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I have a fully tiled-in roman tub. The hot and cold water faucets use compression type valve stems. The washers get worn out every few months, leading to drips. I have done the following several times this past year:

  • shut off main water supply to the house
  • remove faucet handle/trim
  • unscrew valve stem
  • replace rubber washer (held in place with a brass screw)

Based on the "faucet repair kit" (from Home Depot), in which I found the compatible washer and brass screw, it seems these could be Price Pfister fittings - there are no visible names/markings anywhere.

Every time the washer wears out, we use more and more force to tighten the faucet until we are able to go through these repair steps listed above. This type of repair seems to be failing a bit more frequently now.

Is it possible to replace these failure-prone compression valve stems with a more drable kind (quarter turn etc.) without having access to the underside of the tub? Everything is unfortunately fully tiled in.

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    I don't think you can change the valves if you can't access underneath. However, you can probably increase the life of your washers by grinding the seats that they seal onto. You can get a seat grinder from a home supply store and smooth the seats without too much trouble. You could also try a different washer compound - some have better durability. – Okanagan Dec 4 '17 at 6:50
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    Depending on your valves, you may be able to remove and replace the seats using a large allen key. – Okanagan Dec 4 '17 at 6:57
  • Almost certainly your valve seats are replaceable, but it can take experience to apply the proper force to break them free. If you don't know the mfgr, then you would have to remove one seat and show it to get a new pair. Some seats require a square wrench and others hex. There is a special tool called a valve seat wrench: grainger.com/product/34A507 Note that if you replace them do not use any thread sealant on the threads of the seats (use no Teflon tape or pipe dope). These seats seal on the flat rim and not through the treads. – Jim Stewart Dec 4 '17 at 14:26
  • Thank you for the comments; it sounds like this may be beyond my DIY capabilities, so a professional might need to be engaged. – Vineet Dec 4 '17 at 17:58

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