How to change a bathtub faucet

How to change a bathtub faucet

If your bathtub faucet is dripping when closed, it is time to replace the washers in the valve assembly. These washers press down on the valve seat and seal off the flow of water when the faucet is closed. Over time, the rubber in the washers hardens and becomes worn, which prevents a tight seal and allows water to seep past them. Replacing the washers is a relatively simple task that can be accomplished with some basic tools.

Shut off the water supply to the bathtub faucet. If your bathtub shutoff valve is inaccessible, you can shut off the water supply to the entire house.

Close or plug the bathtub drain and cover it with a rag to catch any parts or screws that accidentally fall.

Pry off the decorative cap from the faucet handle with a flat-head screwdriver. Remove the screw from inside the handle and pull the handle off the valve assembly.

Turn the nut that now shows on the valve assembly — the locking nut –counterclockwise with a pipe wrench to remove it. Pull off the entire valve assembly by gently turning it counterclockwise.

Remove the screw from the valve assembly that holds the old washer in place. Remove the old washer by gently lifting it off with the flat-head screwdriver. If any pieces of the old washer remain on the valve assembly, scrape them off with the blade of the screwdriver.

Position the new washer where the old washer previously was and re-tighten it to the valve assembly with a screw. Replace the valve assembly by turning it clockwise and re-tighten it to the fixture with the pipe wrench. Screw the faucet handle back onto the valve assembly and replace the decorative cap.

If you own a bathroom, chances are you will encounter some problems down the road through basic wear and tear. Today, we will discuss common faucet parts so that you can easily diagnose any problem and fix them without the need of a licensed professional.

Common Faucet Parts

Below are the common parts for your faucet so you know how to diagnose any problem that may occur.

  • Lever – A lever or trip lever allows water in and out of your bathtub. If this breaks, then essentially you cannot control the water level in your bathtub.
  • Spout – The faucet spout is the area where water flows from, or more specifically, where all the water pressure and piping directs your water to flow out o f.
  • Ring – All faucets have an O-ring, which is a round ring made of elastomer with a round cross section, allowing it to be seated around the faucet, creating a seal. If your faucet begins leaking water, a typical culpert is a faulty o-ring.
  • Aerator – An aerator is a small, round device consisting of a metal or plastic screen called a mixer. The aerator lowers the water splashing into the basin and saves water used while filtering out the sediment.
  • Escutcheon – The escutcheon is the metal plate that protects the drain pipe.
  • Washer – The washers on a faucet help secure it in place and form a seal. If your faucet is leaky, it is usually due to a failure of smaller washers.
  • Hose Guide – The hose guide is a small metal device that helps provide more flexibility to your shower hose.
  • Hose Spray – The hose spray is a device you attach to your house to affect the water spray
  • Compression coupling – A compression coupling or compression fitting is a type of coupling used to connect two pipes or a pipe to a different fixture. The purpose is to form a watertight seal.
  • Shutoffs – The shutoff valves are pipes that are connected to your bathtub, allowing you to turn off the water to your bathtub in the case of an emergency.
  • Hot/Cold Water Supplies – This is where your hot and cold water is stored, before they flow into your bathtub through the control valves.

How to change a bathtub faucet

What’s the most common fixture that needs to be replaced?

  • Faucet handle– The handles see extensive everyday use, so they will commonly encounter problems, meaning you simply have to replace the handles or valves.
  • Cartridge – Many faucets have cartridge faucets that control hot and cold water. Since these receive extensive use, they will eventually break down, affecting your hot and cold water output. In the case of this, simply replace them with their appropriate size.
  • Hoses – Hoses connect your faucet to the water supply of the rest of your plumbing. Leaks and damages to your hoses are not unheard of, so it is best to check your plumbing regularly to ensure that nothing received any water damage in this case.

Issues a faucet can run into

Faucets are mechanical objects with many moving pieces in it. On a day to day basis, they will receive extensive use and as such, they will break from time to time. These are common issues that faucets will run into:

  • Leakage
  • Rusting
  • Hot and cold water issues
  • Overflow
  • Low water pressure.

How to change a bathtub faucet

How to replace an entire bathroom faucet:

Below are the step by step instructions for how to replace your bathtub faucet. If you have a center faucet or a wide-spread faucet, the directions are similar, but please consult your manufacturer’s directions if you are installing either faucet type for the first time. A centerset faucet is combined together in a single unit while a widespread faucet needs to have the handles at least 6 inches apart.

How to change a bathtub faucet

Giving your bathroom a much-needed facelift doesn’t require a massive budget or a lot of time. Replacing the spout and faucet handles on an old tub is one way to improve the bathroom’s overall look quickly and easily. While faucet handles are held in place by a screw, tub spouts can be attached in one of three ways. In all scenarios, household tools and a plumber’s small pipe wrench are all you need to complete the project in a few minutes.

Changing Bathtub Fixtures

Chang bathtub fixtures can a whole new look to a bathroom. Examine the faucet handles for the setscrew that keeps the handle in place. If you don’t see a setscrew, look for a faceplate in the middle of the handle.

Gently pry up the small faceplate from the handle using a flat-head screwdriver.

Remove the screw with a bathtub handle extractor or by turning the screwdriver counterclockwise.

Pull the handle toward you to remove it. You may need to wiggle the handle back and forth gently to remove it from the plumbing. If the handle adheres to the plumbing because of a calcium and magnesium buildup, gently tap the handle with a hammer to remove and loosen the calcified material.

Set the new handle in place, ensuring it properly seats. The female surface inside the handle must match the teeth on the plumbing. Place the screw in the hole provided and screw it in. If so equipped, snap the faceplate into place by aligning it over the screw and popping it into place. If the handle uses a setscrew, replace that accordingly.

Removing and Replacing Tub Spout

Determine the tub spout’s type before you replace the bathtub faucet single handle. It will be one of three kinds: a screw-on spout with threads deep inside the spout; a screw-on spout with the threads at the back of the spout; or a spout that requires a setscrew underneath. The spouts that screw on won’t have a setscrew. If equipped with a setscrew, it is on the bottom of the spout approximately 1/4 inch or farther out from the wall. The setscrew may require using an Allen wrench or Phillips screwdriver.

Use the pipe wrench for spouts that screw on. Place a rag over the spout and adjust the pipe wrench’s mouth to fit over the spout so it locks into position as you turn it counterclockwise.

Locate the setscrew on the bottom of the spout for a tub spout so equipped. Remove the screw using the appropriate screwdriver.

Replace a setscrew tub spout by holding the spout in place and screwing in the setscrew underneath the spout. Check to ensure the spout is properly aligned with the tub when installing the setscrew.

Gently and manually screw on the threaded tub spout to ensure you don’t cross-thread the threads inside. If you meet resistance, back out the spout and re-thread it. Manually tighten it as far as it can go.

Wrap the threaded tub spout with a rag before applying the pipe wrench for the final tightening. If you are strong enough to turn the spout flat against the wall with it aligned properly, you won’t need to use the pipe wrench. Check the spout’s alignment and adjust accordingly.

Want to know how to replace a Roman Tub faucet with no access panel? We take a look at the easiest way you can do it yourself.

March 30, 2021 by Ian Haynes

Roman tub faucets have a unique design, so they need a special touch to fix. So we put together this comprehensive guide on how to replace a Roman Tub faucet with no access panel.

Page Contents (Click Icon To Open/Close)

What is a Roman Tub Faucet (& Why Are They So Popular)?

A Roman Tub faucet is a special kind of bath and shower faucet that attaches to the deck of the tub itself, not the wall. Roman tub faucets have an elegant arched appearance and provide a sleek, sophisticated look, which is why they have become so popular.

Roman tub faucets are a popular choice among homeowners and work great for standalone tubs. They come in a wide range of settings, including single, double, and triple handle designs.

How to change a bathtub faucet

How to Replace a Roman Tub Faucet (Guide for No Access Panels)

Replacing a roman tub faucet can be difficult because they do not have a traditional access panel like other kinds of faucets. Nevertheless, here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to replace a Roman tub faucet.

Here is a quick list of the tools that you will need for the job:

Step 1. Remove the Existing Faucet

The first noticeable thing to do is remove the existing faucet. First, turn off the water supply to the area entirely and remove handle cover plates (if any). You will also want to make sure that you cover any drains so that small pieces do not slip away from you and down them.

Most of the time, you can remove the faucet using hex wrenches which are likely hidden. Next, remove the faucet fixture by pulling up and removing the handles. Remove any leftover putty on the bottom to make sure the base is clean. Also, make sure that you place all the hex screws and bolts in a safe place.

Step 2. Install the New Faucet

Next, you need to install the new faucet. After cleaning the base, fit any new o-rings or seals and place them over the spout pipe. Next, apply any plumber’s putty if necessary. Place the new handles over the existing cartridges and slide the new spout over the spout pipe, taking great care to make sure the pipes line up correctly. Tighten any and all hex screws.

Step 3. Test It

Next, it’s time to test the faucet to make sure it is working. Turn the water supply back on and test out the faucet at different levels of activation, including hot and cold each separately. Make sure that there are no leaks, or else you will need to retighten the faucet.

How Do I Know If I Need to Replace My Faucet Cartridges?

A faucet cartridge is designed to control the flow of water when you turn the handle. Overtime, cartridges can break down and need to be replaced. A leaky faucet or difficulty turning the faucet on could be a sign that your cartridge needs to be replaced.

Most of the time, faucet cartridges are designed for specific faucets, so make sure you buy a replacement from the right manufacturer.

How to change a bathtub faucet

People also Ask (FAQs)

Are Roman tub faucets universal?

Roman tub faucets are not universal per se but are highly compatible. Odds are one faucet will work with another setup.

Can you use sink faucets for a Roman tub?

You can, but it is not recommended. The problem is that sink faucets usually have different sizes and flow ratings than bathtub faucets, and you would likely have a disappointing outcome.

How much does it cost to replace a Roman faucet?

It costs about $200-$250 to replace a Roman bathtub faucet, counting materials and labor.

How to change a bathtub faucet

Most leaks in single handle faucets are the result of a worn O-ring around the valve stem. But before you do anything else, make sure to locate the water cutoff so you can turn off the water to the faucet.

Here’s how to go about replacing the O-ring on a bathtub faucet:

Good luck with your project,

Further Information

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21 COMMENTS

Instructions were very well understood and to the point. However drawings or pictures may have even done it more.

I have a two handle bathromm sink faucets that leaks and my question is,
1) do we cut off the water supply under the sink before unscrewing the top of the handle
2) All I found in your wonderful guide, is concerning a bathtub single faucet.

Thank you in advance for your help.

I wish you had a video….or at least pictures….to walk me thru.

In my case I had 4 taps and they were all still dripping when closed. I replaced all of the washers, but they were all still dripping. I found that in all 4 cases the seat of which the washer presses down against was eroded. But I could not afford any tools to resurface the metal seat, so what I did was drop a free floating tap washer onto the seat, and then reassembled the tap. Presto bingo the drip stopped. The additional washer is NOT being rotated but is simply being compressed downward by the above rotating washer. This provides only downward pressure against the seat and thus the free floating tap washer fills in the eroded areas by shaping itself to the uneven surface. This add-in tap washer is 1 size larger in diameter than the one which is mounted as part of the tap. Anyhow, all 4 taps have been working perfectly for quite some time now.

I have a single handle bathtub faucet that is dripping. I have disassembled to the faucet stem, however there isn’t a bonnet nut holding the stem in place. Rather, there is a plastic piece that fits into two grooves at the top and bottom so that it cannot be rotated. Additionally, there was a U-bracket in the plastic piece that held the plastic piece in place. I pulled it out, but the stem still will not budge. I have beat on the pipe to loosen any stickiness, but to no avail. The faucet is about 12 years old. Any suggestions?

what happens if i do everything in the first part of this blog and i still have a leak?

Bathtub washer less faucet will not stop leaking! Can we change to one that uses a washer? Where can we find the plumbing parts needed? Any suggestions are welcomed. Thank you, L. Gentry.

For those of us who know nothing about sink repair/the parts of a sink. A diagram would be awesome!

I would like please a photo of how to stop a leak on my bath tub faucet with instructions please.

Hi, I have a older still shower faucet. And when we turn it on it comes they the shower head before the shower tab is pulled. Think it’s a oring issue but can’t pull the stem out any thing you can help me out to get it out. Or a possibly easier just replace it.

Need help and thanks for anything you can do

What would cause the kitchen faucet hot water to leak…big time….when you use the bathtub hot water??

I have a leaking bathtub spout. They have replaced washer and cartridge.
still leaking. He has now broken the wall to get behind fiberglass tub wall..Tells me it will take a week to get parts. Does this sound normal?? there are no leaks in the wall..

Great 10-step guide on how to stop your faucet from dripping and repair it. We are certified plumbers, and we always tell our customers that leaky faucet needs to be repaired ASAP because it wastes a lot of water in the long term.

I have a single handle moen tub, shower . Faucet drips, it is a slow drip. Sometimes it has stopped. I had the cartridge replaced in Feb it was fine until Oct. I had a handyman place a new cartridge , we cleaned the valve with a wire brush and wiped it with a soft cloth. Replaced the cartridge and used some plumbers grease. It had stopped for a while. I replaced the knob that moen sent and it started dripping again tonight. Could it be the valve body?
I don’t want to change the valve body as the tiles and wall will need to be removed to get to it. But, if I must then I will have to.
Trying to figure out if there is anything else I can do.
Thanks

Hi, Cheryl,
We recommend contacting Moen for product-specific questions.
Here’s where you can do that: https://www.moen.com/customer-support
Good luck!

Do you need to turn the water off from the hot water heater – or just the actual faucet in the tub?

Put in Moen 122 shower cartridge it has slow leak still what could be problem

Hi, Rick,
We recommend contacting Moen for product-specific questions.
Here’s where you can do that: https://www.moen.com/customer-support
Good luck!

Hello author,
Great information, thanks for the blog

I understand, but you can make this process easy and effective through video , please publish a video end of the blog,

How to change a bathtub faucet

The spout, faucet, and hot/cold valves on a bathtub can accent and upgrade your bathroom’s appearance. Sometimes these bathroom tub fixtures are easy to replace, but other times they can be quite difficult to change.

Step 1 – Turn Off the Water

Before tearing into your home’s bathroom tub fixtures, it is wise to turn off the water valve to the entire home. You will not be able to use the sinks or toilets, but the inconvenience is better than a flooded bathroom.

Step 2 – Find the Same Sized Fixtures

The easiest way to replace your fixtures is to find new fixtures that are the same size, with the same fittings and the same type of threads. This may or may not be easy to find, depending on the age of your bathtub fixtures. If you are able to find a similar fixture, it would also probably be wise to replace the fixture’s o-rings, just to be on the safe side.

Step 3 – Replace the Fixtures

Sometimes replacing fixtures require the assistance of a professional plumber. Since many faucets have different layouts of the hot and cold water valves, as well as the knobs that turn the water on and off, you might need to cut into the wall. Even if your new shower is in the same style as your old shower, it is difficult to replace the fixtures through only a small hole. After your new fixtures are installed, the remaining holes in your wall can be covered by specially designed plates. Some of these plates are even made to resemble your tiles.

Step 4 – Use a Crawl Space

Depending on the layout of your home, you may be able to access the space behind your bathtub fixtures through your home’s crawl space. This can save you the trouble of cutting and covering additional holes in your tile. You may have to cut out a portion of the drywall backing behind the shower, but drywall is comparatively easy and cheap to replace. Crawling through your crawl space will also require old clothes that cover your arms and legs, as well as a mask to protect your lungs from any fiberglass fibers. While using your crawl space might take more effort, the result will look more professional.

How to change a bathtub faucet

A bathtub faucet is not as easy to replace as a sink faucet, especially when you want your two-handled faucet to have a single handle. The difficulties you encounter include removing part of the wall to access the faucet valves and patching the unused holes in the wall after installing the new handle. The procedure is easier if the person who designed your bathroom had the foresight to include an access panel for the bathtub plumbing. When it comes to patching unused holes, a conversion cover plate may be just what you need.

Turn off the water to the bathtub. If you cannot find a dedicated shutoff valve, turn off the water for the entire house. Open the faucet and let all the water drain. Be prepared to leave the water off until you have installed the new faucet valve.

Remove all the bathtub trim, which includes the handles, escutcheon plates — the plates around the handles — and tub spout, using adjustable locking pliers and a screwdriver. You may need a handle puller to detach the hard-to-remove handles from the valve stems. Unscrew the spout with the locking pliers, taking care not to scratch it.

Remove the access panel on the other side of the tub wall to get to the valves and pipes. If you have one, locate it on the opposite side of the wall behind the tub or in an adjoining cupboard or closet. If you cannot find one in the bathroom, look in the closet of the adjoining room.

Use a conversion plate along with your new faucet if your bathroom does not have an access panel. As a large metal escutcheon or plate, it covers the holes left by the two valve handles. It allows you to create a cutout between the valve stems to access the piping and valves in the wall. Trace the outline of the plate with a pencil on the wall so that it covers the holes left by the two handles and the cutout access area. About 1/4 inch in from the line you made, use a power drill to create a starting hole to cut from. Insert the tip of a reciprocating saw or rotary tool into the drilled hole to cut out the wall, staying 1/4 of inch in from the line — as the escutcheon rubber lip requires something to rest against. If the walls are tile, make the cuts with a rotary tool or the saw with a diamond blade, removing just enough tiles to install the valve within the line created.

Cut the pipes connected to the old valves with a pipe cutter if the pipes are glued or soldered. Make the cuts at least 6 inches away from the valve. If the valve is connected to the pipes with unions, unscrew the unions with a pair of small pipe wrenches, using one wrench to hold the pipe and the other to turn the union nut. This includes the valve stems attached to the old unit.

Attach any adapters you need to connect the new single-handled valve unit to the hot and cold water supply lines, the tub spout line and a shower line, if it is a combo unit. For example, if it has threaded female ports, screw a male threaded sweat adapter into each port so that you can solder the pipes to it. If your pipes are plastic, connect the appropriate plastic adapter. Wrap pipe tape on the male threads of each threaded fitting to make connections watertight.

Secure the valve to the framing with metal plumber’s tape held in place by screws. You may have to install new two-by-four blocking to support it. Once the valve is attached to the framing, connect the hot and cold water lines using the pipe wrench.

Screw the spout that came with the new faucet to the nipple from which you removed the old spout.

Install the new faucet trim. If you didn’t cut the wall, this involves sliding on the escutcheon plate, screwing on the new handle and patching the holes on either side of the handle with decorative plates. If you cut the wall for a conversion plate, slide it over the single valve stem, secure it to the wall with the anchor screws that pulls up inside the remaining wall portion. Attach the escutcheon and handle.

Seal the base of the spout, the faucet escutcheon and the conversion plate — if you installed one — with silicone caulk.

How to change a bathtub faucet

8 inch offset tub faucet. This faucet is made of bright chrome-looking plastic and will replace similar tub faucets with an offset shower connection.

How to change a bathtub faucet

To determine if your faucet is 8 inches, measure from the middle of the left knob to the middle of the right knob. If the measurement is 8 inches, you have an 8-inch faucet. The next common size is 4 inches.

How to change a bathtub faucet

Taking a look at the back of your faucet (below), you will see three nipples. If the middle nipple is slightly lower than the other two nipples, you have an offset faucet. If your three nipples are all in line, then you need a standard 8″ tub faucet. If your tub spout is separate from the handles, then you need an 8″ brass tub faucet.

How to change a bathtub faucet

If the three nipples are in a straight line as shown in the picture below, then you need a regular tub faucet.

How to change a bathtub faucet

Looking at the faucet from the back, the left nipple is the cold water line, the middle nipple is the shower connection, the right nipple is the hot water line.

To remove your old faucet, you will have to access the wall behind the faucet. Shut off the water supply. The waterlines are simply screwed onto the faucet. Unscrew the ends, then unscrew the nuts from the left and right nipple. The faucet should pull right out.

To install the faucet, apply a bead of plumbers putty around the back edge of the faucet. Insert the faucet through the three holes in the tub surround. Screw on and tighten the nuts found on the left and right nipple. Attach the hot, cold and shower lines. Snug but don’t overtighten. Turn water on and check for leaks. If a leak exists, you may need to then replace the rubber washers in the end of the waterlines, or replace the end.