Tub and Shower Stem Compression Faucet Repair and Installation


Tub and shower faucets work much like sink faucets, but they are oriented horizontally rather than vertically and their parts are usually larger. A two-handle stem shower faucet has a stem with a washer that presses against a seat to seal off water. A three-handle unit adds a stemlike diverter to direct water up to the shower or down to the tub spout.

Getting the parts
Often leaks can be fixed simply by replacing the washers. Even if you need to replace the seats or stems, it's easier to repair than to replace an old shower faucet, because replacement requires opening the wall. If parts are hard to find, order them at a plumbing-supplies store.


An hour or two for most repairs

Screwdrivers, handle puller if needed, adjustable wrench or groove-joint pliers, stem wrench or seat wrench if needed

Shutting off water, dismantling a faucet, installing small parts

Shut off the water, close the tub stopper, and place a rag in the tub to catch any loose parts

Washers, O-rings, seats, new stems if needed

Step 1

Shut off the water. Turn on the faucet until the water stops running. To remove the handle pry off the decorative cap and remove the screw, using a hex wrench or screwdriver as needed. Lift off the handle.

Step 2

If the stem protrudes far enough past the wall surface, loosen it with an adjustable wrench or groove-joint pliers. For a recessed stem, use a stem wrench.

Step 3

If water seeps out around the handle, replace a worn packing washer or stuff thread packing around the stem and into the cavity behind the packing nut.

Step 4

If water drips out the spout or the showerhead, replace a worn washer with a new one that is exactly the same.

Step 5

If replacing the washer does not stop the leak or if washers wear out quickly, remove the seat with a seat wrench and replace it. Or grind the seat smooth with a seat grinder.

Comments (13)
hlo1457 wrote:

already asked the question,please reply with answer

8/12/2016 10:54:58 AM Report Abuse
hlo1457 wrote:

if yhe stem wrench doesnt'supply the torque necessary to remove stem nut ,use a 8inchplumbers wrench to the end of the seat wrench tool ?

8/12/2016 10:53:15 AM Report Abuse
tmh9713 wrote:

this did not help at all. Anyone can take them apart but how do you put the stems for cold and hot water back together?

11/28/2014 09:54:37 PM Report Abuse
brendamurphy303 wrote:

help please 3s-10h/c

7/1/2011 01:52:46 PM Report Abuse
brendamurphy303 wrote:

delta faucet

7/1/2011 01:51:07 PM Report Abuse
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