How To Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet Step-by-Step
If you have a leaky faucet, you understand the frustration of a constant slow drip and water stains that show up no matter how many times you clean them. Getting the spout fixed as soon as you notice the issue will spare you a lot of annoyance and a high water bill.
A less serious issue is the result of a spout’s diverter being faulty. This leads to water that drips mostly from the spout instead of the shower head. Although this issue won’t cause any damage, it can be frustrating.
However, spouts can leak to the point that the spout and wall meet. This type of issue is serious because it can cause serious damage. Leaks can also cause severe damage to your home. Water damage can lead to mold that could potentially harm your health.
The job may cost you a bit of money, but it is worth the investment Choosing to repair the faucet will also save you the added expense of tearing it out and replacing it with a new one.
In this guide, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for how to replace a leaky bathtub spout before you call a plumber.
Step 1. Gather Your Tools
Before you get started, you must gather all the tools you need to complete the project:
- Adjustable wrench
- Multi-bit screwdriver
- Clean cloth
- Faucet stem
- Socket wrench
- Faucet handle
For a DIY project like this, you only need products that you can either find around home or buy quickly at your local retailer.
Step 2. Shut Off Your Water Supply
Once you’ve gathered all of the tools and materials you need, locate your water supply valve and turn the water supply off. If you’re unable to find the primary valve, you can turn off the water supply lines.
Once you do this, turn the handle of your faucet to the on position. Let all the residual water from the pipes flow down the drain.
Step 3. Remove the Handle
To find out where the problem is coming from, you must take apart the leaky bathtub faucet.
- Start by removing the decorative cap. Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws in the center of the handle.
- Once you remove the screws, pull on the faucet handle so you can remove it from the wall.
- This may be tricky if your faucet handle is old because water deposits and corrosion can make the handle harder to remove.
- Don’t force it if the handle doesn’t want to come off. That could lead to damage. Instead, try warming it up by using a hairdryer or pouring a small amount of hot water over it.
You can even use a tool called a handle puller, which attaches to the handle and makes it easier to nudge it loose.
Step 4. Assess All of the Parts
Once you’ve removed the faucet handle, take a closer look at the stem and the inside of the handle to assess the condition.
Look at the washer, handle, and valve stem to locate any eroded components. The most common reason for a leaky faucet is a washer you need to replace. When you remove the stem assembly, that should be the first part that you assess. It’s easy to see if the washer needs to be replaced because it will appear hardened or twisted if it’s not in usable condition.
With any components that you remove, you should set aside in a small container. When it comes time to replace all of these parts, you’ll want to put them together in a fashion similar to when you removed them.
Step 5. Replace the Handle
After years of constant use, bathtub handles can begin to crack or develop rust. If you handle shows signs of severe wear, you’ll want to consider replacing it.
Another reason your faucet may be leaking is that the handle may not be completely turning the water off. Depending on the type of faucet you have, install a new handle and turn on your water supply to find out if that’s the cause of the leak.
Step 6. Replace the Washer
At the top of your faucet’s stem, you’ll notice an exposed rubber component. This is called the seat washer and its purpose is to seal water flow.
As we mentioned, washers tend to deteriorate over time. To replace it, loosen the screw that holds it together and replace it with a new one.
If you’re unsure of what screws to use, you can take the old one to a hardware store and ask them for an exact match.
If the faucet continues to leak after you replace the washer, you may have to replace the stem.
Step 7. Replace the Seat if Needed
Another component of the faucet that can cause a leak is a damaged seat. The seat is the component in contact with the washer. It can become damaged after the washer begins to deteriorate or due to corrosion.
A damaged seat can cause its leak, but it can also damage the washer you just placed, which will make the leak reappear.
For this reason, it’s not enough to just replace the washer and move on to replacing the stem. Checking the seat could save you the trouble of having to take apart your new installation.
Step 8. Replace the Stem
The faucet stem lowers and raises whenever you turn the handle of your faucet. It allows water to flow through. If you are dealing with a faulty or damaged stem, it may not be properly blocking the flow of water.
- Before you replace the stem, wipe away any rust, caulk, or wax buildup that has gathered around the base. Using an adjustable wrench, loosen the bolts that are keeping it together. You will have to use a socket wrench if the bolts are on the wall.
- Once you’ve done this, you can remove it and install a new one. If you’re unsure of what stem and bolts you need, you can take the old parts to hardware store and ask them to match it.
- When you replace the stem, be very gentle. Do not force it or you may damage the threads in your plumbing. For this part, it’s best to use your hands.
Step 9. Replace the Spout
- First, carefully scrape away any residual caulk where the spout and wall meet. Using a pipe wrench, grip the spout and unthread the spout from the stub-out pipe.
- Clean the threads and take measurements to match the new and old spout. Go to the hardware store and purchase a spout that matches those measurements.
- Then, add four wraps of thread-sealing tape to the threaded stub-out. You’ll want to wrap it in a clockwise direction.
- Apply caulk to the area where the tub and spout meet, thread the new spout onto the stub-out pipe, and tighten it. The caulk will make sure that water doesn’t drip behind the spout and cause damage to the interior wall.
- Finally, wipe away any caulk at the seam and clean up the area.
Step 10. Put it All Back Together
Once all of the damaged components are replaced, it’s time to put everything back together.
- Replace the stem and tighten it using your adjustable wrench. Then, screw the handle back into place.
- Once the handle is firmly reattached, you can then replace the decorative cap that covers it all.
- Next, turn the water supply back on to check if everything is running smoothly and there are no leaks.
Leave It To The Pros
Dealing with a leaking bathtub can be annoying. If you spot a leaky bathtub faucet in your house, you may want to try your hand at repairing it yourself. It’s a fairly straightforward job that doesn’t require a lot of expertise. You may need to purchase some specialist tools to complete the project, but you’ll still end up saving.
To make it easier for yourself, keep all of the damaged parts and take them to a hardware store so the staff can help you buy the correct replacement parts. You’ll want to avoid guessing since you could end up with the same issue. Also, be very careful if you plan on doing this project yourself. You don’t want to risk damaging any parts that are essential for your tub to work correctly.
However, If you don’t fix the leak in time, you may end up with water damage or mold problems. Contact a member of our team if you believe that you are dealing with water damage. As a full-service contracting company, we’re equipped to handle any damage restoration and repair services. With over 10 years of experience in this industry, we are confident that we are the most trustworthy and reliable experts to handle any of your home repair work.
Call 1-866-313-0458 to speak to a representative of our team.