steps to help you get the job done quickly and without any mess.

Step 1 - Prepare the Shower Head

Remove the old shower head. This can be done by unscrewing it from its base. You may need to apply a wrench here to make the shower head let go, but it should release fairly quickly, and you will be left with the shower pipe and the shower head.

Step 2 - Install the Diverter Valve

Now place the diverter valve in the pipe, from where you have just removed the original shower head. You will need to make sure that it fits fairly closely into the pipe, otherwise you may end up with leaks, or loss of water pressure to the head. This is not what is wanted, so ensure that the valve is in the pipe as snuggly as you can make it.

Step 3 - Install the Shower Head

water running out of a shower head

Place the original shower head into the diverter, and place it tightly into position. You will need to screw this down too, so that there are no leaks. You may consider wrapping a layer of tape around the outside of the shower head in order to secure it fully to the diverter valve.

Step 4 - Install the Handheld Shower

You will then want to install the handheld shower head into the other part of the diverter valve. Again, this should be fitted tightly so there is no room for water to run between the valve and the outside of the shower head. Wrapping the shower head in tape is a good way of keeping it in place on the diverter valve.

Step 5 - Test the Diverter Valve

handheld shower head

Run some water through the shower head. Try the original shower head first, and check for leaks around the outside of the joint between it and the diverter valve. Once you are satisfied that this is ok, use the diverter valve to switch onto the handheld shower head. You may find yourself getting a bit wet as you switch between the two, but that won't matter in a normal shower situation. Check the handheld shower attachment for any leaks in exactly the same way that you tested the original head.

You should then examine the rest of the pipe to check for leaks from there. Leave to drain, and then test again the following day, making sure that the heads are able to dry off fully, and that they have not developed leaks overnight which would rob you of water pressure.