Fixing Bathtub Faucet Stem


There are many types of faucets available in the market nowadays but the most basic faucets that you would be able to find in every household are the washer-type (or compression) faucets and washer-less faucets. You would not be able to see how a bathtub faucet stem works because it work at the backend level for regulating both of your tub’s temperature and amount of water. You will normally find the stems attached to the handle of your tub. Therefore, whenever you turn on the handle at the same time you will be rotating the faucet stem. This will automatically raises and lowers the washer enabling the water to either flow or not flow via the stem. It is common for the washers and the stems to breakdown or wears out over time. Below are a few tips that you can follow in order to fix your bathtub faucet stem and at the same time giving it much fresher look to your bathroom with a new one.

To fix bathtub faucet stem, you need:

  • Flat bladed screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Nylon brush
  • Pipe thread compound
  • Internal pipe wrench (optional)
  • Hammer
  • Replacement faucet
  • Spout nipple (optional)
  • Plumbers or Teflon tape

Fixing a Bathtub Faucet Stem

Fixing a Bathtub Faucet Stem

  • First thing that you can do is to make sure that you have turned off the water supply for your bathtub.
    • Determine where your main water supply valve is located and look for a plastic or concrete block which usually holds the valve together with the water meter.
    • When you find it, you have to open its cover and turn off the valve according to the opposite direction.
    • You can use a wrench or pliers if your valve is an old valve and difficult to turn off.
  • The next step to do is for you to close the drain of your tub in order to keep any small components like screws to fall into the drain.
    • You can even place a towel over the opening of your drain to assist you in keeping any small falling objects to fall or lost into it.
  • Then, take your screwdriver so that you can pry off the faucet stem screw cap cover.
    • The cap is normally designed with the “Hot” and “Cold” labels on the outside of your faucet.
    • After that, you can proceed by unscrewing the faucet screw using a Phillips screwdriver. Then, you would be able to lift the handle straight off the stem.
    • As for faucet stem that does not use screws, you can place the wood handle of your hammer inside the faucet’s opening. Then, firmly turn it in a counter-clockwise manner. Turn the faucet until you are able to remove it easily by hand.
    • Once you manage to remove the faucet, you would be able to see the spout nipple.

Whenever you want to purchase a new faucet stem, you cam bring along your old faucet to your local home improvement store to find the exact size and style or even the one which can be inserted into the same tub. For those of you who could not find similar size faucet, you simply use new spout nipple that can fit your new faucet. Always remember that a slip on faucet stem that come with a set of screw should be replaced with the same type of slip on faucet while a screw on faucet must also be replaced with a screw on faucet type.

  • You will also have to look for two hexagonal nuts located at the base of your faucet stem.
    • Next, you should remove the first hexagonal nut which is also known as the packing nut by using your wrench.
    • After that, you can proceed to unscrew the second nut or the valve stem. Once done, you can pull the stem straight out from the faucet.
  • Make sure that you check the faucet stem for any cracks or chips. If you notice any cracks or chips, you should replace it with a new faucet.
    • As for calcium buildup on the faucet, you can clean them up with a nylon brush.
    • Another thing that you need to examine is the rubber washer located at the stem’s base and if it is torn or worn out, you also have to replace it with a new one. In order to do that, you need to unscrew the washer retention screw located at the end of the stem.
    • Replace the old washer with a new one and then secure it with a screw.
    • On the threads of your faucet stem, you should apply pipe thread compound before you proceed by inserting it into the faucet socket. Ensure that you tighten it up using a wrench.
  • After that, you have to place a few drops of silicon grease on the stem outside part.
    • Next, you need to slip the packing nut over the stem’s end and tighten it up using a wrench.
  • Next, you have to replace the faucet stem’s handle.
    • Make sure that you insert its screw and tighten up the handle before pressing back the screw’s cover into its original location.
  • Finally, you need to restore your water supply by turning the main valve into its original position so that you can test your new bathtub faucet stem whether it is functioning accordingly or not.

    Always remember that whenever you want to fix your bathtub faucet stem especially for houses that were built after the year 1980

    • You might find the shutoff valve located separately for the bathtub. The shutoff valve normally is placed in a cabinet or even within any access panels located in your bathroom.

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