DIY amateur here. The single handled plastic knob that controls the bathtub faucet recently fell off, along with a screw from its interior and a cap covering the screw. I wish I could post a picture, but the site isn't letting me upload them yet -- even though I have plenty of reputation on the other stack exchange sites! (UPDATE: I now have the reputation to post pictures! See below).

A metal square receptacle remains in the center of the knob-less handle (I guess where a long screw affixed the knob), and the faucet itself still works fine; temporarily, I've put the old broken knob on the fixture and control the water flow. Of course, it keeps falling out.

I'd like to know if there's a simple fix I can do, or do I need to replace the entire fixture. If the latter, how difficult is this to do? I don't want to have to break tile, etc.

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  • You can post a link to the image - which would help. Rep doesn't transfer but if you have > 200 rep on one site when you associate you get a 100 point bonus - so keep answering questions and when you hit 200 on one site remove all the associations an re-associate for that bonus!
    – ChrisF
    Commented Nov 21, 2010 at 18:47
  • You should be able to post a link with 1 rep; someone (like me :) could then edit your post to inline the picture.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Nov 21, 2010 at 18:49
  • Thanks! I magically got boosted on reputation, so I've uploaded the pictures to the post.
    – bshor
    Commented Nov 23, 2010 at 2:57

2 Answers 2


Depending on the manufacturer, the stem should be a free replacement. It's fairly trivial to replace.

  1. Turn off water. (IMPORTANT!)
  2. Remove the large hex fitting on the face of the controller
  3. With vise grips, pull and wiggle the stem out.

If it's a common manufacturer, you should be able to exchange the stem at your local big box store or plumbing supplier.

Reinstalling is simply the reverse.

While picking up the stem, get an appropriate bolt to fit, and you're good to go.

Caveat: Figure out the manufacturer and call first.


Are you able to put the screw back in, or is it stripped out or something? Generally, you can replace the plastic knob, take the existing one with you to a home store.

If the problem is that the screw won't hold because the hole is stripped, you can generally replace the whole mechanism without replacing the fixture. It should pull out or twist out and then you can take it to the home store.

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