Q: Dear Ed: We have an older shower stall and the mixing valve has to be replaced. The valve is installed in an area hard to access and we need to open up the tile. The present tile can’t be matched. Any ideas on how we may avoid extensive remodeling work and best deal with this big problem? – Rich, Florida

A: Solid surface shower wall panel kits are becoming very popular for new shower stall installations.

The good news is these durable waterproof panels can also be custom-cut and installed over existing tile walls. So, to avoid extensive demo work you can open up only the wet wall area needed to install the new mixing valve.

Once the plumbing is completed, the wall panels along with the corner joint kits can be installed over the existing tile. This not only can make the job easier, it can also give your shower stall a brand-new look. I’ve worked with a shower wall material called Serica that’s available in many color patterns and textures.

Bottom line: To get rid of a big problem, sometimes you might be better off if you just cover it up!

By Ed Del Grande, Tribune News Service (TNS). Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write [email protected]. Always consult local contractors and codes.