Bathtub Parts You Should Have On Hand Just In Case

photo showing bathtub parts including the metallic soap dish, shower and faucet knobs

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The bathtub is one place you may take for granted. Being able to enjoy a bath for hygienic purposes as well as relaxation is vital for a healthy body. However, even bathtub parts are susceptible to breaking down or could use replacement on occasion.

Most bathtub parts are affordable and easily accessible at your local hardware store. If a specific part needs replacing, chances are that you can fix it yourself instead of having to call a professional. When you need to replace a part, it may also prove a good excuse to upgrade the look and feel of your bathtub.

Sometimes, the standard parts that make your tub function can look a little lackluster and could use a little sprucing up.

Common Bathtub Parts That Break Or May Need Replacement

Thanks to repetitive use, age, and the risk of corrosion from water damage, hair, and other debris, individual parts for your bathtub may eventually require replacing.


bath tub handles

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The handles to turn on the tap for a bathtub may vary; your tub may be outfitted with two separate knobs to control the temperature and force of water that comes through. Other bathtubs may have a single fixture with only one knob to turn the water on and off, as well as set the temperature of the water.

If you are looking for a simple way to update the look and feel of the handles for your bathtub, you can find a plethora of handle types at your local plumbing or hardware store.

Handles are relatively inexpensive depending on their materials. If you end up having to replace the handles, you can choose from clear snap on faucet handles to lever style handles in a mirror polish. You can enjoy a lot of freedom with the aesthetics of a set of handles, which is sold singly or in a pair.

There are also handle kits available for purchase at retailers, so you have all the parts necessary to install a new set of handles, depending on the style of your toilet and tap.


Faucet valve for hot water

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If your bathtub has a separate hot and cold valve, the equipment underneath is similar to washer-type faucets. Depending on the age of a bathtub, and the frequency of its use and cleaning, the valve may eventually need replacing.

Stem-type valves are usually in older bathtub models which have a separate faucet handle for hot and cold.If the valve assembly was not installed correctly in your bathtub, you might be leaking money and contributing to water waste. If the rubber washers and gaskets within a valve assembly are in a deteriorated condition or have become loose, they are often the culprit behind most leaks.

In case of a leak, you may want to have rubber washers or gaskets available to fit a leaky valve stem. O-rings, seals, washers, and gaskets do wear out. Sometimes the connections within a valve are not secure and can leak because of improper installation or due to old age.

However, at times you will have to replace the entire valve. If you don’t feel comfortable with a DIY fix or replacement of the valve, you can feel free to call a plumbing professional to be of assistance.

Rubber Washers/ O-Rings

There is no excuse not to keep a bunch of different rubber washers or o-rings around your home. These are inexpensive parts that apply to your bathtub, as well as your bathroom and kitchen sink. Sometimes the one reason certain parts within a tub are loose and not working their best is that they lack a rubber washer, or the washer has deteriorated over time.

When selecting rubber washers or o-rings, you’ll want to know the measurements of your bathtub spout, and the specifics behind bathtub handles. Overall, it is helpful to keep rubber washers and o-rings of varying sizes at hand. Plus, many rubber washers and o-rings are useful for easy fixes for bathroom sinks as well.

Without a washer or o-ring, individual pieces for your bathtub and other fixtures will not maintain the seal and tightness required to perform at their best. Loose parts can let water in, contribute to faster corrosion or rotting from water damage, and can be downright frustrating to discover.

Before you pick up washers, keep in mind that there are different types that your bathtub may need, especially in the case of repairing a valve stem.

Nuts & Screws

Sometimes the smallest parts within a kit for a valve set, or other parts for your bathtub can get away with you. You won’t want to find yourself endlessly scrambling to retrieve a small part that has managed to slip out of your hands, or even worse, fall down the drain of a tub during an installation or fix.

You should make sure to also keep a range of varying types of screws and nuts just in case. You’ll want to have a seat washer screw, packing nuts, and small screws to affix your spout as needed.


You will want to make sure that your tub doesn’t end up releasing water onto the floor if it becomes overfilled. One essential part that prevents leaks and overflowing tubs is the gasket. The gasket is attached to the drain and located behind the faceplate cover for the drain.

If a gasket loses its watertight seal because of improper installation, corrosion, or damage, you may find your tub leaking water. Overtime gaskets can become loose, crack, or rot away. Gaskets and sealers are must-have parts for your bathtub that will see a lot of replacement, primarily if there is a lack of routine maintenance.

When installed correctly and given proper attention, a gasket should have a shelf-life of about ten years before it may need replacing.

Face Plate

Most bathtubs either have a drain lever with a faceplate, or there is a faceplate cover in place in case of an overflow of water.

Changing the faceplate in a bathtub is a simple and inexpensive way to change the look of your tub and bathroom. You can feel comfortable changing the faceplate in your bathtub, as it usually calls for you to loosen up a few screws and switch out the old plate for the new.


Another easy fix-up for a bathtub is changing out the spout. If the look and feel of your bathtub spout leave you feeling worried about your bathroom’s look and feel, there may be a good reason why. A corroded or flakey finish on a spout because of wear and tear is not aesthetically pleasing.

If the bathtub could use some updating, starting with the spout is a good place.

Having a more decorative spout with a modern and clean look may be something worth having on hand when the desire to execute a DIY project around the bathroom pops up.

Bathtubs that are a shower bath combination have a spout with a diverter. The diverter is responsible for stopping the flow of water to the spout and sends the water up to the showerhead.

Before picking up a new spout or two for your tub, you should break out a flashlight to investigate the type of spout already affixed to your bathtub.

A spout that has a small screw on its underside indicates a slip-on tub spout that has a set screw. If there is no screw underneath the spout, the spout is a threaded style. You can divulge how to remove a threaded style spout with a counter-clockwise twist, to see how the threads are aligned.

If there is a crack or corrosion I the threads that connect the spout to the main water pipe, you may see dripping water trickling down around where the spout is mounted. Even worse, leaking or dripping water inside the wall can cause unseen damage, which may require a plumber to come in and assess and fix.

Drain/Drain Kit

The drain of a bathtub may be replaced as needed, as you don’t have to settle for the drain setup that comes standard with your tub. Specific styles of drains may not be the best fit for your tub use, especially if loose hairs are frequently ensnaring it from washing hair in the bathtub.

A working drain is just as critical to the function of a bathtub as it’s valve set-up and affixed faucet. A bathtub is merely no good if the water can flow into the bathtub smoothly, but It has nowhere to go or is slow to drain.

Depending on your aesthetic taste and budget, it is handy to keep drains or a drain kit around if it needs to be changed out.

bathtub with a towel

When It’s Time To Call A Professional For Installation

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Even if you decide to call a professional plumber to help with the installation of parts for your bathtub, it is still helpful to have parts on hand. There are times when you can successfully attempt to fix or replace parts to your bathtub. And other times a professional will be happy to install the components you already have on hand, provided they fit your bathtub, saving you money toward costs and labor.

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