Plumbing Guide: How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet

Last Updated on November 3, 2021 by Kravelv

Your bathroom has a lot of plumbing fixtures. Next to the kitchen, it is a strong candidate for leaks and other plumbing issues than the rest of the rooms. A leaky bathroom faucet can cost you money and rack up your utility bills if left unchecked. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of this.

bathtub faucet

A dripping faucet may not seem to be much of a problem, but it can accumulate 3000 gallons a year with one drop per second. Imagine how much money you are wasting by leaving your leaky bathtub faucet unfixed. The longer you wait to repair it, the more money is going down the drain, which is why you should act upon this kind of issue immediately. If you need professional help with plumbing issues around the house, you can contact the professionals here: and get your issues resolved in no time.

The Main Causes of Bathroom Leaks

Since the bathroom is full of plumbing fixtures, it is hard to identify where the leak in the bathtub is coming from immediately. In addition, the water is highly mobile, and it can travel along the pipes before dripping on your bathtub. To fix a leaky faucet, you should identify where the leak is coming from. Here are some possible causes of your leaking bathtub.

Leaky Faucet

A leaky bathtub faucet is the number one cause of leaks in many bathrooms. Luckily, leaky faucets are usually very easy to fix. However, many homeowners don’t know how to solve this problem, and many of them don’t see it as a serious problem and choose to neglect them. (We will discuss how to fix this later!)

Leaks can lead to constantly wet floors and contribute to mold growth. It can also result in an unwanted increase in your water bills.

Leaking Drains

Another main issue in the bathroom is leaking drains. It can cause the seepage of water into the bathtub. For those who are handy around the house, they can try checking the seals. Some drains are improperly sealed during their assembly and can be easily fixed. Otherwise, it’s best to contact a professional for help.

Grouting Issues

Most bathtub leaks are not due to poor drainage systems or poor pipework. Instead, it is from the shrinking grout in the tiles, particularly in the shower area. When the water hits the tiles, the water can seep behind the bathroom tiles. This can cause the pooling of water and can lead to a more serious issue in the future.


Aside from the previously mentioned causes of bathtub leaks, the cracks can also be a problem. Even small hairline cracks, which are generally not a cause for concern, can cause water to seep through them and cause water pooling and water damage.

Leak in the Overflow Pipe

Overflow pipes located at the back of the tub can also cause leaks. It can be due to cracked or dry washers located between the overflow pipe and the tub. Replacing these washers is harder than those of the faucets as they are sealed into the bathroom wall. Again, hiring a professional is the safest solution to address this.

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet

If you want to repair the leaks in your bathroom faucet, you can do so with some conventional tools that you may already have in your garage.

Read our step-by-step guide on how you can fix a leaky bathtub faucet yourself.

Step 1. Turn off the water supply

Begin by turning off the water supply so that you won’t have water spraying around when you detach the faucet. Locate the valve that supplies water into your bathtub. If you cannot find it, go to the main water supply valve.

Step 2. Detach the cap covering the faucet

Start working by prying off the cap that covers the handle screw. You can use a small pocket knife or a screwdriver.

Step 3. Remove the screw on the handle

Once you have removed the cap, you will find a screw that holds the handle in place. Remove it using the screwdriver.

Step 4. Extract the faucet handle

Once you have unscrewed the handle, you can easily dislodge it. For old faucets, it can be a little difficult because of corrosion and the accumulated water deposits. Please do not force the handle, or you might break it. Instead, use hot water or hot air from a dryer to loosen the handle. Alternatively, you can use a handle puller to do the job.

Step 5. Detach the escutcheon and stem assembly

After removing the handle, you should tackle the escutcheon. It is the plate that covers the hole in the wall. Depending on the model, there are different ways to do this. Some need unscrewing, while others need only a little twisting.

After you have removed the escutcheon, you can now remove the stem assembly using an adjustable wrench. You need this part to reach the part where you can fix the leak.

Step 6. Check the washer

A worn-out washer is a usual culprit in water leaks, which might also be the case for your bathtub faucet. Upon removing the stem assembly, check the washer at its end if it is worn out. It is easy to determine as a worn-out washer is usually deformed or hardened. This causes the water to drip through.

Step 7. Replace the worn-out washer

If you find the washer needs replacement, replace it with a new one. The job is easy. Simply unscrew the washer and replace it. If you have no spare, take the removed washer to the store to ensure you get exactly what you need.

Step 8. Inspect the seat for damages

Another reason why there is a leak in your bathtub faucet could be the damaged seat. It is the part that gets in touch with the washer and can get damaged due to wear and tear or corrosion. The damaged seat can be replaced using a special wrench.

Step 9. Put the whole thing back into place

After replacing the washer and seat, you can put the whole thing back into place. The first step is to return the stem assembly using the wrench. Next is the escutcheon and the handle.

Return the handle and cap and turn the water back on. Check if there is no more leak on the faucet. If there is none, then congratulate yourself for doing a great job!

Kravelv is a full time digital marketer and part time furniture and cabinet maker. During his free time he would like to create something out of recycled woods, this varies from toys, furnitures plant boxes etc. Follow him on Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook