Learn how to repair and install a new bathtub spout.

January 26, 2019

A tub spout may be screwed onto a threaded pipe or anchored to a nonthreaded pipe with a setscrew. Before you start to unscrew a spout, check underneath to see if there is a setscrew.

If water seeps from behind the spout, it may be attached to a threaded pipe that is loose. Remove the pipe, wrap its threads with pipe-thread tape, and use a pipe wrench to tighten it.

If possible, spend a little more for a brass spout. It will last longer than a bargain-bin spout, which may be made of thin metal or even plastic that wears and stains quickly.

What You Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Hex wrench
  • Groove-joint pliers
  • Pipe wrench
  • Caulk gun
  • New spout
  • Pipe-thread tape
  • Tub-and-tile caulk

Spout Retrofit Kit

Not all spouts are the same. Some are threaded where they meet the wall; others have threads deep inside. You may be able to replace the pipe coming out of the wall or purchase a retrofit kit.

Step 1: Remove Old Spout and Clean

Use groove-joint pliers or a pipe wrench to remove an old spout that is threaded on. Clean the end of the pipe and scrape away any caulk on the wall. Wrap the pipe threads clockwise with two or three turns of pipe-thread tape.

Step 2: Attach New Spout

Screw on the new spout by hand. Wrap masking tape or a cloth around the spout, or wrap electrician's tape around the jaws of groove-joint pliers, and tighten the spout firmly. If the pipe is copper, avoid overtightening, which can strip the threads.

Stepscrews: Removing a Spout Held with a Hex-Head Screw

Some spouts attach with a setscrew. Loosen the screw with a hex wrench and slide off the spout.


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