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Chrome Plate the Roman Tub Faucet

Posted by diynovice on November 2, 2008

In the slow process of converting our house from brass accents to brushed nickel & chrome, I finally decided to tackle the master bathroom tub.

To replace the Roman Tub faucet with the same base faucet from Moen, would have cost at least $270.  On top of that, the older Moen faucets are not typically compatible with the newer models, requiring the replacement of the valve kit.  This would involve so demo work on the tub, added substantially to the cost.  So, how did I get around this problem?  I did what every great American does.  I got it chromed!

Time: 3 hours
Cost: $120

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

To remove the faucet, I followed the installation instructions in reverse that I found on the Moen website.

1. The hot and cold water knobs were removed and the brass accent rings below them were unscrewed and removed.

2. The set-screw on the back side of the faucet was removed, and the faucet was carefully pulled up.

3. Now, send your components to a local chrome shop.  In Texas, and around the country, the EPA has cracked down on chrome companies due to the harmful chemicals used in the process.  Therefore, I found a place in Dallas that used the Cosmichrome water-based spray on chrome process.  It was performed at Elite Plating.  They just started using this process and chroming parts for the public, so, they haven’t perfected the process yet.  As with any spray on coating, dust is an issue…  But, for my purpose, the finished product looks great.  They charged $85 for the coating.  I received a quote from a real chrome plating company, Superior Chrome Plating, in Houston.  They said they could do it for around $85 to $100.

Note: Most of the cost to chrome anything is labor charges.  You can reduce the amount of labor required by sanding away any rust or loose brass plating and polishing the item yourself.


(the scratches are courtesy of Lowes, when I mistakenly asked for help to replace the set screw, and the guy took the faucet, and shoved it against a board of screws, to find the fit.)

4. Next, the drain plug was removed.  To do this, the plug was pushed down, and unscrewed.

5. To remove the base, slip joint pliers were placed between the cross, and a chisel was used to twist the pliers.  There is also a tool available at Lowe’s and Home Depot that will grip the inside wall of the base, allowing you to twist it out.  Carefully and slowly increase the amount of torque you are applying to the base.  If you twist to hard or fast, you risk damaging the base, drain pipe, or your tools.  Plumbers putty or a rubber gasket should be underneath, preventing any rotation.  But, it will unscrew slowly.

6. Now the overflow drain plate was removed by unscrewing the screws.

7. A new chrome drain plug and overflow plate was purchased.  Depending on the age of your tub, your drain plug will most likely be a different size then what is available from Lowes and Home Depot.  Our drain is 2 inches in diameter ( instead of 2.25”, I believe, available at Lowes and Home Depot) and so, I had to purchase it from a specialty plumbing store, for substantially more ($35 instead of the Lowes $10).

8. To reinstall the drain plug, a wad of plumbers putty (or rubber gasket) should be placed around the drain, and the plug screwed in the same way it was removed.  The new overflow plate was also installed.

9. Once the parts came back from getting chromed, they were installed, following Moen’s instructions.  New o-rings, grease, and “flow straightener” were purchased from

10. And, viola, a new chrome tub faucet for about $100.



Posted in Bathroom, Interior | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »