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Need to replace your bathtub faucet but don’t feel like forking out your hard-earned cash for the service? We all love a DIY job – but not when you don’t know where to start.
Whether you’re after a more modern and sleek design for your faucet handles or have a leak problem with your old ones, you’re in the right place! It doesn’t have to be a long haul, and you can quickly get it done without any extra cost or fuss.
There are many reasons why you might want or need to replace your bathtub faucet. However, replacing a double-handle faucet seems a bit more intimidating and complex when doing it yourself.
Read on to find out how to replace a two-handle bathtub faucet.
If you haven’t bought your replacement faucet yet, be sure to check out our guide on the 14 different types of bathtub faucets!
Tools Required for Replacing a Two Handle Bathtub Faucet
First things first – what do you need? Even though you can do this yourself, there are some tools that are essential when carrying out a faucet replacement. So pull out your old toolbox, dust off the cobwebs, and let’s get started.
Here is a list of everything necessary or helpful when it comes to replacing your two-handle shower faucet.
- New two-handle bathtub faucet
- Base plate that will cover two holes
- Plumber’s tape
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Socket wrench
All of these tools can be easily sourced at your local hardware store, so don’t worry if you don’t have some of these items on hand.
After you’ve gathered your required tools, you’re ready to go. Keep reading to find a detailed step-by-step guide on how to easily change your old bathtub faucet.
6 Easy Steps for Replacing a Two-Handle Bathtub Faucet
1. Turn off the water
You can’t attempt to install a new faucet until you have turned off your water. Head over to your mains water supply and turn your valve to switch it off entirely. If you don’t have a valve, you may need an Allen wrench to do this. Be aware that this will turn off all water flow in your home.
Also, don’t forget your shower or bath may have an individual valve. This may need to be turned off separately.
Once you have done this, be sure to run your water in all of the bathrooms in your home, ensuring the pipes are empty too!
2. Assemble the new faucet
Next, you need to assemble your two-handle bathtub faucet.
Sometimes, you can buy your faucet pre-assembled, but if this is not the case, you’ll have to do it for yourself.
When removing it from the packaging, be careful not to scratch it. Also, make sure that loose screws cannot be dropped into places that they can’t be retrieved from, or this will add unnecessary time and money to the job.
Starting with the water lines, you will need to identify the hot and the cold handles – they will usually be marked with blue and red. Then, connect these lines through their respective holes and tighten the connection using your socket wrench.
Once this is done, secure the cover plate onto the bottom, and you’re ready to go!
3. Remove the old bathtub faucet
It’s now time to say a fond farewell to your tired, old bathtub faucet.
Take your wrench and begin loosening the nuts and screws to loosen up the water lines. This will allow you to remove them, along with the drain plug.
Next, use your Allen wrench to remove the top section of your old faucet. This will include your handles. After this, remove the water lines from underneath and be aware there may be leakage as you do this. Take care not to damage your bathtub when removing your old faucet, too. You might like to protect it with a sheet or a towel.
4. Install the new faucet
Out with the old and in the with the new faucet!
Before doing this, you might want to clean the area. Underneath where your old two-handle faucet used to be, there may be dirt, especially if you have had it for many years. You can use a cloth and some rubbing alcohol to do this extra step if you feel that it is necessary.
Secure the new bathtub faucet in place by first sliding the water lines through the hole in your bath or shower. Then, push the faucet through and use your flat-head screwdriver to secure the screw underneath and ensure that the faucet isn’t going anywhere!
Last but not least, you must not forget the plastic piece that prevents your whole faucet from moving with its handles. Screw this tightly in place and, if possible, ask someone to hold the bathtub faucet in place while you do this.
We’ve got a more specific guide if you’re installing a roman bathtub faucet.
5. Connect the cold and hot water lines
Now you’ve successfully replaced your old faucet, you must connect the hot and cold water lines to get it working! This part is slightly more complex.
It is vital that there are no leaks when doing this. This is where the plumber’s tape plays an important role. Use this if you feel it is necessary and if there are any water leaks in your water lines.
Connect both water lines to your faucet and tighten the water pipes using your wrench. Ensure they are as tight as possible, as you don’t want any leakage from the pipes in your bathtub!
If you have a problem with this step, it’s worth contacting a professional plumber to prevent any leak-related disasters. But if all goes well, you’re almost done.
6. Reconnect the water supply
The very last step in installing a new two-handle bathtub faucet is reconnecting your home’s main supply of water and checking everything works correctly.
Return to your mains supply of water and switch it all back on. Or, if you just have an individual valve, do it that way instead.
It’s now time to test that all of your hard work has paid off. When switching on the water, check that hot and cold water is coming out when turning the assigned handle. This will ensure you haven’t connected each water line to the wrong faucet handle.
Is It Possible to Replace a Two-Handle Faucet with a One-Handle Faucet?
Maybe you feel like you need a change from a two-handle bathtub faucet?
It is possible to replace or convert a two-handle faucet. This is a relatively simple job for a plumber but may not be so easy if you’re looking at doing it yourself.
The same method as detailed above applies, even when replacing with a single-handle faucet.
However, the main difference is you will have to use a different base plate to cover the individual holes, aligning and installing the new faucet through the center hole.
When Should I Replace the Bathtub Faucet?
When you have plumbing problems at home, it is not always clear what the root of the issue is. However, there are some things to look out for when deciding whether it is time for a new spout or faucet.
Other than obvious ones, there are three main telltale signs that your faucet is damaged: squeaking, dripping, and spitting.
If you hear squeaking when turning your bathroom faucet handle, this could suggest that the threads inside have been worn out. You can temporarily fix this problem by applying grease inside. However, this may be a sign to bid farewell to your old faucet.
A spitting faucet is usually a consequence of internal damages, as a fully functioning faucet should provide a constant, undisrupted water flow. However, this does not always warrant a replacement and can often be repaired.
If you notice a constant leaking from your faucet, try tightening the adjusting ring underneath the handle or replacing O-rings. If this does not solve the problem, it might be time for a replacement.
Potential Problems When Replacing a Two Handle Bathtub Faucet
There are several problems that could arise during the replacement of your old faucet.
The first problem you could encounter is improperly draining the faucet or switching off an individual bath or shower valve during replacement. If there is water left in the pipes, you can expect to deal with an avoidable mess. Triple-check this step!
Be careful when assembling your bathtub faucets. When removing the cover, take extra care not to scratch it as this cannot be undone.
Another good tip to avoid disaster is to cover your bathtub’s plughole, as dropping loose screws and nuts down the drain is common and incredibly frustrating. Overtightening nuts and bolts can damage pipes too, so take care.
Despite this, the job is relatively simple if you follow each step correctly. You don’t need to spend an obscene amount of money for this service just because it is unfamiliar and sounds intimidating.
Overall costs will ultimately depend on the type of faucet you have chosen, which could be anywhere from $100 to $1000. You should also take into account the cost of tools required, if you don’t already own them.