Replacing a leaky or outdated bathtub faucet is one of the easier DIY bathroom remodel projects. With a few basic tools and some patience, you can swap out the old faucet and spout for a shiny new fixture. We’ll walk through the step-by-step process to remove your existing tub faucet and install a new one.
How To Change a Bathtub Faucet
Gather Tools and Materials
Before starting any home improvement project, it’s essential to have all the necessary supplies on hand. Here’s what you’ll need to complete a bathtub faucet replacement:
- Replacement faucet and spout
- Adjustable wrench or basin wrench
- Pipe tape
You’ll also want to turn off the water supply lines under the sink or turn the home’s main water valve to the closed position. This prevents water from spurting out when you remove parts from the old tub faucet.
Make sure to purchase a faucet made specifically for bathtub installation. The spout design enables it to extend over the rim of the tub. Check that all replacement parts fit your existing plumbing setup before starting.
Remove the Old Faucet and Spout
With the water turned off, start dismantling the worn out fixture from your bathtub. Follow these instructions:
Take Out the Faucet Handles
On each handle, loosen the screw at the base and carefully pry off the index cap. This small decorative piece pops off with a flathead screwdriver. Underneath, you’ll find a larger screw to remove.
Slide the handles off the central stem once the screws come loose. Set all small parts aside in a container to avoid losing pieces.
Unscrew the Spout
Determine what kind of spout you have before attempting removal. Many spouts simply have a set screw that needs loosening to pull the neck off the pipe. Others, like threaded spouts, require you to turn the entire fixture counterclockwise with a wrench.
Check for a set screw or mounting nut underneath or around the backside. Use an adjustable wrench or pliers to loosen the spout and disconnect it from the pipe.
Go slowly if meeting resistance unscrewing an older iron spout. Apply penetrating oil if the parts feel stuck then let it soak before trying again.
Remove the Stem and Valve
With the spout and handles detached, focus on freeing the valve stem. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the stem assembly counterclockwise. In most cases, the stem unscrews completely from the faucet body.
Take note of the exact placement of washers, seats, springs and any parts wedged inside the valve. Refer to manufacturer instructions for help identifying pieces. You’ll need to reassemble in the same order later.
Thoroughly clean the valve seat and stem opening once empty. Flush debris out with water and inspect for cracks or damage. Repair issues with the valve prior to installing new faucet parts.
Install the New Tub Faucet
You’re now ready to rebuild the water lines with a brand new bathtub faucet set. Assemble the interior valve components first then mount the exterior handles and spout.
Reinstall Stem and Valve Parts
As mentioned, pay attention to the order of washers, o-rings and seats when putting the new stem in place. Some stems come with parts pre-attached. Make sure no debris or putty remains in the faucet opening before inserting.
Other valves simply require tightening the new stem clockwise until snug. Avoid over tightening plastic components. Replace the chrome or metal packing nut then test by opening and closing the rebuilt valve.
Connect New Handles
Align the handle holes with the stem and slide into place. On some designs, the handles attach directly to the valve body rather than the stem. In this case, first secure the handles then insert the stems.
Add any needed washers or plastic friction rings based on the replacement kit instructions. Insert the retaining screw in the underside and tighten with a screwdriver. Don’t forget the small handle index cap that fits into the opening.
Repeat the process with each handle to ensure proper alignment. Run water through the faucet once fully reassembled to check for leaks. Tighten screws or connections as needed.
Mount the Matching Spout
Connecting a new slip-on spout takes just minutes. Simply clean the end of the pipe then slide on the tub spout until snug against the wall. This style doesn’t need a set screw to hold in place.
For threaded spouts, apply pipe tape to the tip of the pipe in a clockwise direction. Carefully twist on the spout, aligning any installation tabs. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten further once positioned correctly.
Other spout types use a mounting screw that fits into a special slot on the underside. Loosen the retaining nut then fit the spout into place and re-tighten the screw by hand. Take care not to strip the threads.
Regardless of the attachment method, always check that the spout base sits flush to the wall. A small gap can lead to an eventual leak. Caulking around the base adds an extra water barrier.
Once fully installed wipe down the entire tub faucet with a dry cloth. Clear any debris from connecting joints or crevices. Turn on the water supply and check for drips or leaks. Tighten any problem connections then enjoy your refreshed bathroom fixture.
Replacing a Leaky Faucet
Over time, the regular wear and tear of daily use loosens screws, erodes washers and seals, and ultimately causes annoying drips. When faced with a leaking bathtub faucet, homeowners can either call a plumber or tackle a DIY replacement project. Let’s review the steps for this common home plumbing repair.
The first signs of trouble often show up around the tub spout. Sporadic drips or a steady trickle likely indicate failing seals or washers inside the faucet body. Leaky valves under the handles can also develop if the interior stem gets bent or corroded.
Loosening screws or underlying pipe connections cause drips to form behind the fixtures. Spouts slowly work free of the mounting bracket. Gravity then pulls the unsupported section downward until a small gap forms.
Start troubleshooting by tracing water drops back to the source. Wipe fixtures dry then run water to identify the exact drip points. Next, check for any loose parts underneath spouts or near the valve inlets. Retighten screws with a screwdriver if they loosen over time.
Shut off the hot and cold water lines feeding the tub. Open the faucet handles all the way to drain excess water still in the pipes. Have a towel and bucket handy to catch additional drips. Now you’re ready to inspect the interior workings of the faulty faucet.
Repairing Simple Leaks
Several quick fixes address many tub faucet leaks without full replacement:
Tighten the Spout Mount
Over years of use, spouts slowly work free of the water pipe allowing drips to form at the joint. Check for gaps between the backside of the spout neck and finished wall.
Use an adjustable wrench to give the spout an extra 1/4 turn clockwise if loose. This reseats the spout mount tight to the pipe. Add caulk around the base for an extra seal.
Replace Faucet Washers
Thin plastic or rubber washers between metal seating surfaces wear out over time. Removing the handles and valve stem gives access to these parts.
Inspect washers and o-rings for cracks, distortion or embedded debris. A $5 hardware store kit provides all new seals, friction rings, and valve parts for a quick DIY repair.
Follow manufacturer instructions for proper reassembly to avoid future leaks. Lubricate o-rings with non-petroleum grease and make sure valve seats align smoothly.
Tighten Packing Nuts
The chrome nuts holding valve stems in place also loosen slowly as faucets age. Check these connections underneath each handle. Drips here indicate the need for a simple tightening of the packing nut.
Adjust tension slowly with an adjustable wrench – over tightening can damage valve operation. Clear any debris in the stem socket then test water flow. Drips should stop once nuts sit snugly against the faucet body.
Drain and Flush Valve
Mineral deposits or debris caught inside valves prevents them from fully closing. Removing and cleaning the valve seat and inner workings restores watertight performance.
Use a toothpick to gently scrape deposits from the valve seat hole – inserting a pipe brush works for stubborn build-up. Flush pieces to ensure removal then reassemble with fresh seals.
Replacing Worn Out Faucets
For leaks originating from multiple points or heavily corroded parts, replacing the entire tub faucet is the best option. Today’s designs feature durable finishes engineered for decade of reliable use making them worthy upgrades.
Follow the previous steps to fully remove your existing bathtub valves, handles, spouts and related attachments. Take detailed photos of plumbing connections before dismantling anything to ease reinstallation.
Browse Home Depot’s wide selection of tub fillers featuring premium metal construction and drip-free ceramic valve cartridges built to withstand busy family bathrooms. Choose from multiple finish options like brushed nickel, chrome, bronze and more.
Match spout styles to your décor – high arching goosenecks fill soaker tubs while low profile designs accommodate shower combos. Pay special attention to the valve mounting configuration and number of handle holes when selecting a compatible replacement fixture.
Most DIY-friendly tub fillers use universal connections making installation straightforward. Simply apply plumber’s putty to seal the base flange then secure new valves and handles with provided hardware. Reconnect spouts and test for smooth faucet operation.
Proper care and regular maintenance keeps a shiny new tub filler performing well into the future. Follow the manufacturer cleaning recommendations using mild soap and soft cloth only. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners which can damage protective finish over time.
Getting familiar with basic plumbing repair skills pays big dividends for long term home ownership. Replacing a leaky bathtub valve or outdated spout takes just an hour or so. The right DIY know-how and high-quality replacement parts from Home Depot keeps bathrooms looking great for decades to come.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Bathtub Faucet
During a bathroom remodel or construction project, most homeowners focus time and budget on eye-catching finishes like tiles, lighting and vanities. But don’t neglect functional fixtures like faucets and drains which also deserve an upgrade after years of continuous use.
Let’s explore what to look for when evaluating an older tub faucet. Recognizing the warning signs indicates when replacement provides the smartest long term investment.
Drips and Leaks
Likely the most obvious and annoying red flag is a faucet that drips. As internal seals wear out, water seeps through worn washers and defective valves. Even tiny flows turn into huge water bills and potential water damage over time.
Before replacing an entire fixture, first try tightening connections or replacing common interior valve parts. But significant mineral deposits and corrosion often complicate repairs of dated designs. At some point, starting fresh with new tub hardware makes better financial sense.
Rust and Finish Damage
Enamel and chrome plated faucets withstand moisture well, but eventually show signs of age through the finish. Rust spots, calcium etching and flaking signal deterioration allowing even faster corrosion underneath.
While cosmetic issues seem harmless, the loosening protective coating leads to pits and holes that undermine structural integrity. Repairing pitted surfaces proves difficult making full replacement a better value.
Leaky Plumbing Connections
Faulty tub fillers also negatively impact surrounding plumbing joints. Drips running down spouts or valves rot out drywall and undermine tile or fiberglass tub materials. Hidden slow leaks in supply lines or drains also develop.
Rather than battling several issues separately, a complete faucet upgrade eliminates the source problem. New designs perfectly fit today’s supply lines and drain outlets. Ensuring watertight connections protects all bathroom surfaces long term.
Along with physical wear, older tub fillers simply look outdated when surrounding finishes get refreshed. Replacement faucets showcase cleaner contemporary styling with arched goosenecks, minimalist levers, and elegant finishes.
New technology also brings reliability improvements. Long lasting ceramic valves, one-piece cast spouts, and drip-free docking features withstand heavy use year after year.
Tying together all new sinks, toilets and tubs with matching faucets pulls together a cohesive look. Frankly, upgrading fixtures sparks joy and satisfaction with your living space – a worthwhile return on investment.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully replaced your bathtub faucet. This DIY project not only improves the functionality of your bathroom but also gives it a fresh look. For less than a few hundred dollars, replacing an outdated or leaky tub faucet overhaul brings huge benefits. The project takes just a few hours for big visual impact and greatly increased reliability. Added perks include improving home value and saving on utility bills when eliminating drips. Remember to turn off the water supply if you ever need to make repairs or replacements in the future.
If you’re considering a bathroom remodel in Atlanta and surrounding areas, contact Pinnacle Building Group!