Bathtub spouts are easy to take for granted--that is, until something goes wrong with one. Then many homeowners find themselves at a loss over what to do. Luckily, the replacement process isn't half as hard as you may think. If you would like to increase your DIY plumbing skills, read on. This article will teach you how to swap out your old bathtub spout with a new one.

What Goes Wrong

There are three principal ways that a bathtub spout can fail. Perhaps the most common is for the diverter to give out. The diverter is the piece that you pull upward to redirect water up to your shower head. You know you've got a bad diverter when the water will only come out of the spout, no matter what position it's in.

Spouts can also fail due to corrosion. If the threads located on the inside of the spout become so rusty that they begin to crumble away, water will begin to leak from around the spout. You may also notice that the spout is loose and cannot be tightened. Finally, your spout may fail aesthetically. In other words, the chrome finish may begin to flake or corrode in unsightly ways.

How Spouts Are Attached

Bathtub spouts can be broken down into two main categories: slip-on and screw-on spouts. Slip-on spouts are secured using a so-called set screw. Located near the wall on the bottom of the spout, the set screw will need to be loosened using the appropriate size of hex wrench. Once you've removed the set screw, you should be able to slip the spout off by twisting it gently back and forth.

If you're unable to locate a set screw, then you know you're dealing with a screw-on spout. As their name would imply, screw-on spouts can be removed simply by turning them in a counter-clockwise direction. You may need to give the spout a squirt of penetrating lubricant if it's proving too stubborn to unscrew. 

Replacing Your Spout

Replacing a slip-on spout is fairly simple. Just bring your old spout to your local home improvement store and find a compatible model. The versatility of set screws means that even if your new spout isn't the exact same length as the old one you should be able to use it with no problem.

Screw-on spouts are a different story. If the new spout is not the exact right size, you may not be able to screw it on all the way. You may also find that the threads are simply too corroded to get your new spout on. In that case, your best option may be to simply cut down the pipe using a tubing cutter and attach a slip-on spout instead. To learn more, speak with a business like Ottawa Number One Tub & Tile.

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