Fix-It Chick: Give your bathroom a facelift with a new tub spout
Replacing an old, worn-out tub spout with a new shiny spout can add new life to an otherwise tired bath. If the diverter on the old spout is failing, a new spout may also increase the pressure of the shower. New spouts will not, however, fix a leaky faucet.
Step 1: There is no need to turn off the bathroom water supply when replacing a tub spout. Most spouts are simply screwed onto a threaded nipple, but a few styles are held in place with set screws. Check the underside of the existing spout. If there is a set screw, remove it before proceeding. To remove the old spout, firmly grasp it and turn the spout counter clockwise to loosen it. If the spout won’t budge, try loosening it by pressing a flathead screwdriver between it and the shower wall, just in case there is silicone or plumber’s putty behind the spout. If the spout still will not budge, spray the back of the spout with penetrating oil. Let it set and then use a pipe wrench to remove the spout. Be careful not to twist or break the pipe inside the wall when removing the spout.
Step 2: Use the old spout as a guide when choosing a new spout. Select a spout that attaches to the tub in the same manner as the old one.
Step 3: Use a green scrub pad and a good cleaning solution such as CLR or Lime-A-Way to clean around the old spout area. Remove any silicone or plumber’s putty remnants with a sharp putty knife. If the hole behind the tub spout is large, consider installing a plastic escutcheon washer or a tub spout trim ring to assure that water does not run down behind the new spout.
Step 4: Wrap three layers of Teflon plumber’s tape clockwise around the threads of the nipple protruding from the wall. Carefully turn the new spout clockwise onto the nipple until it is upright and tight to the wall. For extra protection, apply a thin bead of tub and tile caulk around the back of the spout.
Step 5: Turn the water on and check for leaks. Test to be certain both the spout and diverter work properly. Recycle the old spout and prepare to enjoy the next bath or shower just a little bit more.
— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at firstname.lastname@example.org.