How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet – DIY Repair Dripping Faucet Fast

diy fix a leaky bathtub faucet

(Does your bathtub faucet leak even after the water is turned off? Let’s take you through the solution.)

Come on in; I want to show you how beautiful my bathroom looks. (Oops! Didn’t I switch off my bathtub faucet properly or what? Oh! The leak is becoming worse.)

I’m sorry about this; I never knew the leaky bathtub faucet could fill my bathtub with such an amount of water.

This is what happens when your faucets begin to leak? I mean the one in your bathtub. Imagine you waking up to see your bathtub halfway filled with water. Oh goodness! Perhaps, you woke up late and wanted to use the shower. Maybe your tub faucet just made your own decision for you, except you want to waste the water.

As simple as this might sound. You might lack water flow without this device – the faucet.

A faucet is any device responsible for the regulation of water flow. In your kitchen sink, shower, bathtub, backyard, a faucet is needed if you want to control the flow of water in these places. However, your tap is always connected to a pipe and the pipe to your reservoir or water tank.

Notwithstanding, we are talking about the faucet in your bathtub. If you’ve got a bathtub, you should have a faucet (or tap as the British call it). Just so you know, a faucet adds or subtracts beauty from your bathroom. If you picked the wrong design, an odd look is what you get (but sometimes, our choice of a faucet depends on our bathroom décor and pocket).

Meanwhile, there are times when the most beautiful and expensive faucet ‘falls sick.’ I mean, when they begin to go wrong. The first sign they offer is a leak.

However, we are here, we’ll walk you through the solution to this problem, but does it work for all bathtub faucets?

You will find the answer to this question before the end of this article.

But are all bathtub faucets are same?

Because different people have varieties of choice, one cannot go for product X just because Mr. A went for it, except it’s what you like too. But sometimes, our options are constrained to the bathroom decoration or perhaps, sadly, what we have in our pocket. Whatever the case might be, I just know that somehow, we get to make a choice at last.

For bathtub faucets, there are different types, and the major ones are:

Wall-Mount Bathtub Faucet, Deck Mount Bathtub Faucet, Roman Bathtub Faucet, and the Freestanding Bathtub Faucet.

All of which are subject to your style and budget. Let’s throw more light on these faucets.

Wall Mount Bathtub Faucet

Maybe sometime in your lifetime, you have walked into a bathroom, and everything was superb except for the bathtub faucet designating its ugly head – an odd style, perhaps? Seeing that alone can ruin the sweet mood you went in there with probably, worsen it. And who knows how satisfying or devastating the faucet could be?

For the WALL-MOUNT FAUCET, it is a faucet you can opt for when you’ve got a low budget and a limited space in your bathroom. Plumbing installation is also effortless (with predrilled hole) with this faucet, and it usually goes with a drop-in bathtub and shower combination.

However, the WALL-MOUNT FAUCET has different types as well. We have the Spout Faucet, Spout Faucet plus Diverter, and the Standalone Faucet, all of which are the different types of the WALL-MOUNT FAUCET. Life’s good!

Deck Mount Bathtub Faucet

deck mount faucets

This type of faucet is excellent for a bathroom with no shower. Just as the name implies, it lies perfectly on the deck of your bathtub. The only issue is you only need enough space on the deck of your bathtub to accompany it, but first, you must research if your bathtub is designed for such a faucet, so you don’t end up cursing the manufacturer (just joking, I know you won’t do that).

Roman Bathtub Faucet

roman style bathtub faucets

The Roman Bathtub faucet was a way to reincarnate the old Roman bath, but it ranges as modernity invades. It is a deck-mounted faucet with an arched spout. But today, many Roman faucets lack the sight of a spout on them. You will see them in various deck-mount, wall-mount, and freestanding faucets. The only problem you might have (which is sometimes not even a problem) is choosing.

Freestanding Bathtub Faucet

I would say most products are typically named according to their designs. A freestanding faucet truly stands free from the wall or the deck of your bathtub. So, does it then stand in the air? Maybe not.

freestanding bathtub washers

It is mounted on the ground, and since it has no disturbance (like the walls, bathtub’s deck, or predrilled holes), it is usually escorted with beautiful customized designs that read meaning to life or a good bath.

So far, so good. Which bathtub faucet does your bathroom possess? I didn’t expect you to answer that, okay! Let’s go ahead!

Is there a difference between bathtub and sink faucets?

Hmm! Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I could quickly replace or remodel my bathroom with my sink faucet, especially when my bathtub is misbehaving. Isn’t that fast and easy as it sounds? At least, maybe later, I’ll get another tap for my sink. I’m sure you didn’t see that coming. It’s cool, right?

Hold on a second! We are yet to confirm that that idea is welcoming. That a kitchen or sink faucet can be interchangeable with a bathtub faucet. Maybe your thoughts were right but let’s scale it and see if you’re found wanting.

I want you to understand this explanation very well. Think of it this way, I know everyone is familiar with the internet. Say we have a file of 2GB to download over a 2nd-generation (2G) network and the same file across a 5th-generation (5G) network. Which would be faster?

I’m sure you’re already stepping into the reality of the whole thing. It is the same for a bathtub and a sink faucet. See the bathtub as the 5G network (although not really) and the sink faucet as the 2G. If you interchange them, you won’t have the same result. A 5G network will download that file faster than a 2G network. Therefore, filling your bathtub with a sink faucet will take longer than filling it with a bathtub faucet. The sink faucet is designed for basic activities like washing dishes, washing hands, etc. A bathtub can take more or less 5-gallon of water depending on its size. Therefore, we need a faucet that allows much water flow for this purpose to be achieved on time. Meanwhile, the bathtub faucet defers from 4-6 gallons per minute (GPM) but has some faster flow rates 

of 1.5-2 gallons per minute.

A sink faucet is designed for primary use, but a bathtub faucet is for your bathroom. (Nevertheless, if you don’t mind, you could use a tub faucet in your sink for better flow.)

Why is my bathtub faucet leaking?

We all know that nothing lasts forever. Every beginning has an end. In like vein, you don’t expect your tub faucet to remain the same. Although it might be declared durable, at least expect some fault after a reasonable amount of time. And if this is the case – your tub faucet leaks. Not bad; it’s a sign that your faucet is beginning to go bad but does that mean it’s time to get a new one? Well, don’t jump into concluding that yet.

Mostly and commonly, your leaky faucet has one particular fault that causes a leak.

Damaged Washer – This is very common and responsible for leaks in a tub faucet. This is inevitable and will always occur as long as you turn on and off the tap’s switch. At least this fault doesn’t call for a total change of faucet, which can save the expenses. The only way to avoid this fault is to stop switching your tap, but what’s the use if it can’t pour out water? Besides, that was your reason for getting a faucet.

damaged faucet washer

Damaged Washer Seat – You don’t usually have this defect except in a worst-case scenario. This occurs when the rubber Washer has worn to the extent that the Seat directly contacts the Stem. (See picture for what it looks like). If this continues, it means iron rubbing iron, resulting in its wear.

faucet parts

How to fix a leaking bathtub faucet

Now that we understand bathroom faucet and their different types. Let me ask you this question, which of them do you own? Shish! Say it silently. I don’t want your next-door neighbor to hear it. They may end up copying your style. Sorry, it’s a joke, but it can be true anyways. You never can tell.

To wander what need is the knowledge of a faucet and their difference when you have a leaking bathtub faucet is not a crime. However, how do you know which faucet you’re dealing with or perhaps, the part needed for replacement? That’s not a crime also, right?

Haven known the fault you could encounter with your bathtub faucets, it is essential to understand how to solve this problem. We’ll take you through the solution right away.

But bear in mind that you cannot perform this solution without the right tools. Here are what you need to successfully carry out this procedure.


  • Adjustable wrench
  • Seat wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Handle puller


  • New Seat
  • New Washer
  • Plumber’s grease.

Note that some tub faucet comes with both hot and cold water switch. We likely have the problem being developed in the hot water switch. However, check out the water temperature that leaks from the faucet to determine which switch we will have to deal with.

You can simply place your hand under the tap to know if it’s hot or cold (you don’t need this if you’ve got a single switch faucet). The temperature of the water leaking dissipates the faulty switch. A cold water temperature shows that the cold water switch has the issue and a similar result for a hot water switch temperature.

It is expedient to have the faucet parts you are using within your reach so you can change any of them with defects.

Before proceeding, ensure the water switch linking to the bathtub faucet is turned off completely. Once this is achieved, open the tap for any leftover water to flow out.

Now let’s begin.

Unscrew the faucet switch handle that causes the leak for hot or cold handles (some handle comes with a cap to house the screw. You can use a utility knife to pry it off, then unscrew). After which, remove the handle to expose the Stem. If the handle is too stiff to come off, it could be due to corrosion. You could ease this by bombarding it with hot air or pouring hot water on it. If this doesn’t work, use the Handle Puller tool to finish it. See figure 1 for a handle puller.

faucet handle puller

Fig. 1: Plumber’s Faucet Handle Puller

Once the handle is out, you should have somewhat of a picture in figure 2.

bathtub faucet parts

Fig 2: Spindle and its labeled parts.

Gently turn the Packing Nut anticlockwise till the Spindle thread is entirely out. You can use an adjustable wrench to achieve this. See figure 3 for an adjustable wrench.

dripping faucet repair tool

Fig 3: Adjustable Wrench

Check out the Washer; see figure 2 to know what it looks like. In most cases of this problem, the Washer is indented or has worn out. In the worst case, the Washer has worn to an extent where the Stem is exposed to the Seat.

Unscrew the Washer screw and change the Washer. Can you now see why I said you should have your faucet spare parts within your reach? It isn’t a problem if you don’t have it. Approach your local store to purchase them (it shouldn’t cost you much). I’d advise you to go with the parts you need to get the exact fit.

If the Stem is exposed due to a worn Washer, you’ll need to change the Seat. The Stem must have rubbed shoulders with the Seat, creating a sharp edge on the Seat. If you change the Washer without changing the Seat in such a case, you’ll end up with a leaking faucet again. As long as the faucet is frequently turned on and off, the sharp Seat will continue to tear through the newly installed Washer, and the same result occurs – leaks.

Changing the Washer and the Seat is recommended for this situation. Use a Seat Wrench to get it out and install a new one.

diy leaky faucet repair

Fig 4: Faucet Seat Wrench

Simple slot the wrench into the Seat and turn counterclockwise to remove it. Do the opposite when installing the new Seat. Move to the next step.

It is advisable to use lubricant on all threads before screwing or replacing them. This will help for smooth repairs next time. After replacing the Seat and Washer with new ones, start refixing the faucet parts.

Screw back the Washer Nut (its thread should be lubricated).

Return the Spindle to the Seat and turn the Parker Nut clockwise. Use the adjustable wrench to tighten it. You don’t want loose parts to cause another leak.

Return the escutcheon to cover the hole. Screw it if it requires.

Replace the handle, and screw it tight. Boom! You did it.

I’ll advise you to carry out this procedure on both the hot and cold water switch even though you know the one responsible for the leak. It will prevent you from having to provide the exact solution on the other one in the long run. Therefore, instead of doing it twice, fix the two at once and secure no leak in the meantime.

What damage can a water leak cause?

Moreover, not everyone has time to fix a leaky bathtub faucet. Perhaps, you’re not just interested in doing it. What if I tell you that this can cause some effect in the long run.

  • Imagine having a leaky bathtub faucet, and each time you wake in the morning, your tub is half full. If this happens daily, it won’t be a concern until the time for your water bills. Over time, you’ll notice that although little are the droplets, they can cause an increase in your water bills. This is one of the effects of a leaky faucet.
  • However, it doesn’t stop there. As long as the water keeps dropping in your bathtub, your bathtub begins to give birth to stains that, if left uncared for, can result in an irremovable stain. Seeing this stain can cause one to change mind about bathing in the tub. I’m sure you won’t want a visitor to see this even in the visitor’s bathroom.

When I was seven, I loved watching and counting water droplets from my bathtub faucet. I would squat with a towel on my waist and keep the tap switch slightly open so that only drops of water could be let out. It’s funny how weird this thing is right now, but it was what spiked my interest to always use the tub. How quickly I have forgotten all those things, and now I’m an enemy of it. Writing to prevent such scenarios from existing, I created it myself back then.

Let me stop there. I’m not here to talk about my childhood. Happy fixing your faucet. Cha-Cha! 

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