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How to Remove a Tub Spout: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Remove a Tub Spout

Removing a tub spout is a common DIY project that can be accomplished with some basic tools and a little bit of know-how. Whether you’re replacing an old, worn-out spout or upgrading to a new design, understanding the process is essential for a smooth and successful project. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of how to remove a tub spout, along with some tips to make the job easier and avoid common pitfalls.

How to Remove a Tub Spout

Tools and Materials You Will Need:

  • Adjustable wrench or channel-lock pliers
  • Screwdriver (flathead or Phillips, depending on the type of screw)
  • Allen wrench (if applicable)
  • Plumber’s tape (Teflon tape)
  • Clean cloth or rag
  • Penetrating oil (optional, for stubborn spouts)
  • Replacement tub spout (if installing a new one)

Step 1: Identify the Type of Tub Spout

Before you begin, it’s important to identify the type of tub spout you have. There are two common types:

  1. Threaded (Screw-On) Spout: This type screws onto a threaded pipe.
  2. Slip-On Spout: This type slides onto a pipe and is secured with a set screw.

Step 2: Turn Off the Water Supply

Although removing a tub spout typically does not require turning off the water supply to the entire house, it’s a good idea to turn off the water at the faucet. This prevents accidental water flow during the removal process.

Step 3: Remove Any Caulking

If there is caulking around the base of the tub spout, use a utility knife to carefully cut through it. This will help to prevent damage to the wall and make the spout easier to remove.

Step 4: Remove the Tub Spout

how to remove a tub spout 2

For Threaded (Screw-On) Spouts:

  1. Grip the Spout: Use an adjustable wrench or channel-lock pliers to grip the base of the spout. Be careful not to damage the spout or the pipe behind it.
  2. Turn Counterclockwise: Slowly turn the spout counterclockwise to unscrew it. If it’s stuck, you can use a bit of penetrating oil to help loosen it. Be patient and apply steady pressure to avoid breaking the pipe.
  3. Remove the Spout: Once the spout is loose, continue turning it by hand until it comes off the pipe.

For Slip-On Spouts:

  1. Locate the Set Screw: Look underneath the spout for a set screw. This is usually a hex screw that requires an Allen wrench to remove.
  2. Loosen the Set Screw: Insert the Allen wrench into the screw and turn it counterclockwise to loosen it. You don’t need to remove the screw entirely, just loosen it enough to slide the spout off.
  3. Slide Off the Spout: Gently pull the spout straight off the pipe. If it’s stuck, you can wiggle it slightly to help loosen it.

Step 5: Clean the Pipe

Once the spout is removed, clean the pipe with a clean cloth or rag to remove any debris, old plumber’s tape, or residual caulking. If there is any rust or mineral buildup, you can use a wire brush to clean it off.

Step 6: Inspect and Prepare for New Spout Installation

Inspect the pipe for any damage or corrosion. If everything looks good, you can proceed to install the new spout. If you’re not installing a new spout immediately, you may want to temporarily cover the pipe to prevent any debris from getting inside.

Additional Tips for a Successful Removal

  • Be Gentle: Apply steady, even pressure when removing the spout to avoid damaging the pipe or the wall.
  • Use Proper Tools: Ensure you have the right tools for the job. Using the wrong tools can make the job harder and increase the risk of damage.
  • Check for Hidden Screws: Some spouts may have hidden screws that are not immediately visible. Double-check to ensure you’ve located all the screws before attempting to remove the spout.
  • Consider Safety Gear: Wearing safety gloves can protect your hands from sharp edges or slipping tools.

When to Call a Professional

While removing a tub spout is generally a straightforward task, there are situations where it might be best to call a professional plumber:

  • Stubborn Spouts: If the spout is extremely difficult to remove and you’re concerned about damaging the pipe, a professional can help avoid costly repairs.
  • Damaged Pipes: If you notice any damage or corrosion on the pipe, a plumber can assess the situation and make necessary repairs or replacements.
  • Complex Plumbing Systems: If your plumbing system is complex or if you’re unsure about any step in the process, a professional can ensure the job is done correctly and safely.


Removing a tub spout is a manageable DIY project that can be completed with basic tools and a bit of patience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully remove your old tub spout and prepare your bathroom for a fresh new look. Whether you’re replacing a worn-out spout or upgrading to a new design, taking the time to do the job right will ensure a professional-looking result and a functioning tub for years to come.

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