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Tub Spout Leaking From the Back | Fixing Solutions!

Tub Spout Leaking From the Back (A Complete Guide)

A leaky faucet can be pretty irritating and the noise of that drip can be overwhelming at times, especially at night. Also if there is any leakage there will be water waste making your bills go up. So if you can find the right cause of that leak you can fix it yourself and save money on the new spout you were about to buy. 

If your spout is leaking from the back that’s probably because of the rust and buildup of the pipe nipple that’s weakening the spout joint. So just take out your spout and scrub the pipe nipple with sandpaper or steel wool to take off the rust and buildup. Then just reinstall the spout as usual. They will be gone by now. 

Like this, you can fix other types of leaks that can happen when you have a hard water supply in your home. So it will be helpful if you read all about those leaks from this article. 

Tub Spout Leaking From The Back? Detailed Guide

This can be a problem of faulty installation that can be avoided while you are installing the spout. When plumbers install a new spout it is mendacity to clean the pipe thread nipple where the spout is going to sit. Otherwise, the thread is going to lose over time and cause leaking. 

  • Use steel wool or sandpaper and clean the rug 
  • Wet the pipe thread with the dry cloth and the surrounding area nicely
  • Then use the steel wool to scrub the pipe and the thread nicely so that all the rust falls off and the pipe looks new and smooth
  • Then install the spout accordingly
  • Use a silicon or caulk sealant at the end of the spout where it meets the wall and apply a thin bead of the sealant and clean the excess
  • This way your spout will not leak from the back anymore

Different Types Of Tub Spout

If you are purchasing tub spouts it is very important to know how many types are available and what are your options. You also want to make sure you get the right connection option for a spout with or without a diverter. That’s why this list is presented for you down below:

Spout type Description 
Slip-in spout A slip-in connection is intended for use with regular or half-inch copper pipes coming out of the wall. It uses a rubber o-ring to seal off the connection from leaks and a retaining mechanism to prevent the spout from slipping or rotating. 
Threaded It has a nose connection with a threaded location in the nose of the spout where the water comes from. This generally requires a threaded pipe nipple or copper pipe with a soldered on the threaded adapter to protrude four inches from the wall so you can reach. 
Diverter spout There are different types of diverter spouts like normal diverter, pull down diverter, etc. these spouts work well when you have a two-in-one tub with a shower. They have a lift rod that can be pulled up or pushed down. 
Non-diverter spout As the name indicates these spouts do not have a diverter at all. Meaning it will not have a lift rod that allows free flow of the water.
Brass adapter spout These spouts are made of brass ducats, zinc, or plastic. Brass is the most sturdy spout and can be very expensive and heavy. 

Tub Spout Leaking When Water Is Off 

Don’t you just hate when you turn on your spout and then switch to your shower and there is still drizzle coming out of the spout? That’s because half of the water is being wasted and you need to fix it. 

  • Take out the set screw in your spout using an Allen wrench and then just pull it out
  • there can be a lot of builds inside it and the diverter is probably clogged up 
  • Clean the spout by putting it in a bag and pouring in vinegar to clean any buildup 
  • Before you reattach it to the pipe use Teflon tape to seal the connection tighter 
  • If it’s still leaking then you might have to replace it with a new spout

Water Leaking From Tub Spout When The Shower Is Off 

To fix a disturbingly leaking spout you’ll need rags, hex key/ wrench, replacement parts or ket, flathead screwdriver, and crescent wrench. In a two-handle spout,  there will be a handle, packing nut, cartridge, and base. So to fix it first turn on the cold water valve and check if the spout is still leaking. Then turn off the hot water valve. This way you’ll know which handle is leaking. 

Use a rag to close the drain to prevent the loss of small parts. Now depending on your faucet remove the set screw with a hex key or pry off the handle cap with a flathead screwdriver. Loosen the internal screw with a screwdriver. Loosen the packing nut with a crescent wrench. Remove the cartridge and dry off parts with a rag. 

Install a new cartridge or any other defective part. Reattach the packing nut and do not over-tighten it. Reinstall the spout with a set screw. Open valves. Allow water to run for a minute to check if there is still any leak. 

The Tub Spout Leaks Outback When The Shower Is On (6 Easy Step)

This problem is pretty common when there is a tub spout and shower combo and that happens when you turn the water on and you divert the valve; so you pull up the handle or you pull down to turn your shower on. Your shower might turn on but you still get water leaking out of your tub spout. There is an easy fix for that and you might not even need any tools for that depending on your spout type. This issue comes from the diverter option on your spout.

Step 1: Turn your spout to unscrew it and it will take several turns just pull it out. 

Step 2: If you see mineral deposits inside the spout then soak it in vinegar for a couple of hours until it’s fully clean. 

Step 3: Use a clean toothbrush to scrub the spout inside out. 

Step 4: Flush your spout with water to get all the gunk out 

Step 5: If you have a threaded connection then use new Teflon tape to wrap the thread and if you don’t then just reinstall the spout the way to take it off. 

Step 6: Check for any possible leaking that you should not have. But if there is still any leak you will need to change the spout or the faulty part 

Leaking Tub Spout When The Diverter Is Engaged 

  1. Just start by removing the spout by turning it counterclockwise until it comes off. Instead of replacing this with a brand new spout to save money, you can repair it
  2. So start by spreading those white prongs and pull up on the diverter knob. Once that comes off all the parts will come loose. So take a look at the tub spout and the washer 
  3. Clean any mineral deposits inside. If the surface inside the spout is not flat then take a file and lightly file that area to make it flat
  4. Rinse everything out and put everything back together. Put some silicone grease on the back of the washer 
  5. Clean off the pipe thread and apply new Teflon tape on the thread and screw on the spout in place 
  6. Pull the diverter knob up and down a few times to make sure the washer seats properly. If the repair didn’t work out you have to replace it with a new spot

New Slip-on Tub Spout Leaking From The Back

Leaks can happen even with new spouts because of faulty insulation. So you have to take the spout out again and reinstall it properly as we described down below:

  • Take a 5/32 Allen wrench and loosen the set screw and pull the spout out  
  • This way the pipe will be visible and if it is corroded this can be the problem for that leak
  • So use a clean cloth to wipe off any water on the pipe and clean any old sealant that was there
  • Take little halogen steel wool and keep scraping off the pipe to remove any buildup from the pipe
  • Now reinstall the spout the way it should be and use silicone sealant on the pipe so it seals any leak in the joint 

Tub Spout Leaking From The Set Screw 

Fixing a leaky bathtub spout is a fun and simple DIY project. If your spout is leaking from the set screw follow this procedure: 

Step 1: The set screw will be on the underside of the spout so you might need to turn your spout to easily unscrew it. For this job, you’ll need a towel, box cutter, sand cloth, Teflon tape, caulk or sealant, petroleum jelly, adjustable pliers, and soft cloth with rubbing alcohol. 

Step 2: Place a towel in the tub to help protect it. Now remove the spout by scoring the caulk with your box cutter and then turning the spout counterclockwise. Pliers can be used in the removal process if needed. Remove any old sealant residue. 

Step 3: Now wrap Teflon tape around both ends of the nipple threads three times in a clockwise manner. Thread the pipe into the 90- degree elbow within the wall. Turn clockwise until tight. 

Step 4: Thread the new tub spout onto the pipe and turn clockwise until the hand is tight against the wall. Then turn on the water to flush out any remaining dirt. Finally, apply a small amount of caulk in a color that coordinates with the tub. Excess caulk can be cleaned with water and a soft rag. 

How To Fix A Leaky Bathtub Faucet

  • Locate your home’s water main and turn it off. Release all the water inside the spout. Cover the drain. Usually when the tub faucet leaks it’s because of the corrupted diverter as it can not be closed properly because of the buildup
  • Unthread the faucet and soak it in a bowl of CLR for fifteen minutes. You will see bubbles inside and around the spout where the buildup is. It means the buildup is separating from the spout. After that use a toothbrush to scrub the spout nicely and rinse flush with water
  • Use steel wool to sand off the rust from the pipe thread all the way and make it smooth. Now you can proceed with reinstalling the faucet the right way

How To Replace Tub Spout Diverter 

Maybe your spouts are broken and when you pull up the diverter a bunch of water still comes through and it doesn’t go up through the shower or maybe your spouts are old and the diverter is not working anymore which means you need a replacement. So for that: 

Cut the caulk around your spout and the wall joint with a razor blade so you can take it out easily. This will break the seal off of the edge of the spout. Look underneath the spout and if there is any sort of screw there unscrew it with an Allen wrench

Take out your spout and clean the rest of the caulk from the pipe. Clean the pipe with steel wool so it doesn’t have any rust left. Now wrap new Teflon tape on the pipe thread. Usually, a diverter is a part that stops and redirects water flow inside the spout. So if you want to replace the diverter you have to replace the whole spout. 

To install the new spout according to its type; whether screw it on the pipe or attach it with a set screw. Apply a bead of caulk on the spout and wall joint to seal it. Clean any excess caulk around the rim and your replacement process is complete. 

How To Fill The Void Under The Bathtub 

Any void underneath the bathtub can be extremely irritating and creates a lot of noise whenever you step on it. Also, the tub can crack easily when there is a void underneath. So to fix it:

Step 1: Identify all the areas that seem hollow underneath and use colored tapes to mark them. Now use a small drill bit to drill holes in the marked areas. 

Step 2: Now use a foam spray and fill up all the voids. Let it sit for a day. Now clean off any excess foam from the surface. 

Step 3: Apply similar color paint on the holes to match up the rest of the tub color

How To Repair Delta Tub Spout Diverter 

This kind of diverter works by using pressure applied to a flexible rim rubber gasket within the diverter handle that forces the seal to block water from escaping to the tub and allows it to be redirected to the showerhead. Leaks are primarily caused by either of these two scenarios: 

  • The gasket over time can dry out from disuse like in a guest bathroom or 
  • The gasket develops a buildup of minerals that can result in cracks and begins to leak when used 

So to fix this problem:

  • Take out the spout by unthreading it or taking out the set screw. Use a bowl to pour CLR and dunk the spout in the solution for 15 minutes. Then take it out and scrub clean it with a toothbrush and fish with clean water to remove any existing rust
  • Remove the o-ring from the spout adapter and look for any damage or buildup. If the o-ring is corroded just change it. This way the leak can be stopped
  • Use steel wool or sanding cloth to clean out the pipe nipple where build-up is pretty possible. Clean all the rust, take out the old Teflon tape and clean any old caulk. Then just reapply the new Teflon tape and you can just reinstall the tub spout as it was

How To Remove Tub Spout Without Set Screw 

Those spouts which do not have a set screw are attached with a threaded connection to the pipe and you will just need to turn the spout counterclockwise to take it out. It may take several turns to fully take it out. If the tub spout is old then it might be stuck and won’t turn.

Use a thin cloth and an adjustable wrench and fix it on the spot. Now put some pressure and spin the wrench so the spout starts to unscrew. This way you can remove any tub spout without a set screw. 

Final Verdict 

Leaky tub spouts can be pretty disturbing and waste a lot of water whenever you are using them. So if you study the causes of a leaky spout and the possible solutions it can be a shut-and-done case for you and you won’t even need to spend hundreds of dollars for this simple task.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Is My Tub Spout Leaking From The Back?

This is a pretty common problem with tub spouts and that is not a fault for the spout in most cases. The reason why this happens is, that when you are installing your spout you almost forget to clean the pipe nipple which has a lot of mineral buildups and that makes the joint loose. So take out your faucet and clean the pipe with steel wool and then install your spout with a bead of caulk sealant. 

How Do You Stop A Leaky Tub Spout?

If your tub spout is leaking it is most probably because of the build-up inside your spout that you didn’t even know existed. So just take out your spout and dunk it in vinegar for several hours and rub it with a toothbrush inside out to fully clean any buildup. Then reinstall the spout and your leak will be no more. 

How Do You Replace An O-ring On A Tub Spout?

Usually, when there is lots of build-up inside the tub spout it damages several parts of the spout like the o-ring. If the o-ring in your faucet is damaged you can find it in the stores or can order online depending on the spot type. When you take out the spout you’ll find the o-ring on the top of the spout adapter. So take it out and simply replace it and reinstall the spout. 

How Do You Seal A Slip-On A Tub Spout?

To seal a tub spout you have to apply a thin bead of silicone or caulk on the end of the pipe nipple and then install the spout or you can also install the spout first and then apply the seal where it meets with the wall. 

Do You Caulk Around The Tub Spout Pipe?

Yes! It is necessary to apply sealant on the spout pipe so it seals that joint and stops water from leaking. 

Why Is My Bathtub Leaking From The Bottom?

There can be lots of possible reasons why your bathtub is leaking such as poor bathtub installation, cracks on the tub surface, a faulty drain system, plumbing issues underneath the bathtub, etc. So before you jump to a conclusion inspect the main reason and solve it with a professional’s help. 

Should You Seal Around The Tub Spout?

Yes, you must seal around the tub spout because over time there will be buildup on the pipe thread and it will start leaking disturbingly. Where you can apply sealant at the end of the pipe or over the spout where it touches the wall. 

How Do You Tighten A Tub Spout?

This depends on the type of spout you have if it’s a slip-on spout you need to tighten the set screw to make the spout connection stronger. And if the spout is a threaded one then apply Teflon tape on the threads 2 to 4 times clockwise to make the spout joint stringer. 

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Leaky Bathtub Faucet?

As this type of work is a DIY project, anyone can do it at home without calling the plumber. So in, that case you, won’t even need to spend that much money. Overall the expense depends on the type of repair you are doing. For extensive repairs, it, can cost you $300 to $400 and even up to $1000. And the cheapest cost might be $20 to $30. 

How Do You Fix A Leaking Tub Diverter Valve?

Usually tub, diverter valves leak because of mineral buildup inside the spout which restricts the diverter to not closing properly. So there remains water inside which keeps leaking even if you don’t turn on the spout. 

Can The Shower Valve Leak Behind The Wall?

Yes, it is very much possible if the joint is not sealed properly and if there is the excess buildup on the pipe nipple. Also, faulty installation can cause shower valves to leak.