How to Replace a Bathtub Faucet (Complete Guide)

How to Replace a Bathtub Faucet

How to Replace a Bathtub Faucet

Changing the handles and faucet in the bathtub can be one of the most challenging tasks for inexperienced DIYers. To properly remove handles and faucets, you must learn how to do so Reinstalling the new handles and faucet is relatively straightforward once you have completed this part of the job , No matter what type of setup you have, the process is the same. The second handle can be removed without any problem by repeating the steps.

The first step in draining a home’s plumbing lines is to shut off the water and drain the pipes. It is now necessary to remove the existing handles, stems, and spout, and then install a new handle, stem, and spout before testing the new setup. Replace a bathtub faucet with these straightforward steps.

Before You Begin

To find a replacement faucet set that fits the current plumbing, you should inspect the existing bathtub faucet and handles. To get a faucet spout that is not too long or too short, you will also need to measure the pipe that the spout fits onto.

Take the old parts to a local hardware store so that you can compare the existing fixtures with the new ones if you are unsure which parts to purchase, you can simply ask a store associate to help you find the correct parts.

If you want all of your fixtures to match, then it’s a good idea to find a bathtub faucet kit that comes with handles, stems, and a replacement spout, instead of opting for individually sold products.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Cloth or towel
  • Flathead or Phillips screwdriver
  • Pass-through socket wrench
  • Hex key
  • Pipe wrench
  • Tape measure
  • Caulk gun

Main Building Shutoff Valve must be turned off

The water must be turned off in the home before performing almost any plumbing repair in order to avoid leaks, flooding, or blow-offs. You can typically find it in the basement or mechanical room, which is where the main shut-off valve is located.

Drain most of the water from the system by turning off the water and opening the faucet on the laundry sink or basement bathroom sink. Ensure all trapped water is drained by turning on the sink faucet and bathtub faucet.

The bottom of the tub should be lined with a towel or drop cloth.

A few screws will have to be removed and handled when replacing the bathtub faucet. To prevent these small fittings from falling into the drain, place a towel or drop cloth in the bottom of the tub. The fittings should also be stored in a safe location outside the tub until they need to be reinstalled.

Stems should be trimmed of the handle index

Begin by prying the index off of the handle stem using a flathead screwdriver. To prevent access to the fastener, the index sits in the center of the handle. The index can be carefully pryed out of each handle without chipping or cracking if you pry up on each side. A new faucet installation kit may come with a handle and index replacement, so this may not matter if you put too much force into your attempt.

The index should be removed from the second handle if your bathtub faucet has more than one handle. The handle should be removed completely by exposing the fastener.

Remove the handle by loosening the fastener

Unscrew the screw under the index using a Philips or flathead screwdriver. The screwdriver should not be used to turn it if it seems seized, as this will most likely strip out the screw. Apply WD-40 or another lubricant to the screw instead.

Set aside the screw in a safe place until it’s needed for reinstallation, then turn it counterclockwise until it can be removed completely. It should now be easy for the handle to slide off of the stem. The screw and handle can be removed again if you have a second handle.

Faucet stem should be unscrewed

A thin pipe should emerge from the wall when you remove the handle. A faucet’s stem controls the flow of water. By extending the pass-through socket wrench over the stem and gripping the hex nut, the stem can be removed. By turning the nut counterclockwise with the socket wrench, you can loosen the stem. The stem can now be pulled out of the wall by grabbing it with your hand once it has been loosened. Using the old parts as a reference, you can replace each handle in the bathtub faucet setup by repeating the previous steps and putting them aside.

Spout should be removed

Bathtub faucet spouts are either screwed onto the pipe or attached with a securing screw located on the underside of the spout. Using a hex key or screwdriver, remove any mounting screws and store them in a safe location for reinstallation. You should be able to slide the spout off the pipe by pulling on it.

For spouts without mounting screws, wrap a cloth or towel around them. This will protect the metal before gripping the spout with a pipe wrench and turning it counterclockwise to remove it. Taking off the spout should reveal the water pipe that was inside after the spout is loosened.

Purchase replacement parts after measuring the pipe

Measure the length of the pipe with a tape measure to ensure that the parts are compatible with your current plumbing set. Replace the spout with one that is longer than the pipe. Replacement parts can be purchased at your local hardware store by referring to the old handles, stems, and spout.

In the case of a multi-handle shower, it won’t be possible to switch to a single-handle shower without extensive plumbing work, so it’s better to buy a similar set of handles rather than installing a replacement handle that won’t work.

Replace the stem by screwing it in

It’s time to reinstall the new bathtub faucet now that all of the new parts are in place. To install the stem, place its threaded end into the hole where the old stems were previously located. Use a socket wrench to tighten the stem by hand, then tighten it by hand once it is snug. The stem should not be overtightened, since this could damage the pipes. Replace the stems for each handle in your bathtub if you have multiple handles.

Replacement handles should be installed in place of the old ones

The handle can be reinstalled easily. The handle should touch the wall as soon as it is slid over the replacement stem. If you received a new screw with your bathtub faucet replacement kit, you can use it to secure the handle. You can do this with the old screw you removed or with the new screw you inserted once it’s in place. For the handle to look complete, simply push the index cover into place and it will secure the screw.

You will need to repeat the process for each handle if there are more than one in the bathtub. In order to prevent water from entering the walls, you may also wish to use a caulk gun to seal the bases of each handle.

Spout Installation

Tape the threads of the pipe before installing the spout to help create a secure seal and prevent leaks. Use plumber’s grease to lubricate and protect the fitting if the pipe does not have threads.

Install the mounting screw in the replacement spout and slide it over the pipe. You can simply turn the entire spout clockwise if it lacks a mounting screw. Use a pipe wrench to tighten the spout after wrapping it in a cloth or towel to prevent accidental scratching. Make sure that the spout is facing down and firmly attached to the wall.

You can prevent water from entering the walls by sealing the base of the downspout with caulk and a caulking gun.

Water is turned on and tested

Start the plumbing system by turning on the water. You should wait a few minutes before shutting off the laundry sink or basement bathroom sink, then proceed to the bathtub. Before turning off the laundry sink or basement bathroom sink, let the water drain fully from the pipes.

Turn off the bathtub faucet and check with the fixture under pressure to see if there are any leaks in the bathtub faucet and handles. Your bathtub faucet should now be working correctly and there should be no leaks.