When our house was built, the plumbers installed the shower hot and cold taps one on top of the other. We thought nothing about this at the time.

I'm now toying with the idea of replacing these with 1/4 turn taps, but I'm struggling to find any guidance.

The installation part is OK.

The orientation part...we'll that's my obstacle.

Obviously I don't want to tear apart our shower to deal with this.

If I install them with the handles in a horizontal position - this would look a bit weird.

Should I try to install 2 clockwise turning spindles?

Thoughts - anyone? enter image description here

  • If you use round handles then what is the orientation?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 7:06
  • 1
    What shape are the spindles? Could be square or striated.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 9:46
  • 1
    Why the downvote? It's a great question. Homeowner with an annoying constraint looking for an affordable repair or upgrade, not a renovation.
    – jay613
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 15:10
  • I'm starting to have doubts about this. Can you show me links to how you can convert a traditional seated-washer faucet to quarter turn just be replacing the cartridge? I'm struggling to see how that's even possible.
    – jay613
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 16:25

3 Answers 3


This is a UI problem not a hardware one. Your aim is to not confuse people. This approach will feel most natural to most people:

  • Buy two identical valves that both open counterclockwise.
  • The knobs should be symmetrical IE just round or Georgian style.
  • The knobs should have hot/cold markers that are robust and will last, not fall off and are easy to read.

The problem is that quarter-turn valves are almost always sold in pairs that turn in opposite directions. In this case you'll need to buy two sets, use the two hot valves, and the "Cold" marker from one of them.

  • Could the OP not use both cold valves and put the "Hot" marker on one of them? :)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 15:47
  • @FreeMan I think the vertically stacked valves should both open counterclockwise. The "cold" quarter turn valves will turn the wrong way. For comparison, I take issue with putting symmetrical knobs on wide spread quarter turn faucets because it's not obvious which way to turn the cold tap. Especially bad with Georgian knobs where the Ye Olde aura strengthens the cue of counterclockwise to open, which is usually wrong for cold.
    – jay613
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 16:10

The normal rotation for valves is left loose right tight , the rare difference is on sinks that have lever handles or side by side basin and shower valves other than this lefty loosey righty tighty.


My instant reaction is "you don't want separate taps". You want a mixer unit which takes "hot" + "cold" as input, and gives "warm" as an output. There is then a control for volume, and a separate control for "output temperature".

Avoid the type where the second control is for "proportion of hot and cold", you want the type where it controls the actual output temperature (by reducing the overall volume if necessary when the hot pressure drops because someone else has turned on a bath).

Depending on where you are, these may be universal, common, or hard to get hold of.

The obvious problem with this, is that you will have to remove at least a few tiles :-(

  • -1 b/c the question is pointedly about doing this without opening the wall. Once you open the wall you can recommend all kinds of wonderful upgrades, and it becomes an off-topic design question.
    – jay613
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 15:08
  • @jay613 Thank you for taking the time to explain the down-vote. My answer was intended as a frame challenge. Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 15:10

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