How to Replace a Bathtub Faucet

Updated by Lynda Stevens

There are many reasons why it’s time for you to replace your bathtub faucet. Perhaps you just want to spoil your tub with a brand new faucet, or your tub spout diverter is no longer working, or maybe the threads inside the spout have worn out, or worst of all is when you have a leaking spout which can cause serious water damage if you don’t take immediate action.

Whatever your reasons may be, learning how to replace bathtub faucet can definitely save you from a lot of trouble, and of course, from a lot of expense. Don’t sit and wait until all that water damage is out of control and you have to fix your bathroom all over.

Avoid all the extra cost and trouble as changing your tub faucet is not only a task which only professionals can do. And here’s good news for you because replacing a bathtub faucet is not complicated as it sounds that any first-timers can do it without a hitch.

Read on as MCY Channel teaches these simple steps that will guide you in changing your tub spout in just five minutes!

What You Will Need

  • A new tub spout
  • Screwdriver
  • Thread Seal Tape (popularly known as Teflon Tape)
  • Scraper
  • Towel or Cloth
  • Silicone Caulk

Step-By-Step Breakdown

1. Determine What Type Of Faucet You Already Have

Before detaching anything, whether you are changing your bathtub faucets because of leaking problems or not, turn off the main water supply in your house. This will prevent water from coming out while replacing your faucet.

Another tip is to put a cloth or anything that may cover your drain so you won’t accidentally clog your drain when you lose a screw. Losing that tiny screw is the last thing you want while working.

The two most common tub spout designs are slip-on spouts and threaded spouts. Look under your spout. You may use a flashlight to identify your spout type properly.

If you see a screw beneath it, then you have a slip-on style tub spout. If you don’t see any set screw, just like the tub spout design in this picture, then you most probably have a threaded tub spout.

2. Remove The Tub Spout

Don’t worry if you don’t have the type of spout just like this one. Slip-on style tub spouts can be removed easily by loosening the set screw that secures the spout to the water supply pipe.

This pipe is commonly referred to as the copper pipe as it is usually built from copper. Remember to place the bolts in a safe place as you have to use them again later. Be careful not to lose it!

Then, twist the spout counterclockwise as you gently pull it off from the copper pipe. Be careful that you don’t damage the pipe by bending the faucet from side to side. A severely damaged copper pipe is another issue, and this time you might have to call a professional plumber!

If you have a threaded tub spout, just like what you see in the picture, you don’t need to unscrew anything. But ready your screwdriver as there’s a cool trick to remove the spout easily.

There are times that the spout can be detached by just using both of your hands. But if it’s stuck, you may have to use a wrench. If there’s no available wrench at home, don’t panic as a big screwdriver will do as a makeshift lever.

Just like what’s shown in the picture above, stick the screwdriver up to the opening of the faucet. Then, hold the faucet firmly. With your other hand, push the screwdriver up and turn it counterclockwise.

If it’s still stuck, just twist it carefully back and forth. Do this slowly and gently as the faucet starts to loosen. Then, use both of your hands to pull the faucet off from the copper pipe.

3. Clean The Debris Off The Wall

When you’ve removed your old faucet, use a scraper or a razor blade to remove any old caulking or debris on the wall. You may also use a rag or a clean cloth after scraping off to ensure that it’s free from any fragments.

Remember that every time you venture on any plumbing work, make sure that you always start with a clean surface. If you are replacing a threaded faucet, remove the old thread tape, too.

4. Wrap The Plumber’s Tape

Wrap two layers of plumber’s tape around the end of the threaded pipe. Wrap it counterclockwise.

Make sure that the copper pipe is free from all the old thread tape residue. Skip this step if you have a slip-on type tub faucet.

5. Attach The New Faucet

Now your new faucet is ready to take its throne. One important reminder before you purchase a new tub spout, use a tape measure and determine how long your copper tube is. You don’t want to get a tub spout that is either too long or too short for your copper tube as making the copper tube fit your new tub spout perfectly is another task.

But if you have already made your purchase and your pipe is too short for the new faucet, a spout adapter is what you need to act as an extension to your pipe. Just screw the spout adapter to the pipe so when it’s time for you to attach your new faucet, it will fit just right.

If you want to skip all this trouble, then make sure that you buy a tub spout that is just a little bit longer than your copper tube.The most convenient way is you may purchase a new tub faucet that is the same length as your old tub faucet. This way, you are 100% sure that your new tub spout will attach perfectly, without the need to use a spout adapter.

Just as how you carefully removed the old faucet, attach the new faucet gently. Use both of your hands as you don’t want to damage the copper pipe. Rotate the new spout clockwise until it is firmly attached to the pipe. Make sure that the faucet is pointing down just like the faucet in this picture.

If you have a slip-on spout, then look for the tiny screw that you’ve detached earlier. We hope that you didn’t lose it! Use a screwdriver to tighten the screw to secure the spout to the copper pipe.

Now your new faucet is looking good. But we’re not finished yet.

6. Apply Silicone Caulk

Apply a silicone caulk at the base of the new faucet that’s touching the wall. Make sure that the caulk you’re using is silicone-based as this type of caulk is more suitable for bathrooms.

The caulk can be used with a caulk gun so you can apply the bead more smoothly. But don’t worry if you don’t have a caulk gun as there are hand caulk tubes that you can purchase online or in your local hardware store. Squeeze the tube gently as you apply it around the base of the faucet.

You may want to try applying the caulk on a used cardboard first so you can have an idea how to control the tube. This way you won’t have a messy result as you don’t want to apply too much or too little. Applying the right amount of caulk seals your walls and prevents water from entering through this gap.

Typically, newly applied caulk will need a few hours to set. You can read the label of your caulk to see how long it needs to dry completely. It is recommended that you wait until it is completely dry before using your faucet. Splashes of water may affect your caulk and the sealant will be useless.

7. Test Your New Faucet

Now you’re ready to enjoy your new faucet! Turn on the main water supply in your home so you can test if your new spout is working correctly.

After testing the water flow in the faucet, check if the diverter is working. That’s it! You can now enjoy a hassle-free faucet and have your long-awaited peace and quiet as you soak in the bath.

Conclusion

There are a lot of reasons why we need to learn how to replace bathtub faucet. We all know how annoying a diverter faucet that’s not working correctly can be.

Or sometimes, no matter how you try to make the tub look clean, your crappy faucet doesn’t complete the spotless and shiny look you’re aiming for.

The good thing about learning how to change a bathtub faucet is that it’s not rocket science. Beginners can do it as efficiently as the professionals, if you will follow the step-by-step breakdown thoroughly.

Thanks to MCY Channel’s straightforward guide, now we can replace our bathtub faucet as easy as pie. Just take note of the important reminders and you’re good to go!

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