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How To Replace a Single Handle Bathtub Faucet Yourself

Updated on June 13, 2013
Replace your old, leaky tub faucet with a new one.
Replace your old, leaky tub faucet with a new one.

One way to cut down on faucet repairs is to simply replace the faucet.When you replace a tub faucet, you must install a faucet that has the same number of handles as the current tub faucet. Tub faucet replacements are different than a sink faucet. Tub faucet handles are separate from the spout. People associate tub faucets as just the handle. However unless you find a tub faucet handle that matches thecurrent fixtures, it is a good idea to replace the spout and shower head at the same time. Replacement tub faucet kits include the shower head and spout.

You will need the following items:

Phillips-head screwdriver
Flat-head screwdriver
Needle nose pliers
Pipe wrench
Adjustable wrench
Single handle shower tub faucet kit
Teflon tape

Removing The Tub Faucet

Step 1

Find the water supply cut off valves to the tub faucet. The cut off valves are behind the same wall the tub faucet mounts. An access panel to the cut-off valves is in the adjacent room that shares the wall. Lay towels or a sheet in the bottom of the tub to protect the tub finishfrom scratches while you work inside the tub.

Step 2

Locate the screw that secures the tub faucet handle. Lever handle tubfaucets have a set screw near the curve of the handle. Remove the set screw with a Phillips-head screwdriver or Allen wrench, depending on the screw head. Knob type tub faucet handles have a cover plate hiding the securing screw. Pry the cover plate off with a flat-headscrewdriver. Remove the securing screw with a Phillips-headscrewdriver. Pull the faucet handle away from the wall.

Step 3

Look for the securing screws that hold the escutcheon plate to thewall. The escutcheon plate is the cover plate behind the faucet handle.Usually there are two Phillips-head screws securing the plate to thewall. Remove the screws with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Some manufacturers use small Allen head set screws on the outer edge. If you do not see the Phillips-head screws on the face of the escutcheon, feel around the edges of the plate for the set screws. Remove the set screw with an Allen wrench. If your escutcheon plate has no screws, turn the plate counterclockwise to remove it from the mounting plate. Pull the plate away from the wall. Remove the screws securing the mounting plate and pull the mounting plate away from the wall.

Step 4

Slide the sleeve that covers the faucet cartridge away from the cartridge. Locate the c-clip that secures the cartridge to the bathroomplumbing. Some cartridges have up to three c-clips. Pull the c-clipsout with a pair of needle nose pliers. Grasp the end of the cartridge with a pair of pliers, and pull the cartridge away from the wall.

Step 5

Inspect the bottom of the tub spout for a securing screw. The screw is in a recessed area under the spout near the wall, if your spout uses a set screw. Remove the screw with either a Phillips-head screwdriver or Allen wrench and pull the spout away from the wall. If your spout does not have set screw securing the spout, the spout screws onto the house plumbing pipe. Place a pipe wrench over the spout, and turn the spoutcounterclockwise until you can turn the spout by hand. Continue turning the spout counterclockwise by hand until the spout is free from the house pipe. Clean the threads of the house pipe with a wire brush toremove old plumbers tape.

Step 6

Place an adjustable wrench over the shower head connecting nut that secures the shower head assembly to the shower arm. Grab the shower arm close to the wall with one hand. Turn the shower head connection counterclockwise with the adjustable wrench in your free hand. Grabbing the shower arm will prevent the arm from moving while removing the shower head.

Purchasing New Single Handle Tub Faucet

Take the spout with you when purchasing your new tub faucet. Compare the new spout to the old one to ensure that it will fit your plumbing. Look at where the thread connection is within the old spout when comparing.

Look for a single handle shower faucet that utilizes an anti-scald mechanism. The anti-scald prevents you from being scalded by accidentally turning the tub faucet handle too far to the hot side.

Purchase a tub faucet that closely matches the sink faucet finish. Although the new single handle tub faucet may not match the design of the sink faucet, matching the finish is almost always possible.

Installing Single Handle Tub Faucet

Step 1

Insert the new tub faucet cartridge into the wall plumbing. Push the cartridge in until it seats into the plumbing. Insert the retaining clips to secure the cartridge to the house plumbing. Slide the decorative cartridge sleeve over the cartridge. The curve part of the sleeve points to the wall. The escutcheon plate has a recess on the back that secures the sleeve.

Step 2

Mount the escutcheon plate to the wall. If your new tub faucet uses a mounting plate, install the mounting plate to the wall first. Secure the mounting plate to the wall with the supplied fasteners. Slide the escutcheon plate over the cartridge and turn the plate clockwise to secure the escutcheon to the mounting plate. Some escutcheon plates simply snap over the mounting plate and secure with set screw on the edges. Most escutcheon plate secure to the wall with screws.

Step 3

Position the tub faucet handle over the cartridge. Secure the handle to the cartridge with the retaining screw. Place the cover over the center of the tub faucet handle, if your faucet is a knob type faucet.

Step 4

Wrap Teflon plumbers tape around the threads of the spout plumbing and the shower arm. Thread the spout onto the spout plumbing until it is hand tight. Place a rag over the spout to protect the finish. Turn the spout another 3/4 turn with a pipe wrench until the spout points to the tub.

Step 5

Thread the shower head onto the shower arm until it is hand tight. Place a rag over the connection, and turn the shower head connection another 3/4 turn with an adjustable wrench. Hold the shower arm while tightening the shower head to prevent turning the shower arm.


Always refer to the instructions that come with your new single handle shower tub faucet replacement for specifics on your model.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Much more of this please


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