Tub and Shower Faucet Repair: Fixing Leaks

What You'll Need
Replacement Seals
Bathroom Specific Silicone Caulk
Crescent Wrench
Old Toothbrush
Rubbing Alcohol
Plumbers Tape
Cleaning Solution of Your Choice (should be specific for hard water buildup)

There are a few simple steps that can be completed for tub and shower faucet repair. Frequently, a faucet may leak, drip, or spray unevenly, causing you frustration and possibly costly and dangerous water damage to materials that are not readily seen. There really is no such thing as a watertight tub and/or shower enclosure. All tubs and showers will release at least a marginal amount of of moisture into the surrounding materials. A leaky faucet can and will eventually create damage that can turn into a homeowner's worst nightmare. A few simple steps can be taken to eliminate leaks and avoid a complete bathroom remodel. Here you will find the information, tools, and materials needed for repairing a leaking tub and shower faucet.

Step 1 - Remove Knobs

First, regardless of the source of the leaks, you will want to check all of the components of the faucet for any repair that is necessary or will be in the future. Since you are already in there, you might as well do some preventative maintenance. Start by removing the knobs for the water supply. Generally, these are secured with a screw for each knob, or perhaps just one knob that controls both hot and cold water. The screw is usually covered by a small plastic cover in the center of the knob. Inspect the knob to make sure that it is not cracked or broken. Many times these can be old and cracked, which can be the source of the leak. Replace the knob if broken or decayed.

Step 2 - Replace Seals

For some knobs, there are seals inside them that can become broken or cracked, which can cause the leaking. Inspect all seals and replace them if warranted.

Step 3 - Remove Shower Head and Faucet

Next, remove the shower head. Many times, hard water buildup blocks the outlets in the shower head and can create back pressure, which will compromise seals and can contribute to a leak, or at least compromise the performance of the shower head. The shower head usually screws on. Place a thin cloth over the connection of the shower head (this helps to prevent against scratching the finish) and use a crescent wrench to loosen and remove the shower head. Soak the shower head in a cleaning solution of your choice to remove hard water build up. When reinstalling the shower head, wrap the threaded end with plumber's tape and tighten firmly, but do not over-tighten. Repeat the process with the faucet.

Step 4 - Caulk

You will want to seal any areas that have openings with the silicone caulk. This might include the faucet where it meets the wall, or a faceplate behind the water supply knobs. Make sure everything is tight, and clean the surface well. Swab the area with rubbing alcohol to ensure all traces of residue and cleaning material are gone. Once the surface is clean and dry, apply the caulk and smooth with a wet fingertip. Allow caulk to cure for at least twenty-four hours.