How to Change a Bathtub Faucet in 8 Simple Steps

How to Change a Bathtub Faucet?

To change a bathtub faucet, you will need to follow these steps:

Turn off the main water supply valve and drain the bathtub.


Place a towel or cloth over the drain to prevent objects from falling in.


Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the handle index.


Loosen the handle fastener screw and remove the handle.


Use a pass-through socket wrench to unscrew and remove the stem from the wall.


Remove the spout by either removing a mounting screw or using a pipe wrench to turn it counterclockwise.


Purchase new parts based on measurements, most spigots being around 6 inches.


Screw in the new stem and use a socket wrench to ensure a tight connection.


Install the new handles by sliding them over the new stem, securing with a screw, and caulking the base.


Install the new spout by using plumbers’ tape on the pipe’s threading, sliding it on, and securing with a screw or by turning clockwise.


Apply new caulking to seal the spout’s base, turn the water back on, check for leaks, and ensure proper functionality.

Key Points:

  • Turn off the main water supply valve and drain the bathtub
  • Place a towel or cloth over the drain to prevent objects from falling in
  • Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the handle index
  • Loosen the handle fastener screw and remove the handle
  • Use a pass-through socket wrench to unscrew and remove the stem from the wall
  • Remove the spout by either removing a mounting screw or using a pipe wrench to turn it counterclockwise

Did You Know?

1. The first bathtub with running water was invented by the ancient Greeks around 300 BCE. It featured a primitive faucet that allowed for easy refilling of the tub.

2. The shape of the traditional bathtub faucet, with a curved spout, was inspired by the design of the ancient Roman aqueducts. The curved spout helped control the flow of water and prevent splashing.

3. The world’s largest bathtub faucet can be found in Chisholm, Minnesota. Standing at 15 feet tall, this colossal faucet serves as a unique landmark and symbol of the town’s rich mining history.

4. In the early 20th century, bathtub faucets were often made of solid brass due to its durability and resistance to rust. However, as the price of brass increased, manufacturers switched to using cheaper materials like chrome-plated steel.

5. The process of changing a bathtub faucet involves shutting off the water supply, removing the old faucet, cleaning the area, and installing the new faucet. It may seem simple, but it can be quite a complex task if the plumbing connections are corroded or if the faucet is tightly secured.

Turning Off The Main Water Supply Valve And Draining The Bathtub

When changing a bathtub faucet, it is essential to follow a few important steps. Begin by turning off the main water supply valve and draining the water from the bathtub. This ensures a safe and clean environment while working on the faucet.

To turn off the main water supply valve, locate it near your water meter or in the basement. Rotate the valve clockwise until it is fully closed. This will stop the water flow to your bathtub and prevent any leaks or accidents.

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After closing the main water supply valve, proceed to drain the water from the bathtub. Open the drain plug or stopper to allow the water to flow out. If your bathtub doesn’t have a drainage plug, you can use a bucket or a siphon to manually remove the water. It is crucial to completely drain the bathtub to avoid any water damage or spills during the faucet replacement process.

Securing The Drain With A Towel Or Cloth

After draining the water from the bathtub, it is essential to secure the drain with a towel or cloth. This precautionary step is necessary to prevent any objects or parts from falling into the drain while you work on removing the faucet. It can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming to retrieve lost items from the drain, so taking this simple step can save you from unnecessary hassle and frustration.

To secure the drain, place a thick towel or cloth over it, covering as much area as possible. This will act as a barrier, catching any small screws or parts that may accidentally fall into the drain. It is essential to make sure the towel or cloth is secure and cannot be easily displaced. By taking this simple precaution, you can avoid potential plumbing issues and maintain a smooth faucet replacement process.

Removing The Handle Index And Handle

To remove the bathtub faucet, follow these steps:

  1. Loosen the handle index: Start by using a flathead screwdriver to gently pry off the small decorative cap that covers the screw holding the handle in place. Be careful not to scratch or damage the surrounding area.
  2. Remove the handle fastener screw: Once the handle index is removed, you will see the handle fastener screw. Depending on the type of screw, use either a screwdriver or an Allen wrench to loosen and remove it.
  3. Slide off the handle: With the fastener screw removed, you can now easily slide the handle off the stem.

Note: Some faucets have a handle with a set screw that needs to be loosened before you can remove the handle. You can identify this by looking for a small hole on the underside or backside of the handle. Use an Allen wrench to turn the set screw counterclockwise and loosen it before proceeding to remove the handle.

  • If the faucet has a handle index, gently pry it off using a flathead screwdriver.
  • Use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench to remove the handle fastener screw.
  • Slide the handle off the stem.
  • If there is a set screw, loosen it with an Allen wrench before removing the handle.

Important: Carefully follow these steps to avoid any damage while removing the bathtub faucet.

Taking Out The Stem From The Wall

After removing the handle, it’s time to take out the stem from the wall. To do this, you will need to use a pass-through socket wrench. Fit the wrench around the stem and turn it counterclockwise to unscrew the stem from the wall.

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Carefully pull the stem out of the wall, being mindful of any surrounding pipes or fittings. It is essential to handle the stem with care to avoid any damage or breakage. Inspect the removed stem for any signs of wear or corrosion that may have contributed to the need for replacement.

Removing the stem will provide access to the inner components of the bathtub faucet and allow for the installation of the new parts. Take note of the size and condition of the stem, as this information will be crucial when purchasing the replacement parts.

Improvement suggestions:

  • Use a pass-through socket wrench to remove the stem.
  • Be careful when pulling out the stem, considering any surrounding pipes or fittings.
  • Inspect the stem for signs of wear and corrosion.
  • Take note of the size and condition of the stem for purchasing replacement parts.

Removing The Spout From The Bathtub

To remove the spout from the bathtub, follow these steps:

  1. If your spout has a visible mounting screw, use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to remove it.
  2. Once the mounting screw is removed, gently pry the spout away from the wall.
  3. If your spout does not have a mounting screw, use a pipe wrench to grip the spout firmly and turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the pipe behind the wall.


  • Be cautious to avoid damaging surrounding tiles, walls, or plumbing fixtures.
  • Take your time and use gentle force to ensure a successful removal without any unnecessary damage or breakage.

Please note that removing the spout requires caution to avoid damage.

Installing New Parts And Sealing The Faucet

With the old faucet components successfully removed, it’s time to install the new parts and seal the faucet for a secure and functional installation. Start by purchasing the appropriate replacement parts based on the measurements of your previous components. Most spigots are around 6 inches in length, but it’s always best to double-check and ensure a proper fit.

Begin by screwing in the new stem using a socket wrench. Make sure to tighten it securely to ensure a leak-free and stable connection.

Next, install the new handles by sliding them over the new stem and securing them with the appropriate screw or fastener. Apply a small amount of caulk around the base of the handles to prevent water from seeping into the walls. This additional step will provide added protection against potential water damage and prolong the lifespan of your faucet installation.

Now it’s time to install the new spout. Start by wrapping plumbers’ tape around the threading on the pipe behind the wall. This tape will act as a sealant and prevent any water leakage. Slide the new spout over the pipe and secure it with either a mounting screw or by turning it clockwise onto the pipe.

Once the spout is securely in place, apply a fresh layer of caulking around the base of the spout to ensure a watertight seal. This will prevent any water from seeping behind the spout and causing damage to the surrounding area.

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After completing the installation, turn the main water supply valve back on and check for any leaks. Allow the water to flow through the faucet and check that it is functioning properly by testing the hot and cold water settings. If there are any visible leaks, tighten the connections or seek professional assistance as needed.

Changing a bathtub faucet may seem like a daunting task, but by following these step-by-step instructions, you can easily remove and replace a bathtub faucet, giving your bathroom a refreshed and functional appearance. Remember to take your time, follow safety precautions, and seek professional help if needed. Soon enough, you’ll be enjoying a brand new faucet in your bathtub!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I replace a bathtub faucet myself?

Yes, you can definitely replace a bathtub faucet yourself. It is a relatively simple and enjoyable task that can be completed in a couple of hours. This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to remove and replace the bathtub faucet, handles, and other components. Whether you are fixing a leaky faucet or simply upgrading your bathroom fixtures, this DIY project can be easily accomplished with a little time and patience. So go ahead and give it a try!

Can you change a bathtub faucet without turning the water off?

Although it is possible to change the spout of a bathtub faucet without turning the water off, it is not recommended. Typically, the water is shut off at the valve located near the spout to prevent it from flowing while you work. The spout is usually secured to the pipe with a set screw underneath. However, it is always best to turn off the water supply to avoid any potential accidents or water damage.

Are all bathtub faucets universal?

No, bathtub faucets are not universal. Just like other types of faucets, they come in various sizes and styles to accommodate different bathtub configurations. The specific requirements for a bathtub faucet will depend on factors such as the type of bathtub, the plumbing system, and the aesthetic preferences of the individual. Therefore, it is important to select a bathtub faucet that is compatible with the specific bathtub and meets the desired design and functionality requirements.

What tools are needed to change a bathtub faucet?

The tools needed to change a bathtub faucet include an adjustable wrench, plumber’s tape, a screwdriver, and a pipe wrench. These tools are necessary for detaching the old faucet and installing the new one. The adjustable wrench is used to loosen and remove the nuts that hold the old faucet in place. The screwdriver is required to remove any screws that may be securing the faucet to the wall or handles. Plumber’s tape is used for providing a tight seal between the new faucet and the pipe. Finally, a pipe wrench is useful for gripping and loosening stubborn connections, such as the water supply lines. With these tools on hand, replacing a bathtub faucet can be a relatively straightforward task.

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