Replacing a Bath Tub Spout

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Your bath tub spout may need to be replaced if you pull up the lever and your shower doesn’t fully engage and water partially still leaks from your tub spout. This is mostly caused by mineral build up in the chrome or metal spout that will block the diverter from fully being able to close the tub spout. In most bathrooms replacing the tub spout is very simple and takes only about ten to fifteen minutes requiring nothing more than a flat screwdriver and in some cases a Phillips screw driver and channel locks. For inquiries, visit

Most bath tub spouts are screwed into a metal pipe (copper) that juts out from the wall about 6″ or so. You can find a Universal Tub spout at any one of your home supply stores and they typically will cost you between $15 and $25 dollars depending on the type of metal, appearance and such. Make sure you get a universal one if you don’t know for certain the size of your pipe, if you know you have 1/2″ pipe or 3/4″ pipe then you can purchase the size that is specific to your pipe.

Once you have your tub spout purchased you will need to make sure you have the following tools handy:

  • Flat or Phillips Screwdriver about 6″ long
  • Channel Locks (only needed if tub spout is so tightly screwed on you can’t remove by hand)
  • Waterproof/Tub Caulk (to seal the new spout to your tub)

Step 1 – Remove your old bath tub spout

Most faucet spouts screw onto the pipe jutting out from the wall and can be a bit too tight to just unscrew by hand.  You will want to leverage either a drew driver or a wooden handle (like hammer) and wedge it into the faucet mouth and use your hand to unscrew the faucet from the wall (counter clock wise).  Note:  If you jut something metal into the faucet spout mouth you will scratch/damage the chrome faucet, if you want to keep your faucet intact then wrap it in several layers of saran wrap or put a cloth between the screwdriver and the faucet to prevent the metal from scratching.

Step 2 – Examine the type of thread and pipe on your faucet

You want to look at your old faucet and see how it connected to your pipe, find out if you are using a 3/4″ or 1/2″ connection and determine which configuration to use for your new Universal Faucet. You can also triage your faucet to find out why it wasn’t working properly, in the case of this faucet you can see tons of mineral deposits were blocking the diverter from opening properly and flowing water to the shower.

Step 3 – Attach New Faucet

Attach your new faucet by screwing it onto the pipe thread that is sticking out of the wall. If you have plumbers tape then coil a little around the pipe thread to help ensure a tight fit. You will want to make sure the faucet screws tight all the way up against the wall and the mouth is facing down into the tub. (Obvious right?). You will also note that the faucet may be very hard to screw by hand toward the end so here is where you may want to leverage a hammer handle (rubber or wood) to help you turn the faucet. Remember to put some padding between the handle and the faucet mouth or you will bend/damage your brand new faucet.

After attaching your new faucet, turn the water on and test the faucet and the diverter (if you have one) to make sure water runs through the faucet and alternatively to the shower head.

Step 4 – Caulk Faucet to Wall

The final part is to caulk a medium line surrounding the faucet where it meets the bath tub wall, this will ensure no water flows inside the wall between the faucet and the wall. Make sure you use a waterproof silicone based caulk.

In Review

In summary you can save yourself at least $50 by replacing your tub faucet yourself instead of hiring a plumber, the faucet prices are about $15 – $25 dollars and you save the labor costs of hiring a plumber. Replacing a faucet may need to be done more often if you live in places with very hard water which can increase the likely hood of mineral deposits damaging your faucet. In some cases you can just use CLR or other mineral remover products to destroy the buildup and reuse the same faucet, but in other cases you may just want to replace your bath tub faucet entirely.

-Justin Germino

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Updated: August 21, 2013 — 7:45 pm