A new faucet can help beautify a bath.

How to Hook Up a Single-Lever Tub & Shower Faucet

by Tom Dennis

Modern showers add value and comfort to your home. Replacing a corroded or leaking shower faucet with a new single-lever shower faucet will add beauty to your bath, help preserve your home and help the environment by using less water.

Turn off the water supply to the existing tub and shower faucet. Shut off the main water supply to the house, if necessary. Open the shower faucet to drain the water pressure. Detach the old faucet from the shower wall by removing the handles, spout, shower head, shower arm and any cover plates.

Cut the water pipes to the existing tub and shower faucet. Cut copper pipes, using a copper-tubing cutter. Unscrew steel pipes, using a pipe wrench. Cut plastic or Pex pipes, using a hacksaw or a plastic pipe snip.

Adjust the hole in the shower wall if necessary. Make the proper sized hole in the shower wall, using a power drill and a hole saw. Check the manufacturer's specifications that come packaged with the new faucet to determine the size and placement of both the hole for the faucet handle and the hole for the tub spout pipe.

Attach push-and-lock connectors to the new faucet. Push-and-lock connectors are pipe fittings that require no soldering or gluing; simply push the pipe pieces into the push-and-lock fittings. Apply Teflon tape or thread sealant to the threads on the faucet inlets and outlets. Tightly screw the push-and-lock adapters onto the shower faucet body, using a pipe wrench or water-pump pliers. Use adapters that are threaded on one end and push-and-lock on the other end.

Cut replacement pieces of new pipe the proper length so that the new faucet lines up and will stick through the hole in the shower wall. Push the new pieces of pipe into the push-and-lock fittings on the new faucet. Push-and-lock fittings are easily installed simply by inserting the pipe end about 1/2 inch into the fitting until the pipe stops. Ensure that the pipe is pushed into the fittings all the way. Attempt to pull the pipe back out of the push-and-lock fitting; it should not pull out.

Attach the new piping and faucet to the existing piping using more push-and-lock connectors. If the existing house plumbing is steel use a push-and-lock adapter designed to transition from threaded steel pipe to smooth plastic or copper pipe. If necessary, run a new pipe up the wall to the shower head. Attach a new push-and-lock shower head connector at the top of the pipe. Nail a piece of wood blocking between two of the framing studs and secure the shower head connector to the wood brace with screws. Install the tub spout pipe through the spout hole in the tub wall. This will require attaching a 90-degree elbow onto the pipe to make the turn through the wall. Use a push-and-lock elbow here.

Push the center of the faucet body through the hole in the shower wall. Attach the cover plate with the supplied screws that came with the faucet. Attach the faucet control handle to the faucet body. Nail a wooden bracket between framing studs just below the faucet. Secure the pipes to the wooden bracket with plastic pipe hangers. Fasten the hangers to the wood with nails or screws.

Install the tub spout, shower arm and shower head. Put Teflon tape or thread sealant around the threads on the shower arm to prevent leakage. The tub spout should have a set screw that secures it to the tub spout pipe.

Turn the new faucet to the "Off" position. Slowly turn the water supply back on while checking the piping carefully for any leaks. Turn the new faucet on and run water until all air is bled out of the pipe. Turn off the faucet and check for leaks again.

Items you will need

  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Power drill
  • Hole saws
  • Water pipe
  • Copper tubing cutters
  • Pipe wrench
  • Water-pump pliers
  • Teflon tape
  • Pipe thread sealant
  • Push-to-lock fitting adapters
  • Plastic or Pex pipe


  • When choosing a new shower faucet, select one that makes the pipe connection process the easiest. Most retail packaged tub and shower faucets are manufactured with threaded-type pipe connections which allow you to use push-and-lock connectors.
  • Check ahead of time to ensure that you have the proper push-and-lock connectors. Different types of pipe can require different types of connectors. The push-and-lock connectors will connect to either copper, Pex or plastic pipe. Push-and-lock fittings are available in all types of needed fittings, elbows, couplings, tees, etc.
  • Use an old piece of carpet to kneel on while working.


  • Check local building codes to take out any required permits.

About the Author

Tom Dennis has been writing technical as well as faith-related articles and curriculum since 2008. He has been a licensed plumber for more than 30 years with much experience in home projects. Dennis holds a Master of Religious Education degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

Photo Credits

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