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I repaired a section of the tile around my shower putting in new hardiebacker and resetting the tiles. I had to remove the old shower faucet and handles to do this project. Now that I've finished the tile, I started looking for new handles (the old ones were in bad shape and one broke when I took it off).

New tile around connections for handles and faucet

I now realize that the stems are not standard. I'd really prefer not to rip out all my work to replace the plumbing behind the wall. How can I find faucet handles that will work with those stems? I can't find any marks on the old handles indicating the manufacturer.

Close-up of the stem

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    This is a common standard fluting pattern and you should be able to get replacement handles either generic or brand specific. If you try one you will immediately know whether it fits or not. However, there are different types of screws (slightly different diameter and/or thread pitch) that might start into the ends of the stems but would then jam. Be careful about the screws. Test gingerly and tighten only if the screw goes in smoothly. The other parts that fit, especially the tubes around the stems may be brand specific. Do you still have any of those parts? Try to determine the mfgr. – Jim Stewart Jan 26 '17 at 13:49
  • Yes, I do have the old parts, but I can't find any identifying marks. – Jeremy Stein Jan 26 '17 at 17:59
  • Take the old parts into a plumbing supply, show them the picture and ask them what the brand and model are. They might be able to tell from that, but you might have to remove a stem for them to tell you. But of course the house water will have to be off while the stem is out. I would just clean and re-install all the old parts. If you want new handles, you can probably find some that will fit the fluted end of the stem and will work with the escutcheons and tubes which cover the stems. Are the valves working OK? Do they shut off the water without having to tighten hard? – Jim Stewart Jan 26 '17 at 18:13
  • If the fluting on the stems is really so unusual that you cannot find a handle to fit, there are replacement handles that are designed for the case where the fluting is worn off. These have a collar which bites into the brass stem and a handle which grips this collar. Have you removed the stems to see the condition of the plastic sealing washers and the brass seats? There is a learning curve on this and it is possible to mess it up and end up with a leak that you didn't have before. – Jim Stewart Jan 26 '17 at 18:41

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