Remodeling Tips and Reviews

Fixing a leaky tub or shower valve

Fixing a leaky tub or shower valve

Dec 29, 2011

2 rubber gaskets that go bad in the valves

That annoying drip is starting to really get under your skin in the bathroom. You think it might even be cutting into your sleep. But how to fix it? It’s not rocket science and paying a plumber $150 or more for such a simple fix is silly. The problem is almost always a rubber gasket seal at the base of the stem that controls the water flow. The stem screws up and down every time you run the water and that little nickel sized gasket wears down over a few years. Just enough to drip.

Before we start make sure and cut off your homes water supply, and drain the pressure out of the lines through a low lying valve such as an outside bib.

Replacing that Price Pfister Shower and Tub Valve

Typical Price Pfister two handled version with the leaky water

Open up the faucet valves first to drain out any pressure and water. Then you will need to remove the valve handle which is held on by a screw hidden under the hot or cold plate. Use a flat head to pop this out and then you will be able to see the screw behind it. Remove the screw and the handle and place them in a bowl. You will then see the base neck that is chrome plated and covers the valve stem. It should unthread from the valve with little effort by hand. Sometimes this and the handle can be glued on due to years of water deposits building up. You may have to replace all of this once you remove it if it becomes damaged. Amazon sells remodeling kits you can order that have the valves, seats and handles if this matches your set up( this is one of the most common shower tub valves in older homes).

Once the face is off you are left with the valve stem, which has to be unscrewed from the base valve behind the wall.  Usually you can do this with a cresent or adjustable wrench, but sometimes you need a special plumbers socket set that is designed to get into the wall and remove the old valves.

NOTE: Before trying to unscrew the stem, open the valve most of the way.

I would suggest you remove the face plates for both sides and replace both seals while you are doing this. Usually the hot side goes out first. Once the valve is out you can use a screw driver to remove the screw holding the rubber seal in place (size is 3/8L) . Then reinstall the valve ( we recommend using a little plumbers grease on the threads to loosen up the stem), plate and handle. Should take no more than an hour to do all this.

In rare cases you may find you still have a leak, this means the base seat inside the valve is corroded. You should get a flashlight and check while the valve is out and look at the seat. It is a small ring shape at the back of the valve hole and should be made of brass. If it is corroded or has build up on it, you should replace it. It likely will need a special seat wrench that looks like a large allen wrench.



  1. This service utilities specialized tools to strip away the existing grout between the tiles. Thanks for sharing this post.

  2. Brent /

    I have replaced the washer in my hot water tape and it still leaks, could this be the valve seat in the tap needs replace and if so how do i do that? is the a web page or video i can watch?

  3. montytx /

    Brent, If the valve is in good shape and you have replaced the washer then the seat is likely the culprit. It is visible in the back of the valve and usually needs a square shaped seat removal tool to remove it. The tool is a long 6″ rod with beveled square ends that you can then use a wrench to loosen the seat. You should be able to get the tool and an new seat at a good plumbing store, some of the large box stores even carry them.