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How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: Step-by-Step Process

Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet : Step-by-Step
Written by Callum Strempel

Certainly, fixing a dripping bathtub faucet isn’t an easy job. Before getting started, you first need to identify the cause of the leak.

In these cases, hiring a plumber seems to be the best alternative.

However, if lack of money is your biggest problem, it’s wise to learn how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet by yourself.

Today, we’ll explain to you how to do it in simple and easy-to-understand steps. You’ll also find a detailed list with valuable tips to get the best results.

And if you somehow fail to do the job correctly, we recommend that you get the best bathtub faucets out there because they won’t cost you a fortune.

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet

1. Turning the water supply off

Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet
First of all, you need to turn the water supply off. If you don’t, you’ll end up making a mess when trying to remove the bathtub faucet.

In case there’s no valve to control the water flow in the bathroom, you’ll have to close the main water valve on your property.

If you don’t know where it is, consult the plans of your house or apartment.

2. Removing the cap

Removing the cap
Use a flat screwdriver to pry off the cap from the faucet.

After removing the cap, place it in a visible place, so you don’t lose it or accidentally break it.

3. Removing the handle screw

Fix a Bathtub Faucet
Once you remove the cap, you`ll be able to see the handle screw. This screw keeps the faucet handle fixed in place.

To remove it, you can use a screwdriver or a drill. After removing the screw, place it next to the cap to not lose it.

4. Pull off the handle

Bathtub Faucet fix
After removing the handle screw, pull off the faucet handle. Most of the time handles tend to get stuck due to rust build-up.

If that happens to you, don’t apply excessive force. You may end up breaking the handle.

In these cases, it’s better to apply some special techniques.

For example, you can pour boiling water directly on the handle. Doing this will help remove the rust. You can also apply heat with a hair dryer.

If these techniques don’t work, you’ll have to apply rust remover around the handle.

Wait for at least 12 hours for the product to take effect. Then, pull off the handle carefully.

5. Removing the escutcheon

how to fix a leaking tap
The escutcheon is the metal plate below the faucet that covers the hole on the bathtub surface.

Removing it is very easy. You just need to twist it off or remove some fastener using a screwdriver.

6. Removing the stem assembly

replacing tub fixtures
With the help of an adjustable wrench, remove the stem assembly.

After this step, you’ll be able to easily identify the location of the water leak.

7. Removing the washer

repair a leaky faucet
Usually, the cause of a leaky faucet is a damaged washer. Over time, the rubber washer tends to break due to high water pressure.

To remove it, you just need to uninstall the washer screw and replace the old washer with a new one. Finally, reinstall the washer screw.

If you don’t know exactly the size of the washer, take the old one to a hardware store.

That way, the seller may help to find the washer you really need.

8. Check out the conditions of the seat

Another frequent cause of leaks on bathtubs is a deteriorated seat. With frequent use, the screws and washers of the seat tend to corrode.

When this happens, water leaks appear. In this case, it’s wise to save some extra money to buy a new seat.

9. Replacing the seat

To replace your old seat you need a special tool known as the seat wrench.

If you’ve never used a seat wrench or don’t know where to find one, don’t worry. You can call a professional to get the job done.

10. Reinstall the faucet

After identifying and fixing the water leaks, it’s time to reinstall the faucet.

To do this, put the stem assembly, the escutcheon, and the faucet handle in place.

Then, reinstall the faucet screw. Finally, apply a little pressure to reinstall the cap.

11. Turning the water supply on

After reinstalling the bathtub faucet, you can turn the water supply on. Make sure to slowly turn the valve.

That way, you’ll prevent damage to the pipeline due to excessive water pressure.

12. Checking the leaks

Wait a few minutes to verify that all water leaks are fixed. In case you notice any sign of humidity around the faucet, turn the water supply off.

Then repeat the previous steps to remove the faucet and identify the cause of the water leak.

Useful tips to repair a leaking bathtub faucet

  • Don’t overtight the faucet during the reinstallation process. That way, you can easily remove it in future repairs.
  • In case you have a double-handle faucet, check the temperature of the drips. That way, you can easily identify if the leak comes from the cold water handle or the hot water handle.
  • If you don’t have the money to buy new tools, no problem. On the Internet, you will find a lot of second-hand products at half price.
  • If the faucet handle remains stuck after applying rust remover, it’s recommended to use a handle puller. To use one, you just need to place the tweezers around the handle. Then, turn the metal screw clockwise to pull the handle.
  • If you don’t feel ready to do the job yourself, it’s better to call a professional. In case you don’t have enough money, you can ask a friend for help who can also help you replace the bathtub faucet.
  • Before reinstalling the faucet, it’s better to dip it in white vinegar or rust remover to remove any limescale or rust build-up.


As you can see, you don’t need to be an expert to fix a leaky bathtub faucet. All you need to do is carefully follow the steps in this DIY guide.

Before getting started, make sure to have all the required tools at hand to avoid delays.

Certainly, learning how to fix a leaky bathtub is the best way to save money. You won’t have to bear plumbing costs to solve such a simple problem.

In addition, you can earn some extra money fixing the leaky bathtubs of your family and friends no matter the bathtub type.

About the author

Callum Strempel

Licensed Plumber

Hi, I’m Callum, a full time plumber with a plumbing license issued by my state. So far, I’ve spent nearly a decade and a half installing and fixing a wide variety of plumbing components and units. My profession inspires me to talk about the kitchen and bathroom (and the plumbing system) so confidently and knowledgeably that I offer my free consultations to help neighbors and fellow homeowners every now and then. As I enjoy installing faucets, sinks, showers, and fixtures, I love to see people enjoying services from those components for years to come. So, I write every week to inform you and others. Will you mind going through some of my articles on this website?

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