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Fixing Tub & Shower Faucets

Diverter valves similar to compression or cartridge

A three-handled faucet type has two handles to control hot and cold water, and a third handle to control the diverter valve and direct water to either a tub spout or a shower head.

The separate hot and cold handles indicate cartridge or compression faucet designs. If a diverter valve sticks, if water flow is weak, or if water runs out of the tub spout when the flow is directed to the showerhead, the diverter needs to be repaired or replaced.

Most diverter valves are similar to either compression or cartridge faucet valves, says the experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Olympia. Compression-type diverters can be repaired, but cartridge types should be replaced.

Mr. Rooter Tips to Share

Tip #1 Two-handle and single-handle types use a gate diverter that is operated by a pull lever or knob on the tub spout.

Tip #2 Although gate diverters rarely need repair, the lever occasionally may break, come loose, or refuse to stay in the UP position.

Tip #3 To repair a gate diverter set in a tub spout, replace the entire spout.

Fixing a One-Piece Faucet

Tip #1 Apply a ring of plumber's putty around the base of the faucet body. (Some faucets use a gasket that does not require plumber's putty - read the manufacturer's directions carefully.)

Tip #2 Insert the faucet tailpieces through holes in countertop or sink. From below, thread washers and locknuts over the tailpieces, then tighten the locknuts with a basin wrench until snug.

Tip #3 Wrap plumber's tape around the tailpiece threads, then attach the supply tube couplings and tighten until snug. Connect drain linkage, then attach handles and trim caps.

PLUMBING TRADE SECRET: Two-handle faucet has valves that are either compression or cartridge design. Single-handle faucet has valves that are cartridge, ball-type, or disc design.

Mr. Rooter iconAbout the Author: Vincent Sposari, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Olympia

Vinnie has been a trusted plumber since 1989 and a Mr. Rooter owner since 1992. With over 31 years to back him, Vinnie has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in plumbing repairs, drain cleaning, emergency plumbing, and more.