How to Replace a Two-Handle Bathtub Faucet: A Step-by-Step Detailed Guide

Maintaining functional faucets in your bathtub is essential for a seamless and enjoyable bathing experience. However, over time, two-handle bathtub faucets can become worn-out, leaky, or outdated, necessitating a replacement. If you’re facing these issues, this article serves as your comprehensive guide on how to replace a two-handle bathtub faucet.

By replacing your two-handle bathtub faucet, you’ll not only enhance the functionality of your bathing space but also give it a fresh and updated look. Say goodbye to annoying leaks, inconsistent water flow, or handles that are hard to turn. With a new faucet, you can transform your bathtub into a haven of relaxation and comfort.

Preparing For The Replacement

Before you begin replacing your two-handle bathtub faucet, it’s crucial to gather the necessary tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Adjustable wrench: This tool will help you loosen and tighten nuts and fasteners.
  2. Screwdriver: Depending on the type of screws used, you’ll need either a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver.
  3. Plumber’s tape: Also known as Teflon tape, a plumber’s tape creates a watertight seal.
  4. New two-handle bathtub faucet: Choose a faucet that matches your existing plumbing and bathtub.
  5. Replacement supply lines (if necessary): If your old supply lines are worn out or incompatible with the new faucet, you’ll need to replace them.

Once you have your tools ready, it’s time to shut off the water supply to the bathtub. Locate the shut-off valve, usually situated beneath the tub or in the basement, and turn it clockwise until the water flow stops completely. To prevent any water from remaining in the pipes, open the faucet handles and allow the excess water to drain.


How to Replace a Two-Handle Bathtub Faucet?

How to Replace a Two-Handle Bathtub Faucet

Step 1 – Removing The Old Faucet

The handles are usually held in place by screws hidden beneath decorative caps or covers. Look for these caps or covers on top of the handles and remove them to reveal the screws. Use a screwdriver to unscrew and remove the screws, and then carefully pull the handles away from the wall. If the handles are stuck, you can use a handle puller tool to remove them without damaging the fixtures.

With the handles removed, you’ll see the escutcheon plates, which are usually held in place by screws. Unscrew these screws and set the plates aside. Escutcheon plates are decorative covers that provide a finished look around the faucet.


Locate the supply lines that connect the faucet to the water supply. Using an adjustable wrench, loosen the nuts that secure the supply lines to the faucet. Be prepared for some water to leak out during this step, so have a towel or bucket ready to catch any spills.

Inspect the area beneath the bathtub to identify any nuts or fasteners securing the faucet. Use your adjustable wrench to loosen and remove these nuts or fasteners, freeing the old faucet from its position. It’s important to take note of the configuration of these nuts or fasteners as they will guide you during the installation of the new faucet.

Step 2- Installing the New Two Handle Bathtub Faucet

Installing the New Two Handle Bathtub Faucet
Installing the New Two Handle Bathtub Faucet

Before installing the new faucet, read the manufacturer’s instructions to familiarize yourself with any specific requirements or additional steps. Apply the plumber’s tape to the threaded portions of the faucet to create a tight seal and prevent leaks. The plumber’s tape is wrapped clockwise around the threads two to three times.

Carefully align the new faucet with the holes in the bathtub, ensuring that it sits flush against the surface. Insert the threaded portion of the faucet through the mounting holes. If the new faucet comes with a gasket or rubber seal, place it between the faucet and the bathtub surface for added stability and to prevent water leaks.

From beneath the bathtub, thread the nuts or fasteners onto the faucet’s threaded portion. Use your adjustable wrench to tighten them securely, ensuring the faucet remains stable. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific tightening requirements. Over-tightening can damage the faucet or the bathtub surface.

Inspect the existing supply lines for wear and tear. If they are in good condition, you can reuse them. Otherwise, replace them with new supply lines. Attach the supply lines to the corresponding hot and cold water inlets on the new faucet, tightening the nuts with your adjustable wrench. Take care not to cross-thread the nuts, as it can lead to leaks. Ensure the connections are snug but not overly tight.

Place the escutcheon plates over the supply line connections and screw them in place. Make sure they are aligned properly and tighten the screws. Next, attach the new faucet handles, ensuring they are aligned correctly. Use the screws provided by the manufacturer to secure the handles in place. Be cautious not to overtighten the screws, as it can damage the handles. Here is a video for replacing a two-handle bathtub faucet.

Step 3 – Testing and Finishing Touches

Carefully turn the shut-off valve counterclockwise to restore the water supply to the bathtub. Allow the water to flow for a few moments to remove any air from the pipes.

Inspect the newly installed faucet for any signs of leaks or drips. Check the connections between the supply lines and the faucet, as well as the handles and escutcheon plates. If you notice any leaks, turn off the water supply and check the connections, tightening them if necessary.

Fully open and close the hot and cold water handles to ensure smooth operation. Check the water temperature and adjust the handles as needed. Ensure that the water flow is consistent and there are no unusual noises or vibrations.

Wipe away any excess plumber’s tape, debris, or sealant from around the faucet using a damp cloth. Clean the bathtub surface to remove any fingerprints, grease, or grime.

Take a moment to appreciate your handiwork and enjoy the improved functionality and appearance of your bathtub faucet. You have successfully completed the replacement process and enhanced your bathing experience.

Read also – How to Replace Your Bathtub Faucet Stem in Simple Steps

FAQs About Removing Two-Handle Bathtub Faucet

Can I replace a two-handle bathtub faucet with a single-handle faucet?

Yes, it is possible to replace a two-handle bathtub faucet with a single-handle faucet. However, this conversion may require additional modifications to the plumbing system, such as rerouting or installing a mixing valve. It is recommended to consult a professional plumber for this type of conversion.

How often should I replace my bathtub faucet?

The lifespan of a bathtub faucet depends on several factors, including usage, water quality, and the faucet’s quality. On average, faucets can last 15-20 years. However, if you experience consistent leaks, poor performance, or an outdated design, it may be time to consider a replacement.

What should I do if I encounter a stubborn or corroded faucet?

If your old faucet is corroded or difficult to remove, you can use penetrating oil to loosen it. Apply the oil to the threaded connections and let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate the corrosion. Then, use an adjustable wrench or pliers to gently turn and loosen the faucet. If the faucet is still stubborn, you may need to use a faucet handle puller or a basin wrench for better leverage. In extreme cases, where the faucet cannot be removed, you may need to cut it off using a reciprocating saw. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with these methods, it’s best to consult a professional plumber for assistance.

Can I replace just the handles and trim without replacing the entire bathtub faucet?

In some cases, you can update the look of your bathtub faucet by replacing only the handles and trim. This allows you to change the style without replacing the entire faucet assembly. However, it’s important to ensure that the new handles and trim are compatible with your existing faucet. Check the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a plumbing professional to ensure proper fit and functionality. Keep in mind that while this option provides a cosmetic upgrade, it may not address any underlying issues with the faucet’s performance.

Final Thoughts

Replacing a two-handle bathtub faucet may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, preparation, and step-by-step approach, it can be successfully accomplished as a DIY project. By following this detailed guide, you can enjoy the benefits of a new, functional, and aesthetically pleasing faucet in your bathtub. Remember to gather all the necessary tools, shut off the water supply, remove the old faucet, install the new one carefully, and test for any leaks.

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