New hardware can update your family bath.

A Stuck Bathtub Spigot & Shower Knob

by Cecilia Harsch

Updating the family bath does not always require remodeling the entire room; you can make visible changes by replacing a few pieces of hardware, such as changing the glass shades on your vanity lights, framing your vanity mirror, installing a new vanity faucet, replacing your shower knob and bathtub spigot. Replacing the spigot and knob is often an uncomplicated task, but when these items become stuck you must employ a few specialty tools and products in order to remove them.

1 Turn off the main water supply where it enters your home. Depending on where you live, this could be in the basement or outside at the meter. Use a meter key if turning off the water at the meter.

2 Apply a liquid caulk remover to remove any caulking where the spigot touches the wall of the bathtub or the tiled wall. Allow the remover to stand undisturbed for at least 2 hours, or the length of time suggested on the product packaging. Use a putty knife to scrape the softened caulk from around the spigot and tub or tile wall.

3 Look beneath the spigot for a small opening near the wall to access the setscrew. Insert a hex key into the opening and turn it counterclockwise to loosen the setscrew if applicable. Spray penetrating oil into the opening if you encounter a stuck setscrew. Make sure to protect the wall of a fiberglass tub with an old towel and open a window for ventilation if you use the penetrating oil. Pull the spigot from the copper pipe protruding from the wall. Skip this step if you do not find a setscrew opening.

4 Wrap the old spigot in a cloth to protect the finish if you intend to reuse it. Fit a pipe wrench around the spigot. Turn the spigot counterclockwise to twist it from the copper pipe. If the spigot appears stuck, spray penetrating oil into the spigot opening. Wait at least 15 minutes before attempting to loosen the spigot. Take care when turning the spigot to ensure you do not bend the copper pipe protruding from the wall. You may need to apply additional penetrating oil to dissolve any built-up corrosion keeping you from rotating the spigot. You can insert a heavy-duty screwdriver or the handle of a hammer into the spigot opening to provide additional leverage to rotate the spigot and remove it from the pipe.

5 Access the screw holding the shower knob to the stem by prying the decorative button from the knob center using the tip of a putty knife or a flat blade screwdriver. Remove the screw with a Phillips screwdriver. Apply penetrating oil to the screw head and wait at least 10 minutes if the screw refuses to rotate. Remove the screw holding the knob to the stem.

6 Insert a faucet handle-puller stem into the screw opening in the top of the shower knob. Slide the handle-puller arms beneath the bottom of the shower knob. Twist the handle of the handle-puller clockwise to remove the stuck shower knob.

Items you will need

  • Meter key
  • Liquid caulk remover
  • Putty knife
  • Assorted hex keys
  • Penetrating oil
  • Old towel
  • Cloth
  • Pipe wrench
  • Heavy-duty screwdriver or hammer
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Faucet handle puller

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images