Replacing your Bathtub Hardware

replaced bath tub hardware in new bathroomIf your bathtub is looking a little dated or perhaps it is just not performing up to standards anymore you might want to consider replacing your bathtub hardware to bring its operation up to snuff and give it a more modern look.

There are several components to a bathtub so we will look at them one at a time. The first one is the bathtub drain.

Replacing your Bathtub Drain

The main tools you will need for this procedure is a crescent wrench and a plumbing specific tool called a dumbbell wrench or universal drain wrench. You can find both of these at your local home improvement or plumbing supply store.

Remove the stopper from the old drain first. Once you get that out, clean the drain out and put plumber's putty around the lip of the new one to ensure a good seal. Some drain kits have additional components. Refer to the instructions for directions. Now screw the new drain in, first by hand, being careful not to cross thread it, then finish it off with the dumbbell wrench. Clean up any excess putty and you’re done!

Replacing your Bathtub Diverter and Spout

To remove the bathtub spout you must find out if the spout is attached to the plumbing pipe via threads or if it’s a slip connection. Examine the underside on the spout. If there’s a screw there, take it out and valve slips right off. However, if there is no screw visible on the base then just turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it. If there’s a screw and it won’t slip loose try to unscrew it. Some use both the threaded connection and retaining screw.

Once you know what kind of connection you have, go to the store to buy the correct type. If it screws on be sure you use Teflon tape.

Replacing your Bathtub Water Handles

If you have a model with two handles, one hot and one cold, you can remove the handles by prying off the cap in the center. Then remove the screw you will find under it. Then your handles should just pull right off. If you are replacing any associated face plate as well, look for any retaining screws and remove them.

On single handle models, first look for any face plate screws and remove them. From there on it is simply a question of disassembly. There are so many models out there that a step by step is beyond the scope of this article. But if you look carefully, it is usually fairly obvious.

Replacing your Bathtub Shower Head

To remove an old showerhead, adjust one pair of Channel Locks to grasp the shower nipple (pipe) coming out of the wall. Grip the nipple securely with the Channel locks with a rag between the plier’s teeth and the surface of the nipple. Grip the existing showerhead near the threads with the other pair of Channel Locks using the other rag and turn it counter-clockwise to remove the old showerhead. The purpose of using the rags is to protect the metal surfaces and prevent marring.

Now it is time to do the installation portion of changing the new shower head. Prepare the shower pipe nipple threads by wrapping them with Teflon tape. Remember that the threads go in a clockwise fashion so the tape should be wrapped that way as well. Only two layers are needed.

Now take your new shower head and carefully thread it clockwise onto the shower nipple. Make sure you are not cross-threading it; if you encounter resistance, back off and look at it. Keep screwing it on using the rag and Channel Lock until you encounter some resistance. Mind, you do not want to over tighten.

photo by rick -CreativeCommons Attribution