How to Fix a Bathtub Shower Diverter

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to Fix a Bathtub Shower Diverter
Bathtub spout with diverter valve. (water image by Joshua Peterson from

The bathtub shower diverter is the device that switches the water supply from your bathtub spout and into your shower head. There are two main types of diverter valves: those integrated into the bathtub spout and those operated by a valve on the wall between the spout and the shower head. Since these valves are relatively inexpensive, the best way to fix a broken bathtub shower diverter is by replacing it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • New diverter valve or bathtub spout
  • Flat-bladed screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pipe thread compound

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    Diverter in Tub Spout.

  1. 1

    To remove the faucet type, unscrew the tub faucet from the wall by turning it counterclockwise. You may need to cut away any caulk binding the spout to the wall before doing this.

  2. 2

    Clean the threads on the water outlet pipe with a stiff brush. Wrap the threads with plumber's tape.

  3. 3

    Screw the new faucet spout and diverter into place on the end of the water outlet.

  4. 4

    Caulk around the base of the spout.

    Handle Type Diverter

  1. 1

    Loosen the screw cap on top of the diverter valve with the flat-bladed screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the handle screw. Pull off the diverter handle.

  3. 3

    Use the adjustable wrench to loosen the stem nut. Pull out the diverter assembly.

  4. 4

    Apply thread compound to the threads on a new diverter assembly. Thread this into the diverter socket. Tighten with the wrench.

  5. 5

    Replace the diverter handle. Insert the screw and tighten. Press the screw cover into place.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're worried about scratching the surface of your diverter handle when removing the screw cap, cover the head of your flat-bladed screwdriver with duct tape.
  • After disassembly, take the old diverter valve to your nearest plumbing or hardware store to help you in selecting one of the same size.

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