How to Fix Bathtub Faucet Handle Leaking (DIY)

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Imagine this: you’ve just noticed a pesky leak in your bathtub faucet handle leaking, and you’re dreading the thought of calling a professional plumber and the costs that come with it. The good news? With some basic tools and a little DIY spirit, you can fix that leaky faucet handle yourself, save money, and gain valuable skills in the process! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to identify the cause of the leak, prepare for the repair, disassemble and fix the bathtub faucet handle, and test for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify the cause of a leaking bathtub faucet handle, such as worn-out washers or loose parts.
  • Prepare for repair by gathering necessary tools and replacement parts before disassembling the faucet handle.
  • Repair can involve replacing a washer or tightening/replacing damaged components. If DIY attempts do not resolve issue, consult professional plumber.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

If you're dealing with a persistent drip and wondering how to fix a leaky faucet, you're in the right place. Fixing a leaky faucet is a common household task that can save you money on your water bill and prevent water wastage. The process generally involves identifying the type of faucet, gathering the necessary tools, and following a step-by-step procedure to address the issue. Whether it's a compression faucet, ball-type faucet, cartridge faucet, or ceramic-disk faucet, knowing the right approach is essential.

How to Fix Bathtub Faucet Handle Leaking (DIY)

Identifying the Cause of the Leak

Before you start the repair process, first identify what’s causing your bathtub faucet handle to leak. Most leaks in bathtub faucets can be attributed to worn-out washers or damaged or loose parts. Understanding the problem will equip you better to address the repair and avoid future leaks.

Two main culprits of dripping bathtub faucet leaks are worn-out washers and damaged or loose parts in the tub spout.

Worn-Out Washers

Worn-out washers are a common cause of leaks in compression faucets. These rubber washers can become cracked, corroded, or heavily compressed over time, leading to leaks in double-handled bathtub faucets. To fix a leak caused by a worn-out washer, you’ll need to disassemble the faucet handle, remove the old washer, and replace it with a new one.

This process will be detailed further in Section 4.1.

Damaged or Loose Parts

In addition to worn-out washers, damaged or loose parts such as O-rings and valve stems can also cause leaks in a bathtub faucet handle. These components may become loose or damaged over time, leading to leaking water.

To fix a leaking faucet handle caused by damaged or loose parts, you’ll need to tighten or replace the affected components. Section 4.2 will delve into this repair process.

Preparing for the Repair

A person preparing to repair a bathtub faucet

Having identified your leaky bathtub faucet’s cause, prepare for the repair. First, gather the necessary tools and replacement parts. Hardware stores, home centers and plumbing parts distributors are the places to look for replacement parts. Here, you will find the exact match for what you need. Be sure to bring the existing parts with you to match the correct replacements.

Next, follow these steps to turn off the water supply to the bathtub faucet and prepare for the repair:

  1. Rotate the handle of the main water shut-off valve clockwise or the knife-style handle rightward to turn off the water supply.
  2. Turn the bathtub faucet to the open position. This will help drain out the remaining water.
  3. To prevent small components like washers and bolts from falling down the tub drain during the repair, cover the drain with a towel.

Disassembling the Faucet Handle

A person disassembling a faucet handle

To fix your leaky faucet handle, disassemble it first. This will involve removing the cap and screw, as well as detaching the handle.

We’ll now go through each of these tasks step-by-step.

Removing the Cap and Screw

Unscrewing the cap off the bathtub faucet handle can be tricky. Use either a flathead screwdriver or butter knife to carefully pry it off. Make sure to be gentle since it is usually made of plastic or metal..

Once the cap is removed, use a Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew the handle screw. Be gentle to avoid damaging the faucet handle or the screw.

Detaching the Handle

With the cap and screw removed, you can now detach the handle by pulling it straight out. If the handle is stuck due to corrosion, you may need to use a special puller tool to remove it.

To use a puller tool, insert the hooked end into the screw hole and rotate the post clockwise until the handle disengages. Be cautious not to damage the faucet stem while detaching the handle.

Repairing the Leaky Faucet Handle

A person replacing a washer in a faucet handle


You are now primed to repair your leaky faucet handle. Depending on the cause of the leak, you’ll either need to replace the washer or tighten or replace damaged parts.

We’ll delve into both these repair methods further.

Replacing the Washer

If your leaky faucet handle is caused by a worn-out washer, you’ll need to replace it. Start by cleaning the back of the stem assembly with a rag.

To remove the old rubber washer, use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the set screw. Install the new seat washer and, if necessary, clean the old screw and re-insert it using a seat wrench.

If a new screw isn’t included in the rubber washer replacement kit, you can still use the old one.

Delta Leaking Bathtub Faucet

If you've been experiencing issues with a Delta leaking bathtub faucet, you're not alone. A Delta leaking bathtub faucet can be an annoying problem, causing water wastage and potentially leading to more significant issues if left unaddressed. Leaks in your bathtub faucet can result from worn-out washers, damaged O-rings, or other internal components. It's essential to address this problem promptly to conserve water, prevent further damage, and restore the efficiency of your bathtub faucet. In this guide, we'll explore common causes of a Delta leaking bathtub faucet and offer solutions to help you resolve the issue and enjoy a leak-free bathing experience.

Tightening or Replacing Damaged Parts

If your bathtub faucet handle is leaking due to damaged or loose parts, you’ll need to tighten or replace the affected components. Inspect the O-rings and valve stems to determine if they are damaged or not properly secured.

To secure the stem, wrap Teflon pipe thread tape around it and then reattach the handle. If any parts are too damaged to be tightened, you’ll need to replace them with new ones.

Reassembling the Faucet Handle

A person reassembling a faucet handle

After repairing the leaky faucet handle, proceed to reassemble it. Secure the stem assembly by placing it back into the faucet body and tightening the brass nut.

Replace the escutcheon, either by pulling it off or unscrewing it, and then sliding it back into place. Fit the faucet handle over the faucet stem and secure it with the faucet screw. Before completing the process, ensure the escutcheon and stem assembly is properly aligned and functioning smoothly.

Lastly, reinsert the cap to complete the reassembly.

Testing for Success

A person testing a repaired faucet handle

Almost done! To verify the success of your repair, reactivate the water supply to your bathtub faucet, making sure the water flow of hot water is proper. Inspect the original area of leakage to ensure you’ve managed to fix a leaky bathtub and the issue has been resolved.

To test the faucet for leaks, turn it on for a few seconds and then shut it off. If there are no leaks, congratulations! You’ve successfully fixed your leaky bathtub faucet handle.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

A person calling a professional plumber

Although DIY repairs can save money and be effective, sometimes it’s preferable to call in a professional plumber. If you can’t identify the source of the leak or if your DIY attempts haven’t fully resolved the issue, a professional can help you avoid plumbing errors that could lead to further, more costly problems.

In some cases, the problem may be more complicated than you initially thought. For example, if you have difficulty accessing the valve cartridge due to the surrounding wall, you may need to cut away the surround using an oscillating multi-tool or hacksaw to gain access. In such instances, it’s wise to consult a professional plumber to ensure a proper repair.


In this guide, we’ve walked you through the steps to identify, repair, and test for success when fixing a leaky bathtub faucet handle. By following these steps, you can save money, gain valuable DIY skills, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. Remember, when in doubt or if the problem appears more complicated than anticipated, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber for help. Here’s to a dry and leak-free bathtub faucet handle!

Delta Kitchen Faucet Leaking

If you're experiencing a Delta kitchen faucet leaking issue, it's essential to address it promptly to prevent water waste and potential damage. A leaking faucet not only leads to increased water bills but can also damage your sink and cabinets. Fortunately, diagnosing and fixing a Delta kitchen faucet leak is often a manageable DIY task. In this guide, we will walk you through the common causes of leaks and provide step-by-step instructions on how to resolve them, ensuring your Delta kitchen faucet is back to its efficient, leak-free state in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is water leaking from my tub handle?

The leak around the tub handle is likely due to corrosion of the valve seat caused by minerals in the water. Contact a plumber to inspect the faucet and check the valve seat, as it may need to be replaced.

Why is my faucet leaking from the base of the handle?

It appears that my faucet is leaking from the base of the handle due to the O-rings becoming loose or worn out. To fix the problem, I will need to replace or tighten the O-rings by dismantling and reassembling the faucet.

How do you fix a leaky bathtub faucet?

To fix a leaky bathtub faucet, start by shutting off the water supply, removing the handle and its associated parts, replacing the rubber washer and/or faucet seat, and then reassembling the faucet. For more complex repairs, use a cartridge removal tool to take out the cartridge and replace it if needed.

What is the most common cause of a leaky tub faucet?

The most common cause of a leaky tub faucet is a worn-out washer, which is rubbed against the valve seat with every use. Replacing this part is relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot of money on your water bill.

How do I prepare for the repair of a leaky bathtub faucet handle?

Gather the necessary tools and replacement parts, turn off the water supply, and cover the tub drain with a towel to prepare for fixing a leaky bathtub faucet handle.

Ryan Copley

Ryan Copley

Having spent years participating in bathroom, kitchen, and home renovations, Ryan uses this experience to write informative blog posts on a wide variety of home renovation and kitchen topics.

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