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I have a shower knob that can be easily shaken. I am worried that water might get into the wall when showering as there is a gap (shown in the image below).

Is there a way to resolve this issue without breaking the wall. I have thought about putting a silicone on the gap but not sure it will work as the gap moves when you pull the shower knob. Any other product that I can use to make sure that the knob doesn't move and the water doesn't leak into the wall.

enter image description here

Update:

I have removed the shower knob, and the pipe is what moves slightly, and this is the reason why there is a gap between the shower wall and escutcheon.

I plan to put a low expansion foam on the inside of the shower wall, around the pipe so that it doesn't move, and hope it stays in place. Then, I plan to add a putty weld on the outside and cover it with escutcheon. Finally, a silicon on the gap between the shower wall and escutcheon.

Do you think this is a good idea?

enter image description here

Final result: I used a gasket to cover the gap, and I will be adding a silicone on the outside.

enter image description here

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  • Which part, exactly, "shakes". Is it just the silver tube, the silver ring, the handle? You can ether edit you question to describe this, or add an arrow to your pic to point to the part that moves, or, maybe even better, add a pic that shows it in one direction, then another that shows in the the other direction so we can see for ourselves. Whatever the case, there should be some sort of access panel to get to the plumbing behind the wall, so worst case you shouldn't have to 'break' the wall.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 10, 2022 at 15:07
  • @FreeMan The pipe moves slightly back and forth, so i believe this is the reason why there is a gap between the shower wall and escutcheon. The shower knob stay well in place.
    – sammy
    Oct 20, 2022 at 17:59
  • Do you have any access to the back side of the wall? It sounds to me like the mixing valve (the big piece of brass behind this wall, into which the cold and hot are fed, to be mixed to your desired temp by turning the knobs) might not be well secured to the wall. If you wiggle the brass that's exposed on this side, do you see any movement at all on the other knob? If you have access to the back side, you can see how it was attached to the framing and reinforce it.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 20, 2022 at 18:03
  • @FreeMan unfortunately, I do not have access on the other side of the wall. Yes, when I wiggle the brass, the other shower knob moves as well.
    – sammy
    Oct 20, 2022 at 18:10

2 Answers 2

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It sounds to me like the mixing valve (the big piece of brass behind this wall, into which the cold and hot are fed, to be mixed to your desired temp by turning the knobs) might not be well secured to the wall.

Since, when you wiggle the brass that's exposed on this side, you see movement at the other knob, that's a pretty good indicator.

If you have access to the back side, you can see how it was attached to the framing and reinforce it. Without a simple access hatch on the other side, you may have to bite the bullet and cut into the wall to reinforce the attachment points.

Your other option would be to put some plumbers putty in the holes between the stem and the tub surround, fill the back of the escutcheon plates with it, press them in place, clean up any squeeze out, then caulk around them, leaving a small gap in the caulk at the bottom (to give any water that manages to get in an easy way out). Do the same to both sides.

When you're done with that, quit wiggling the handles. You'll just have to treat them somewhat gently.

  • Do NOT use spray foam in the wall. It will create a nightmare for the next person who actually needs to get in there to do some real maintenance, and if you hire a plumber, you can count on an extra hour or two of labor charge on the bill for him to scrape it all out.
  • Do NOT use "putty weld" (or anything permanent) in the holes either, for the same reasons as above.

To be honest, there was caulk around the escutcheon plates to begin with. It wasn't the neatest job in the world, but that's a difficult place to apply caulk and if you don't do it all the time, it's easy to not be super tidy. If the caulk job was sound, there was probably no reason to remove it in the first place. Especially if you don't see any signs of moisture (or moisture damage) in the wall when you shine a flashlight in there.

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  • Plumber putty is different from putty weld? hmm.. I will have to look into plumber putty. My shower is made of fliberglass.
    – sammy
    Oct 20, 2022 at 20:28
  • Plumber's putty doesn't harden. It stays soft an pliable (well, for a decade or two, at least). It's oil based so it's naturally water repellant. It's what you want to use when plumbing.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 20, 2022 at 21:55
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    I have finally found a solution; I was able to buy a gasket which fits well in the gap, and I will put a silicone around the gasket. Just wanted to know if you think this is fine.
    – sammy
    Oct 22, 2022 at 23:55
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The collars should turn to tighten against the wall. Try turning them clockwise as you are in front of them looking directly at them. Often the threads get corroded and extra force is needed. ( strong hands or a rubber strap wrench) If they are very difficult, you may need to remove the handle and turn counter clockwise to remove the collar. Then clean the threads and lube with some silicon grease and reinstall. If none of that works or you just want to take a quick but less proper route, fill most of the gap with plumbers putty leaving a seam of about 1/8 inch. Fill the remaining seam with silicone caulk. Always leave a small hole in the bottom so any water that does get behind the collar can get out. you're done. Good Luck

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  • I have added extra info. Can you please tell me if what I plan on doing is a good idea?
    – sammy
    Oct 19, 2022 at 23:44
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    I would not do what you proposed. Spraying foam into the wall will make it a nightmare if the fixture needs to be replaced in the future. If that stem is pulling in and out (shaking) then the cause of that need to be repaired. Looking at the picture it looks as if there is teflon tape around the outside of the stem. I suspect it was put there because the threads are worn and not allowing the collar to hold tight. That is why there is so much movement. You need a new stem with good threads. What does the inside of the collar look like
    – RMDman
    Oct 20, 2022 at 2:24
  • @sammy I'll second the thoughts that your plan sounds like a bad idea. Slapping band-aids on something is rarely the right way to fix it and 99.999% of the time causes significantly more work when you finally have to bite the bullet and fix it right. It's cheaper and easier to fix it right now than wait until it's worse later and you have to undo all the bodges you've added along the way.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 20, 2022 at 14:03
  • It is not the stem that's moves; it is the pipe itself that moves back and forth slightly. After listening to you and FreeMan, I will not use foam; I guess I will have to use putty weld. I was able to put the shower knob back, and i did not find any issue putting the shower knob back. I don't think the collar of the stem is the issue here.
    – sammy
    Oct 20, 2022 at 17:59
  • The "pipe" as you refer to it is stabilized by the collar screwed onto the stem assembly. I enlarged the pic an it definitely looks like the threads on the nylon (white part) of that assembly are damaged and someone tried teflon tape as a fix. You will need to replace the stem assembly or as other have said, get behind the wall and physically anchor the mixing valve (pipe as you call it). You should not try to cobble and fill the area to achieve this. But it is your bath.
    – RMDman
    Oct 20, 2022 at 23:43

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