While there are multiple bathtub faucets to learn about, there are two main types that everyone should be aware of if you’re doing a DIY faucet replacement. These include the slip-on spout and the screw-on spout, which is also referred to as the threaded spout.
But how to remove a tub spout without a set screw? Understanding the difference between these and how to accurately remove them without a set screw will make your renovations go smoother without damaging the tub or causing an accident.
What To Do Without the Set Screw (Quick Answer)
Removing the threaded tub spout that doesn’t have a set screw is easy because you’ll twist it off instead of loosening the screw to release it from the wall. You can try several methods, using everyday tools lying around the house.
What Is A Set Screw?
A set screw is a type of threaded screw used as a fastener when attaching two or more components together and keeping them in place. The key component of a set screw is that it is able to hold the parts together without relying on a nut.
In bathroom appliances like faucets and spouts, the set screw’s intended purpose is to hold down the spout to the sink or tub so that it doesn’t slip or move around.
When your components use a set screw, the removal will be quite straightforward. You will need to use a hex key or Allen wrench to loosen and unscrew it. However, not all faucets and spouts require a set screw and are fastened to their surface in different ways.
Using Screw-On and Slip-On Spouts
When learning how to remove a tub spout without a set screw, you’ll primarily work with a screw-on or slip-on spout.
A slip-on spout slips into place, and a set screw holds it in place. With a screw-on spout, you twist it into place. You’ll notice that the spout stays in place because it threads on the pipe fitting.
Because not every bathroom tub spout has a set screw attachment, it’s essential to know how to remove it without this tiny screw. If you were to try to grab a pipe wrench to pry a slip-on spout off, you could damage the plumbing and the actual fixture.
Keep reading for removal and installation techniques for these types of spouts that do not require the removal of a set screw.
Where Can I Find the Set Screw on a Tub Spout?
The set screw for a slip-on spout is typically under watch the spout. Unfortunately, unless you’re lying in the bathtub, it’s not always easy to locate. Therefore, it’s easier to use your fingers to feel around on the underside for the screw, usually where the faucet meets the wall.
This type of spout is easy to remove because once you unscrew the screw, the spout comes off with ease.
Threaded Tub Spouts
Another name for a screw-on spout is a threaded spout. Instead of having a screw, it simply twists off the pipe or nipple. It can be a rear-end threaded spout or a front-end threaded spout.
Types of Threaded Spouts
You can use a tub spout that’s front-end threaded if you have a valve with a shower diverter built into it or for a valve without a connecting shower.
The rear-end threaded tub spout is more convenient. You can connect it to stub out a nipple ½” or ¾” at the spout end using a bushing.
Spouts with rear threading are perfect for new construction or remodeling. Several units have a traditional diverter close to the wall or a special outlet attachment. It allows you to have a riser tub or a handheld showerhead if your shower is exposed.
You might come across a telescoping spout, also threaded, but it provides versatility for various applications because you can adjust it up to one inch at once. That leaves room for the wall, and you can attach this spout to a ½” or ¾” nipple using the same kind of bushing.
Removing a Tub Spout With No Set Screw
It’s pretty straightforward to remove a screwless bathtub spout. Ensure that you’ve turned off the water before you start this project.
It’s better to be on the side of safety when you attempt to do anything with the plumbing if you don’t want any hazardous accidents to occur. So here are three methods to try.
Use a Screwdriver or a Spackle Knife
If the spout is close to the wall and it’s challenging to dislodge, you might want to try a screwdriver or a spackle knife to get it loose. Follow these steps to safely remove the spout with these tools.
Find the Seam
The first thing you’ll do is inspect the bathtub spout. If it’s level against the wall, try to locate a seam where the spout touched the wall. You’ll usually be able to insert something in this space that can wriggle the spout away from the wall.
Insert the Tool
Take a screwdriver with a curve or a knife and gently force it into that seam. Apply gentle pressure that won’t damage the finish on the spout or the wall. Of course, use caution while using these tools so that you don’t unintentionally hurt yourself. Face the tools away from you while applying pressure.
Twist it and Pull it Off
Once you get the spout loose, try twisting it slightly and pulling it away from the wall. After you get it off, look around the area where you removed it, and see if you caused any damage.
The key is to be patient. Don’t expect to wedge the knife or screwdriver in and pop the spout off immediately. You might experience a bit of a back-and-forth before it finally comes off. Don’t yank it!
Use a Washcloth and an Adjustable Wrench.
If you try the first method and don’t get any results, consider using an adjustable wrench instead. Also, grab a washcloth so you don’t damage the finish on the tub spout.
Turn the Water Off
If you haven’t already, turn the water off to your bathroom before starting the project because you don’t want to cause flooding in case you make a mistake during the faucet removal process.
You’ll find two valves near the bathtub: hot water and cold water valves. Turn them both clockwise to shut off the water source (read here if there’s no shut off valve under your bathroom sink).
Remove the Tub Spout
Since you aren’t working with a set screw, there will be a nut attached. Before you can remove the spout, put a washcloth over the spout end, so you can keep it from getting scratched.
Use your wrench and take the nut off. Once you get it off, pulling the tub spout from the pipe should be easy. If it doesn’t seem to be budging, you can elicit the help of sturdy pliers.
Inspect for Damage
Once you get the spout away from the wall, check to ensure that you didn’t damage it in the removal process. You would have to replace the part if it got cracked or broken while you were removing it.
You might be able to use a sealant or an epoxy substance to patch it up, but it depends on the level of damage as to whether you can reattach it.
Use a Hacksaw
Lastly, try using a hacksaw if the wrench was also of no effect. The hacksaw is the more extreme solution, so take the necessary precautions. Here are the steps to help you through the process:
Grab a Fine-Toothed Hacksaw.
Using a hacksaw with fine teeth will be the easiest to control, and it’ll also lessen the chances that you can ruin your tub.
Put the Blade into the Spout
Place the hacksaw blade into the seam where the tub spout is against the wall. Saw through the seam slowly and carefully. Be patient—cutting through the caulk in this spot may take several tries.
Remove the Spout
Remove the spout from the tub. Please pay attention to the back of the spout as it may be sharp because of the sawing.
You can use sandpaper or a file to smooth down any edges that are too rough. Remember to apply silicone caulk or plumber’s putty around the base of the spout to avoid leaks.
If you’re trying to learn how to remove a tub spout without a set screw, it helps to watch a few videos or seek help from an experienced friend if you’re unsure you can do it.
Also, getting familiar with the components you are working with before trying to remove them will help you do it successfully. However, it is pretty simple, and there are multiple ways that you can get the job done.
The easiest method depends on the tools you have at your disposal and which kind of threaded spout you’re working with. Take the necessary precautions and get that spout off!