How do I Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet Spout?


For two-handle faucets, known as compression faucets, leaks are typically caused by a worn washer. These faucets are easily repaired by removing the handle and replacing the worn part. However, most tubs and showers today operate with a single-handle faucet, which opens and closes with a cartridge rather than a compression system. If the spout is leaking, either an O-ring on the cartridge found inside the handle, or the entire cartridge, is damaged.

Things You'll Need

  • Pocket knife
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Cartridge puller wrench (optional)
  • Replacement O-rings or cartridge
  • Silicone grease
  • Turn off the main water valve that provides water to the bathtub and open the faucet handle to relieve the pressure.

  • Remove the handle cover cap by prying it off with the blade of a pocket knife.

  • Unscrew and remove the central handle screw, using a Phillips screwdriver.

  • Pull off the handle.

  • Remove the clip that is holding in the cartridge, using needle-nose pliers.

  • Pull out the cartridge. If you cannot remove it by hand, cartridge puller wrenches are available.

  • Examine the cartridge. O-rings are located at both ends. If one or both appear corroded or damaged, cut it or them off with a utility knife. If the entire cartridge appears corroded or damaged, take it to the hardware store to buy a replacement.

  • Coat replacement O-rings in heat-resistant silicone grease and slip them onto the old cartridge. If you are replacing the cartridge, coat the O-rings already on the cartridge with grease.

  • Reinsert the cartridge with new O-rings or the new, replacement cartridge and secure it in place with the cartridge clip.

  • Press on the handle, screw in the handle screw and pop the handle cap back on.

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  • Photo Credit Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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