How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (2024)

Jump to Specific Section

  • Gather Tools and Materials
  • Turn Off the Water Supply and Open the Faucet
  • Remove the Handle Cap, Handle and Faceplate
  • Remove the Locking Clip
  • Remove and Replace the Cartridge
  • Replace Other Parts and Test
  • Remove the Metal Stem in a Shower Faucet with Two Handles
  • Replace the Metal Stem if Needed

1

Gather Tools and Materials

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (1)

Before you can fix a leak, you first need to know a bit about shower faucet parts. Here are the major parts that you need to know:

  • Handle or knob: This is the part of the shower faucet that you turn to start and stop the water. Your faucet may have one or two handles or knobs depending on its design.
  • Cap: Some showers have this cover over the handle or knob mounting screw
  • Escutcheon: Also called the plate, this is the part that mounts on the wall and conceals the rest of the parts
  • Stem or cartridge: Located behind the escutcheon, the stem or cartridge controls how much water flows out of the shower head. Depending on its design, your shower will have either a stem with a long neck or a shorter cartridge.

Most shower faucet leaks have one of two causes. The washer hardware in the handle may be worn out, or the stem or cartridge may need replacing. This guide will teach you how to fix both problems.

You'll have to turn off your water supply before you fix a leaky shower faucet, so gather your tools and materials before you begin. That way, you won’t have to go without water longer than necessary.

For a leaky shower faucet with one handle, you’ll need to replace the cartridge in the valve. Use steps two through six to learn how to fix a leaky faucet with one handle.

If you can't tell which handle is leaking in a shower faucet with two handles, put your hand under the water to see if it's hot or cold. You may need to replace the washer in both handles, if both are leaking. Use steps two and three and then skip to steps seven through nine to learn how to fix a leaky faucet with two handles.

Most leaky shower faucets are easy to fix, but if problems persists, ask your local Home Depot plumbing associate for help or call a professional plumber.

Tip: The method for fixing leaks in a shower with one handle differs from the process for repairing one with two. Start with steps 2 and 3 and then follow steps 4 to 6 for one handle or steps 7 to 9 for two. Then, jump to step 10 to finish up.

2

Turn Off the Water Supply and Open the Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (2)

Turn off the water to the shower faucet. You may have to turn off the water to the entire house if you don't have a shut-off valve only for the shower.

Put a rag or old towel over the shower floor to protect it in case you drop any tools or parts. Make sure it covers the drain, too, so small parts can't fall in it.

Open the shower faucet or faucets, if you're working on a two-handled shower faucet, to release the pressure and let any water drain out.

3

Remove the Handle Cap, Handle and Faceplate

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (3)

If your shower handle has a cap over the screw in the center of the handle, pry it off with a flathead screwdriver and put it aside for later.Unscrew the handle and remove it.

Next, remove the decorative faceplate behind the handle and take it off the shower wall.You may have to pry it off. If it has threads, unscrew the faceplate from the wall and remove it.

Look behind the faceplate to find the metal sleeve over the shower valve. Pull it off or unscrew it.

If you are fixing a leaky shower faucet with two handles, stop here and skip to steps seven through ten.

4

Remove the Locking Clip

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (4)

If your shower valve has a locking clip, you'll see it on the top of the valve. Not all valves have locking clips. If yours does, pull it off with needle nose pliers or pry it off with a screwdriver.

5

Remove and Replace the Cartridge

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (5)

Put a deep well socket wrench over the metal stem of the faucet and use it to grip the nut at the base of the stem. Unscrew the nut and set it aside for later.

Loosen the cartridge with the wrench. It may come out when you pull the wrench away. If it stays in the valve, carefully pull it out with needle-nose pliers.

If you don't already have a new cartridge, take it to the store with you so you can buy an exact replacement. Need help identifying the cartridge? Find products fast with the image search in The Home Depot app. Snap a picture of the item you need and we'll show you similar products.

Put the new cartridge on the empty valve and tighten it with the deep well socket wrench.

6

Replace Other Parts and Test

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (6)

Replace the locking clip, if your valve had one. Then replace the valve sleeve, faceplate and shower handle and cover, if the handle had one.

Turn the water supply back on, open the faucet and let the water run. If you still have a leak, you may need to call a professional plumber.

7

Remove the Metal Stem in a Shower Faucet with Two Handles

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (7)

If you're repairing a leaky shower faucet with two handles, start by following steps one through three. Then follow steps seven through nine. Repeat steps seven through nine for each handle if both of them are leaking.

Put a deep well socket wrench over the metal stem of the faucet that is leaking. Use it to grip the valve nut as the base of the stem.

Unscrew the valve nut and put it aside for later. Remove the wrench and nut from the valve.

Using your fingers, carefully pull the metal stem out of the wall. Replace the old rubber washer with a new one. You may need to pull the old one off with needle-nose pliers.

Make sure the new washer is the same size as the old one and put on in exactly the same way the old one was positioned. Put a little silicone faucet grease on the washer for a better seal.

8

Replace the Metal Stem if Needed

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (8)

If the metal stem is worn or damaged, replace it with a new one designed for your faucet brand and model. Remember: you may have to do this for both handles.

Now that you know how to fix a leaky shower faucet, you can repair a common problem without calling a pro. Gather the tools and materials for the job and get ready to make repairs. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet (2024)
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