How To Remove a Tub Spout That’s Stuck

Perhaps you’ve decided it’s time for an upgrade in your bathroom, or maybe the tub spout just isn’t working the way that it should. Plumbing work can be tricky, especially when the fixture is stuck and isn’t cooperating.

Tub spouts, in particular, can be challenging to remove. If you can’t get your bathroom tub spout off, keep reading for a quick guide.

There are many different brands available, including Delta, Moen, and American Standard, just to name a few. If you need replacement parts, you will need to know the brand of the tub spout in order to purchase the correct parts to replace the faulty ones.

Types Of Tub Spouts

To start, you need to figure out what kind of tub spout you have. There are two main types: slip-on spouts and screw-on spouts. Slip-on faucets have a set screw near the bottom of the tub spout. Slip-on tub spouts fit onto a ½ inch copper pipe. They do not need to be threaded on.

Types Of Tub Spouts

On the other hand, screw-in (threaded) tub spouts do not have set screws. They simply twist on and off of the attachment, known as the nipple or the pipe.

When To Replace A Tub Spout

As with most things, tub spouts begin to wear out after years of usage. Faucets that have been around for longer than sixteen years may start to wear out. The washers in the tap may lose their flexibility over time, resulting in a leaking spout.

If your bathtub is leaking, it may be time to replace the tub spout. However, tub spouts tend to be difficult to remove, especially old and corroded models.

How To Remove A Stuck Tub Spout

It is probably safe to assume that you have already attempted to remove the tub spout if you are reading this, only to find out that the fixture won’t unscrew and refuses to budge. In that case, it’s time for some troubleshooting.

What you’ll need:

  • Wrench pipe
  • Towels
  • Allen wrench
  • Heat safe gloves
  • Hairdryer

Check The Faucet

To start, check the faucet itself. If you are working with a slip-on tap, locate the set screw. If it doesn’t have a set screw, you likely have a screw-in faucet. In that case, jump to the heading labeled, “How To Remove A Tub Spout Without A Set Screw.”

Turn Off The Water Supply

Before you continue, you need to do a few things to prevent a mess. Start by shutting off the water supply. Do this by turning off the water supply valve. You may need to turn off your home’s main water supply, so make sure everyone in the household knows before you turn it off to avoid surprising anyone.

Check that you have turned off the water flow to the tub you are working on by turning on the water. There may be some water that will drip out of the spout, but there shouldn’t be much. Once there is no longer water coming from the spout, you’ll need a few towels.

Use a clean towel to cover the drain. This will prevent unpleasant odors from permeating the air and help you refrain from losing parts down the drain. Now that you’re done with that, you can get started on removing the stubborn tub spout.

Remove The Spout

Since you turned off the water supply and the towel is in place over the drain, it is time to remove the spout. Use the Allen wrench to remove the set screw. Do so by turning the screw clockwise. Continue until the faucet begins to loosen.

If the faucet doesn’t want to cooperate and won’t come loose, twist the tap sideways. Use steady pressure while pulling it. Use enough force to remove the tap, but ensure that you don’t use too much power that you leave permanent damage on the surface.

Now, if your attempts have not proved fruitful and the spout still stubbornly remains stuck, there is another method you can try.

Hairdryer Method

Use your regular hair dryer to heat the faucet. Although this method is a little bit unusual, sometimes it will do the trick. You are going to need your heat-safe gloves as the faucet may burn you. Be very cautious while working with electricity.

The heat may cause the faucet to expand as it increases in temperature. After you have heated the tap, let the temperature drop slightly until it is safe to work with. Use the previous techniques of twisting with constant pressure to remove the tub spout. Ensure that you complete the process gently and carefully so you don’t damage the fixture or plumbing behind it.

How To Remove A Tub Spout Without A Set Screw

Modern Bathroom

Faucets that don’t have a retaining screw will need to be removed differently. If your twist-off tub spout is stuck, then you’ll need a clean towel and a pipe wrench or pliers. Remember to turn off the water supply before removing the tub spout.

Before you try to remove the faucet, check for caulk or copper threaded fitting. If there is caulk around the base of the spout, carefully scrape away the excess before attempting to twist the tap. If there is copper threaded wiring, you’ll need to snip them before removal. Use a wire tubing cutter to do the job.

Once you have loosened any caulk or copper threaded wiring, you can remove the spout. To do so, wrap the clean towel around the fixture. This will help protect the tap during removal. Using the pipe wrench or pliers, carefully twist the spout clockwise to release it.

With spouts connected by copper threaded fitting, you’ll need to exercise caution. Be careful while removing the tub spout off the copper piping and ensure you don’t loosen any pipe connections in the wall. 

You can also try using WD-40 to remove stubborn screw-in tub spouts. Use the extension straw that comes on the can of WD-40 and place it into the fixture of the tub. Thoroughly coat the interior of the faucet, then give it about ten minutes. Use the pliers or pipe wrench over top of the towel to carefully twist the spout. You’ll need to use steady pressure while turning to encourage movement.

How To Remove A Stripped Tub Spout

Over time, tub spouts begin to wear down, causing the interior of the fixture to become stripped. If your tub spout just spins freely when you try to remove it, you likely have a stripped tub spout.

Removal of a stripped tub spout isn’t tricky. Ensure that you have turned off your water supply before beginning. Simply turn the tub spout in a counterclockwise motion. You will need to pull slightly as you turn the fixture to engage any remaining stripped threads on the tub spout. Once you remove the spout, discard it and replace it.

Many times when a tub spout spins freely, the pipe’s threaded adapter may be damaged as well. Clean the area thoroughly to evaluate the threads. If they appear to be damaged, replace the pipe’s end as well before reinstalling the replacement.

How To Remove A Corroded Tub Faucet

How To Remove A Corroded Tub Faucet

Corroded tub faucets can be tricky to remove, but many of the same techniques will work. You’ll need a few things, including:

  • Wire brush
  • Hairdryer
  • Penetrating oil
  • Wrench

Turn off the water supply before beginning. Before you try to remove the corroded faucet, scrub away as much of the corrosion as you can using a wire brush. Once you have removed some of the buildup, use a wrench to try to turn the faucet. If that doesn’t work, try using a hairdryer.

Once you have heated the faucet, attempt to turn it using the wrench. The heat on the corroded section should help loosen or break the bond that the corrosion holds. You can also use penetrating oil to try to help loosen the stuck tub spout.