Replacing an old or broken bathtub spout may not be simple when you don’t know how to install a bathtub faucet. The good news is that installing a new bathtub faucet is straightforward when you have the right tools. From there, all you need to do is learn how to take off the faucet handles, as this is often the trickiest part.

If you don’t have much experience with DIY projects, you may feel intimidated by the thought of installing a new bathtub faucet, especially if your bathtub faucet has multiple controls. Whether your faucet is single-handled or has multiple controls, don’t worry, the procedure is pretty much the same.

This guide will explain how to install a bathtub faucet, including the tools and materials needed to complete the task.

How to install a new bathtub faucet

Before you install a new bathtub faucet, first shut off your home’s water supply. After that, remove the current fixtures, such as the spout, and any stems or handles, so you can install the new ones. Lastly, always test to make sure your new fixtures are working properly.  

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install a bathtub faucet in your bathroom. The first section will address how to remove the old faucet, and the second section will show you how to install the new one.

Step 1: Assemble the necessary equipment, tools, and materials

Some materials you’ll need to replace your bathtub spout include the new bathtub faucet and handles you want to use, plumbers’ tape, grease, and caulk. But before you buy a new faucet and handles, you must check the existing ones for the right sizing to fit your current plumbing.

If you have trouble finding new replacement parts for your bathtub faucet, you don’t have to purchase products individually. Consider buying a faucet kit with stems, handles, and a spout. Below are some other tools and equipment you will need for bathtub faucet installation.

  • Caulking gun
  • A towel
  • Phillips-head screwdriver (also called a flathead screwdriver) 
  • Hex key
  • Pass-through socket wrench
  • Pipe wrench
  • Tape measure

Step 2: Shut off your home’s main water supply valve

Since many bathtubs lack individual shut-off valves, turn off your home’s main water supply valve. This will help to prevent any leaks or flooding in your pipes while you change the fixtures. It also will ensure you stay dry as you get the job done.  

First, find the main water shut-off valve and turn it off. It may be located outside your home or in your basement. If you need help turning off the main water supply in your home, contact a reputable plumbing company like J. Blanton to help you.

Once it’s off, remember to drain all the water from your bathroom’s plumbing system. You can do this by turning on the faucet in your basement sink and the bathroom where you wish to replace the faucet.

Step 3: Remove the index from the stem using a flathead screwdriver

The index is a coin-shaped cover at the center of the handle. Use the flathead screwdriver to remove the index from the handle stem to access the fastener. Do this carefully to prevent it from breaking, as excessive force could potentially crack the index.

If the bathtub faucet has two or more handles, use the same procedure to remove the index from the other handle. Note that the index size can vary based on the type of faucet handle you have.

Pro Tip: Lay a small towel at the bottom of the bathtub over the drain to prevent small pieces like the index or small screws from falling down the drain pipe.

Step 4: Loosen the fastener in the handle to remove it

Use the screwdriver to take off the screw on the bottom of the index. To do this, turn it counterclockwise until the screw is loose. If the screw seems stuck, don’t force it, as that may cause it to get stuck. Instead, apply a lubricant to make unscrewing easier. For instance, WD-40 works well in these situations. 

Once the screw is removed, place it aside until you need it for reinstallation. If there is a second handle, use the same procedure to remove it. Again, ensure you keep the drain covered by the towel to avoid losing any parts.

Step 5: Remove the stem from your faucet

When you remove the handle, there will be a thin pipe protruding from the wall. This is called the stem, and it controls the faucet. Use a wrench to loosen the stem. Once the faucet stem is loose, you can pull it from out of the wall. Do the same for all other handles.

Step 6: Remove the spout from the pipe

Bathtub faucets have spouts that are either fastened on the pipe itself or held in place by a screw underneath the spout. First, check how the spout is secured. In the case of a mounting screw, use a screwdriver or hex key to remove it and then place it aside for later use. Next, pull the spout from the pipe.

If the spout is directly connected to the pipe, you will need a pipe wrench to turn the spout counterclockwise in order to remove it. The spout should come off easily when loosened.

Installing the new bathtub faucet 

If you have your new stem and faucet, and your old one is removed, you’re ready to install the new faucet. 

Step 1: Attach the new stem

First, feed the stem’s threadable end inside the hole in the wall where the old stem was before. Next, tighten the stem by hand by turning it clockwise. Finally, secure the connection with a wrench.

Step 2: Install new handles

With a new stem in place, reinstalling the handle is simple. Just push the handle over the stem until it hits the wall. Next, secure the handle in place with the flathead screwdriver and the screw you took off or a brand-new one. Finally, push the cover of the index back into place.

Step 3: Install your new spout

Start by applying a plumber’s tape around the pipe’s thread to secure the seal and avoid leaks. You can use the plumber’s grease if the pipe lacks threading. Next, push the brand-new spout onto the pipe and use the mounting screw to screw it in place. Finally, use a pipe wrench to tighten the new spout and make sure everything is secure.

Step 4: Turn your water supply back on and test the faucet

Once everything is in place and secure, you can turn on your main water supply valve and allow water to flow through the faucet. It will have to push out any trapped air caught in the pipes before it rushes out of the tap. Next, check if anything is leaking, especially around the new fixtures. If you did everything right, there shouldn’t be any leaks. 

Talk to expert plumbers at J. Blanton Plumbing.

Now that you’ve learned how to install a single-handle bathtub faucet, replacing a bathtub faucet in your home won’t be a problem. You can use the same procedure to replace multiple-handled faucets. 

If you’re having trouble replacing a broken or old bathtub faucet, consider hiring the professionals at J. Blanton Plumbing to help you install a new one.

Contact us to discuss your bathtub faucet replacement project.