Tub Spout or Faucet won’t unscrew: How to get it REMOVED

Do you want to remove your old tub spout but it is stuck? Let’s get it loose. We assume that you have turned off the water (by closing the supply valve) by now. Make sure that the hot and cold water is turned off. Open up the tap to remove the water this is still in the pipes. Once this is drained, we can get started. 

The first step is to clean the tub spout. Dirt and dust can make it harder to remove the spout.


There are 2 main ways in which tub spouts are installed:

Hex nut in the tub spout

-With a small hex nut under the tub spout. This can be difficult to spot as this nut is quite small. You can use your phone to take a picture and check if there is a hex nut or not. To remove this, we will need an Allen or Hex key.

This is similar to the tool that you get at Ikea. This allows you to remove this nut. Simply insert the hex key in the nut and turn it counterclockwise. It can take some force to do this. You can add some lubricant (such as WD40) if it doesn’t turn easily.

After a while, the nut should move. Once you have removed the nut, you can simply slide the spout over the pipe and get it removed. At this point, you can install a new spout. 

If the nut is broken, the following video gives some tips to get it removed anyway.

 If this doesn’t work at all, you will have to use a hacksaw (as discussed below).

In some instances, there is a small hole in the spout but it is necessary to turn the spout around to remove it (see below). You can reach out to the manufacturer of your spout if you are uncertain what system is being used. The plumber that installed your spout might be able to help as well. 

Threaded pipe: turn the spout around

-The second way in which tub spouts are connected to the wall is with a threaded pipe. This means that you will have to turn the sprout counterclockwise to get it removed. Start by cutting the silicone away with a small pocket knife. Tiy can also use some floss to go between the spout and the wall. This can open up some space between the two that makes it easier to turn it around.

Then you can use a wrench to get hold of the sprout and turn it around. The bigger the wrench, the easier it should get as you can use the leverage or the wrench to get it unscrewed. Don’t be afraid to use quite a lot of force but don’t overdo it. Avoid bending the water pipe that connects to the spout. You can also insert the stem of a hammer into the spout opening to give it a nudge.

If this didn’t work, you can remove the tub diverter by removing the metal plate that is located around the pin inside the spout itself (as discussed in more detail here). This allows you to remove the shower diverter pin (this is the pin that regulates where the water goes).

You can then take a brush and use a product to remove rust and calcium. Let this sit overnight and try again the next day. Now you can try to turn the spout counterclockwise again to remove it. After a while, you should be able to slide it over the pipe and get it out!

If nothing works

If these steps didn’t work, we will have to bring out the hacksaw. This is for more advanced DIY’ers and most people should just call a plumber at this point. Wear appropriate protection when you do this (including gloves and goggles).

Protect your bath with towels to make sure that nothing gets damaged. Cut the lowest part of the spout. We don’t want to damage the pipe so the goal is to get access to the threaded pipe so that we can remove the spout more easily. Make sure that the top of the spout doesn’t fall in your bath as this can create cracks and break the tub.

Once you have cut the top of the spout, you can insert a screwdriver. This screwdriver can be used to turn the spout around and remove it from the pipe. Try not to damage the pipe as you might have to open up the wall to get the pipe fixed. 

If there are plastic parts, you can heat them up to remove them. Wear protection and make sure that you don’t damage the pipe. If you have PEX pipes, you should use a knife instead as PEX isn’t heat resistant.   

Once you get the old tub spout removed, you can install a new one. You have to add some Teflon tape over the threads and then you can screw the new tub on the pipe. Don’t overtighten the spout as it can break. The final step is to open up the water supply and test the new spout. 

You can use the same one as before as well if you give it a good clean. Hot water, soap and some vinegar can make it look brand new. Spouts are often made out of stainless steel so they can last a long time. 

To conclude, we can state that removing a stuck spout can take some work. Often it can be done by using the right tools and some power. You might have to use some cleaning products such as vinegar to get things moving. It is important that you clean your spout often and use a descaler if you have hard water.

Be careful that you don’t damage the pipe in the wall as you might have to open up the wall to get this fixed. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can always call a local plumber to get it fixed. Make sure to work with a licensed plumber so that you know that things will be up to code. 

Unscrewing a tub spout can be challenging. You can apply more force to the screws by leaning on them. You can also use another screwdriver to create more leverage. Plumbers know all these small tricks and this allows them to unscrew tub spouts without too many issues. In the following video, some of these tricks are discussed as well. You can use this during your next DIY project.

All of these small tricks add up and can make your work more efficient and save a lot of time. This is why plumbers can fix most problems quite fast. Getting the right tools can also make things a lot easier.

We have discussed what to do when the head of a screw is broken here.