If you’re like me, then you hate dealing with leaky faucets. But sometimes, they can’t be avoided, especially if your bathtub faucet is the one that’s leaking.
Luckily, fixing a leaky bathtub faucet is relatively easy and can be done in 5 simple steps. So if your faucet is giving you trouble, don’t panic – follow these steps, and you’ll have it fixed in no time!
If you want to replace your bathtub faucet, consider replacing the showerhead. While finding faucet parts that fit your previous installation ideally might be challenging, attempting to remove them without causing damage to the pipes carries its own risks.
- Bathtub Faucet
- Bathtub faucet handle
- Plumber’s tape
- Plumber’s grease
Before changing your bathtub faucet
Choosing the suitable spout for your bathtub is crucial. Although operation methods for a faucet and bathtub spout are similar, their configuration differs slightly. Your tub’s spout must be either set-in or threaded design before you can replace it.
- A slip-in nozzle is designed to fit snugly into a water supply line pipe. Fixing screws prevent the nozzle from coming loose or moving out of place.
- A threaded nozzle, more commonly known as a screw-in nozzle, differs from other types in that it has threads attached at the end of a short tube. Another advantage this nozzle has is that set screws aren’t required.
- If you have a two-handled tub or a single-handled design, there is also a thin rod attached to the pipe that needs to be removed or replaced.
- Turn off your home’s water supply before detaching any pipes to avoid leaks.
- To remove any additional water, turn on the leaking bathtub faucet and immediately shut it off.
- With an old putty knife, scrape off any caulk where the spout or handle meets the wall.
Shut off the valve for the main building.
To work on nearly any piping in your home, you’ll need to shut off the water source to prevent leaks, flooding, and blowing out. Here’s how to turn off the main building shut-off valve:
- Locate the shut-off valve. This is often located in the basement near the water heater or an outdoor box near the water meter.
- Turn the handle on the shut-off valve clockwise until it is in the “off” position.
- Open a faucet in your home to release any pressure that may be building up in the lines and ensure that the shut-off valve is “off.”
- Once you have verified that no more water is flowing through the lines, you can proceed with your repair work.
- Remember to turn the shut-off valve back on when you’re finished by turning the handle counterclockwise until it is in the “on” position.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your repair work is safe and effective.
Gather the screws
To change your bathtub faucet, you will first need to remove any screws in the way. It is very easy to accidentally drop a screw while you are working. If this happens, the best thing to do is to get a small magnet and try to find the screw.
Once you have found the screw, you can put it back in place and continue with your work. Another option is to put a towel or cloth at the bottom of the tub before you start working.
This will help to absorb any dropped screws and prevent them from falling into the drain. Whichever method you choose, making sure that screws are accounted for is an important part of changing a bathtub faucet.
Remove the handle from the valve shaft.
Before removing the old faucet and installing a new one, you must take the handle off the valve shaft. This relatively easy process can be completed with a flathead screwdriver.
If your bathtub faucet has two handles, simply repeat the process to remove the index from the second handle. With the handles removed, you should see a retaining nut that secures the valve stem to the faucet body. You can often use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove this nut.
Once the retaining nut is removed, you should be able to pull the valve stem out of the faucet body. If there is any old plumber‘s putty or caulking around the base of the valve stem, be sure to remove it before proceeding. With the valve stem removed, you should now have clear access to the seat washer at the bottom of the faucet. Use a seat wrench to remove the washer and install your new faucet.
Unscrew the screws holding onto the handle.
- Use a flathead or Phillips screwdriver to loosen the screws at the bottom of the index. If it seems stuck, don’t keep trying to turn it with the screwdriver, as this could strip the screws. Instead, put some WD-40 on there.
- Unscrew the handle by turning it to the left until it comes off, then put the screw in a safe place. The handle should now be able to slide off of the valve stem. If there is a second handle, do this again so that both screws and handles are removed.
Unscrew the stem from the faucet
After you unscrew the handle, you’ll see a thin tube poking from the wall. This is called the stem, which you use to turn the water on and off. To remove it, all you need is a straight socket wrench that can grip the hex nut on top of the faucet stem.
You will need to use a socket wrench to remove the old stems. Begin by turning the nut counterclockwise until the faucet stem is loose enough to be removed by hand. Do this for each handle on your tub faucet. Set aside all the old parts- you may need them as a reference when purchasing new compatible parts.
Remove the nozzle.
- The outlet on a bathtub faucet is either attached with screws underneath the outlet or simply unscrewed from the pipe. Inspect for screws, and if there are any, remove them with a wrench or screwdriver and set them aside in a safe place to reinstall later. The nozzle should slide straight out of the pipe without issue by pulling on it.
- If the nozzle isn‘t installed with screws, you’ll need to wrap a piece of cloth or towel around the metal to protect it, then use a pair of pliers to grab onto it and twist the entire nozzle counterclockwise until it comes out of the pipe. Once loose, the nozzle should slide off easily, revealing the water piping inside.
Measure the pipeline and purchase replacement parts.
- To ensure you get the components compatible with your current piping kit, use a tape measure to find the length of your pipes. You will need nozzles that are longer than the pipes. When you go to a local hardware store to purchase replacement parts, take the old handles, valves and nozzle with you as reference points.
- Remember, if your shower fixtures have multiple handles, you won’t be able to switch to single-handled ones without much re-piping, so it’s best to invest in a set of similar handles instead of choosing new ones that can’t be used with your existing plumbing.
Screw in a New Stem
After you have all the new parts ready, you can start reinstalling your new bathtub faucet. First, thread the end of the valve stem into the hole where you previously installed the old valve stem. Screw on the handle clockwise by hand first, then use a wrench to make sure it is tight. Just be careful not to over-tighten, as this could damage your pipes. If your tub has more than one handle, repeat this process for each one to install the new stem.
To install the new handle.
- Reinstalling the handle is easy. Just slide it over the new valve until the handle hits the wall. Once it’s in place, use a flathead or Phillips screwdriver to secure the handle with either your old screws or new screws (if provided by your bathtub faucet replacement kit). The index cover should be pushed gently into place to protect the screws and give the final appearance of the handle.
- If your tub has multiple handles, repeat this process for each one. You may also want to use a caulking gun at the bottom of each handle to prevent water from seeping into the walls.
Installing a new spout
- Before installing the spout, use pipe worker’s tape on the pipeline threads to help form a secure seal and prevent leaks. If there are no threads on the pipeline, using pipe workers’ grease may help lubricate and protect fittings.
- Slide the new nozzle onto the pipe and secure it with the mounting screws. If your nozzle doesn‘t have screws, rotate it clockwise until it’s snug against the pipe. Wrap the nozzle in cloth or a towel to prevent accidental scratches on the new fixture, then tighten it with a wrench. Make sure that the nozzle is flush against the wall and pointing downwards.
- Use a sealant gun and sealant to fill any gaps at the bottom of the nozzle to prevent water from entering the wall and causing water damage or mold growth.
Open the water and test it.
- Turn on the water at your house and let it run through the entire piping system. The water will initially flush any air out of the pipes, so please wait a few minutes before turning off your washing machine or basement bathroom sink faucets and entering your tub.
- Before you start, check the tub faucet and handles for leaks. Then shut off the water in the tub and recheck with pressure. If everything goes according to plan, you should have a new bathtub faucet without any leaks.
If everything is functioning as it should, congratulations! You have successfully completed your bathtub faucet replacement project. Just remember to regularly check for leaks and replace damaged parts as soon as possible to prevent further water damage in your home.
At Hofen, we strive to provide our customers with top-quality bathtub faucets and other sanitary products at an affordable price. Our customer service team is always available to answer any questions or concerns. Thank you for choosing Hofen!