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sbattisti 09-20-2008 02:51 PM

Tub faucet leak when shower is on?
Hi folks, first post here.

I fall squarely into the category of "severely home improvement inept". So, if you are kind enough to respond to this thread, please assume the following:

a. If it's a tool other than a hammer, I probably need detailed instructions about what the tool is. :)

b. If it's something I have to buy that could POSSIBLY have more than one size, type, or model, please help me figure out exactly which one to buy, because I am genetically predisposed to selecting the wrong one!

So, in other words, while I appreciate your help in advance, please don't say "Oh, no problem, just whammus the frammus with a 3/8" circular frindebund!"

OK, caveat over, here's my deal:

I just moved into an 18-year old townhouse, with various small projects I need to tackle. The first thing I'm curious about is my shower. It's a standard bathtub, with the faucet with the little plug you pull up to turn the shower on. The knob is a push-off/pull-on single knob.

I have two problems:

1. When I pull up the plug with the water running, about half of the water comes out of the faucet, instead of the shower head, with the result that the shower has very poor water pressure. (Well, I'm not 100% certain the two are related, but I suspect this to be the case.)

2. The entire shower unit seems to be "loose." That is, if I grab the shower knob and pull gently, both the knob and the faucet will move simultaneously. I can push/pull them about 1/2" in either direction.

So, any suggestions as to how I can fix these issues, or is this plumber material?

Thanks very much in advance!


majakdragon 09-21-2008 12:31 PM

sbattisti, we have all been where you are at one time or another. That's why DIY sites are so popular.
Your problem is in the tub spout. It is called a diverter and when you lift the knob, it blocks off water through the spout and directs it to the shower head. The fastest and easiest way to fix it is by replacing the spout. There are two types. Look under the spout where it meets the wall. If there is a slot in the bottom of the spout, there is an allen screw that holds the spout on. To remove the spout, unscrew the screw and "twist and pull" on the spout. There are "O" rings that make a seal and these make it a bit stiff to remove. If there is no slot, the spout is threaded onto a pipe. Use channel-locks or a pipewrench and turn counter-clockwise to remove. Take the old spout with you to a Home Improvement store for a replacement. Reverse the procedure to reinstall. The movement you spoke of is probably due to the pipe not being secured to studs when installed. Tough to repair without cutting into the wall.

sbattisti 09-21-2008 04:06 PM

Great, thanks very much for this, I'll give it a try!

sbattisti 10-02-2008 06:34 AM

This may be a tremendously stupid question, but before attempting something like this, do I need to shut off the water to the shower?

majakdragon 10-02-2008 07:34 AM

Nope. Just make sure you don't "bump" the on/off handles while working on the spout. The only time water is at the spout is when the handles are on.

sbattisti 10-02-2008 02:22 PM

Sorry, one more question before I tackle this this weekend.

I noticed that the place where the spout meets the shower wall is currently caulked. Is this something I should repeat once I install the new spout? If so, are there special types of caulk used for such things? I literally have never used caulk in my life, so advice here would be appreciate!

Also, is this the sort of operation that would require "flux"? If so, what's the story there?

Thanks, as always?


majakdragon 10-02-2008 03:40 PM

You will want to cut/remove the caulk since it will allow easier removal of the spout. Pick up a tube (squeeze tube will work) of tub and tile caulk. Squeeze a bead of the caulk around the new spout to prevent water from running into the wall when using the shower. I like using a spoon dipped in water to smooth out the bead of caulk for a nice finished look. A finger will work but spoons are not as messy. No flux or soldering is necessary.

sbattisti 10-03-2008 02:04 PM

For what it's worth, it turns out it IS the kind of spout that has the slot with the allen screw. I'm tackling this this weekend, wish me luck!! :)

majakdragon, when I replace, I ONLY need to replace the spout, right? There should be no need to replace the knobs or anything like that unless there is a problem?

majakdragon 10-03-2008 09:13 PM

You should have nothing but the spout to work on. Remove the caulk, remove the allen screw, twist the spout to break loose any calcium deposits that may be holding it, and then twist and pull steadily outward on the the spout. You don't want to jerk on it since you could break something inside the wall. The "O" ring(s) that seal the spout may give you a bit of a problem but the spout should slide off.

sbattisti 10-06-2008 06:14 AM

Yay, it worked! Thanks so much for your help. It didn't quite go as smoothly as I'd hoped, but it worked out in the end. (Caulk is harder to apply neatly than you might expect...) Can't beat that for $15 and a half an hour of my time.

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