Switching up tub spout mounting style?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by mjgoldberg, May 31, 2021.

  1. mjgoldberg

    mjgoldberg New Member

    May 31, 2021
    Portland, Oregon
    I have a bathtub in my house with a very deep surround and the previous owner settled on a tub spout that was too short and allowed water to pond on the surround. I found a beautiful 9 inch solid brass diverter tub spout from Delta that feels like a brick in my hand, and is long enough to solve the problem.

    The current tub spout is the slip on style with a set screw onto 1/2 copper. The new spout is 1/2” NPT female threaded, 3/8” inset from the mounting face.

    So I need to switch mounting styles. Fortunately I can see inset 1” beneath the hole in the finished tile, the current stub out is soldered to a male threaded adapter, which is threaded into a drop ear elbow.

    First question- can I just grab the protruding 1/2 copper tube with a pipe wrench and turn? Is it likely to come out smoothly or am I going to break it?

    Second question- once I have the current stub out removed and am down to just the drop ear elbow, is there a secret for getting the right length nipple and ensuring that the connection at both ends is leak-free while also bringing the tub spout flush with the wall and oriented correctly? The elbow face is 1.08” sunk behind the tile wall; the inset in the spout before the threads start is 0.39”. I’m concerned that a 2” nipple will be too short and a 2.5” will be too long. Given the weight of the spout I would like to get it to sit against the wall rather than supported completely by the pipe.

    Third question - how do you torque down this connection when the only thing to grab onto is the tub spout? I was thinking maybe a strap wrench.

    Thanks for the help with this slightly technical challenge!
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Maybe the old pipe will come out smoothly. If not, perhaps resort to an easy-out of some type. There are several types you can pick up if needed.

    Brass nipples, threads on both ends, perhaps a few wraps of tape and some pipe dope. There is some give on both ends and it's not a full pressure connection. The water is wanting to make it's way out the end of the spout.
    I turn by hand, but then I've done a few. A strap wrench I can see working, or sometimes something in the end of the spout to help you turn it.
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  4. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

    Feb 27, 2020
    yea many times it will unscrew but might need to get a socket over the mip adapter. either a brass nipple 0r sweat 2 male adapters the custom length you need.
    here is my way .....
    first I sweat a nipple longer than needed
    second dope it and or tape it up one end screw it in using the male adapter hex to tighten ( snug but not crazy tight )
    third prep with dope and screw tub spout to desired tightness. measure gap between spout and wall .
    4th what ever the measurement is . unsweat adapter cut pipe and sweat back on .
    5th dope it up again and screw on spout.
    a little time consuming but measuring to the thousandth of an inch and mathematical is great but this gets a perfect fit don't need a bunch of extra brass nipples .
    If pipes in wall are very rigid it requires the nipple be a more exact length. just one way of doing it I use from time to time especially if factory nipple length isn't good enough
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