How To Replace a Bathtub Faucet Without Destroying Tile? Step By Step

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Removing or replacing the old bathtub can be a challenging task if you are inexperienced in plumping projects; however, learning how to unscrew each part step by step will make the task easier; in addition, if you have successfully unscrewed the parts, reinstalling them will require no effort as it’s the easiest part in the process.

You can remove the bathtub faucet without destroying or replacing the tile behind the faucet; you will need to pick the right faucet and other parts, making the job easier, and you will not need to do any tiling tasks after the replacement process.

How To Replace a Bathtub Faucet Without Destroying Tile?

To replace a bathtub faucet without destroying tile, you will need to replace the faucet with one that has the same size so it fits into the plumbing you currently have. Therefore, you should measure the pipe to which the spout is fitted; so that the new spout will not be longer or shorter than the previous.

You can remove the old faucet and take it with you to the hardware store to compare them with the new faucet to ensure that they have the same size. In addition, to have a matching faucet kit, you can also replace the stem and the handles when replacing the old faucet.

Tools You Will Need

  • Tape Measure
  • Caulk Gun
  • Cloth or Towel
  • Hex Key
  • Bathtub Faucet
  • Bathtub Handles
  • Caulk
  • Pipe Wrench
  • Flathead or Phillips Screwdriver
  • Pass-through Socket Wrench
  • Plumbers Tape
  • Plumbers Grease

Steps for Changing the Faucet

  • 1. Turn off the Main Water Supply

First, you will need to shut off the main water supply before making any plumping improvement so that there will be blow-offs, flooding, or leaks while you are working; you can find the main valve, which is responsible for the house water supply in the mechanical room or the basement.

After shutting off the main valve, you will need to open the faucet in the basement bathroom sink or the laundry sink; this will drain any water in the house’s pipes.

  • 2. Cover the Bathtub with Cloth or Towel

To prevent any screws or small fittings from dropping into the drain of the bath tube while removing the faucet, you will need to cover the bathtub will a piece of cloth or a towel, and make sure it covers the drain of the bathtub. However, keeping the small fittings or the screws safe away from the bathtub is more recommended.

  • 3. Unscrew the Index of the Handle

Unscrew the handle index from the stem using a flathead screwdriver; the handle index is the metal or the plastic circuit located in the center of the handle to prevent the user from accessing the fastener. To remove the index without it getting cracked or chipped, you will need to pry up on both sides of the index gently; you should not put much pressure on the index so it doesn’t get cracked.

If your new faucet set comes with a new handle and an index, the index getting cracked won’t be a problem for you; however, you should try first to remove it gently. You will need to do the previous step for each handle if your faucet set has more than one handle; after removing the index, the fastener now should be exposed.

  • 4. Lossen the Fastener of the Handle

After removing the index, you will find a screw underneath it; you will need to use Phillips or a flathead screwdriver to loosen the screw, the screw can be tightly screwed or seized, so if that is the case, you should not keep trying to loosen it as it can strip the screw. Instead, you should use a lubricating solution to make it easier to rotate the screw.

When the screw is ready to be removed, rotate it in a counter wise direction until it’s completely removed from the fastener, and then keep the screw in a place away from the working area to use it for reinstallation. You can use some effort to remove the handle from the stem; you will need to do the previous step for each handle if your faucet set has more than one handle.

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  • 5. Unscrew the Stem

After unscrewing the handle and removing it from the stem, you will see a thin pipe extending from the wall, the stemis used to control the faucet. To remove or unscrew the stem, you will need a pass-through socket wrench to grab the hex nut and loosen it. 

The last step in removing the stem is to use your hand to pull it out of the wall; you will need to do the previous step for each handle if your faucet set has more than one handle. Keep the removed parts, so you can use them to buy a similar faucet if you have not already got it from the hardware store. 

  • 6. Remove the Spout

The next step is to remove the spout; you will need to locate the screw used for mounting it to the tile; the screw is usually located on the spout’s side facing the floor or on the pipe. If you can find the screw mounting the spout, it has no screw; some spout types are rotated into the wall, so you will need to use the wrench to remove it.

Before using the wrench, it’s recommended to place a towel or a piece of cloth on the spout to protect the metal from getting bent; remove the spout by rotating the wrench in a counterclockwise direction until the spout gets loosened; now, you can use your hands to remove the spout reveling the pipe of the spout.

  • 7. Prepare the New Parts

To buy the suitable parts or faucet kit, you will need to measure the length of the pipe you revealed after removing the spout; the new spout should be longer than the pipe. You can use the old parts as a reference when buying the new parts from the hardware store, so you should take the old spout, stems, and handles to compare them with the new ones.

  • 8. Install the New Stem

The first step in installing the new faucet is to install the new stem; you can do this by installing the stem’s feeding end into the place where the previous stem was installed, and then using your hands, rotate the stem in a clockwise direction to tighten them in place, next, you will need to use the socket wrench to secure the stem in place.

When securing the new stem, make sure not to overtighten it because it can damage the pipes, and you will need to do the previous step for each handle if your faucet set has more than one handle.

  • 9. Mount the New Handles

Mounting the new handles is very easy to do; you will need to slide them over the stems until each handle reaches the wall, and then you will need to use the old screw you removed from the old handles or use the screw that comes with your new faucet kit. Next, tighten the screw in place using a Philips or flathead screwdriver; you will need to rotate the screw clockwise. 

If your faucet set has more than one handle, you will need to do the previous step for each handle, and a recommended step is to use caulk to seal the base of each handle; the caulk will prevent the water from getting inside the wall.

  • 10. Mount the New Spout

Before mounting the new spout, you will need to prepare the tube, you can use a plumber grease to protect the spout and lubricate the installation, or you can use a plumping thread to prevent any leaks and make sure the spout is securely sealed. Then, mount the new spout to the tube; if it has a mounting screw, you will need to screw it.

You can use a Philips or a flathead screwdriver to tighten the screw in place; if the new spout doesn’t need a mounting screw, you will need to rotate the spout in a clockwise direction to tighten it. Before using the wrench, it’s recommended to place a towel or a piece of cloth on the spout to protect the metal from getting bent. 

Then use the wrench to tighten the spout by rotating it in a clockwise direction; you will need to make sure that the spout faces down and is secured in place; a recommended step is to use caulk to seal the base of the spout, the caulk will prevent the water from getting inside the wall, which can cause the growth of mold.

  • 11. Test the New Faucet

To test the new faucet, you will need to turn on the main valve responsible for the water supply to the house, the flow of water will need a few minutes as it will push out any air in the pipes first. Next, observe the faucet and the handles to check if any of them is leaking; if there is no leak, you will need to shut off the faucet to test it under pressure. 

Conclusion

To sum up, you can replace the bathtub faucet without removing the tiles; you will need to buy a faucet that is the same size as the old one, so it fits in place without making a greater hole or replacing the tile. You can unscrew the faucet parts to use them as a reference when buying the new faucet set. 

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