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We just moved into an old house and two of the tub faucets have huge gaps from the tile as pictured below. This is something that I feel needs to be addressed right away to prevent shower water from splashing back there and causing water damage to the wall behind.

How did this happen in the original install and how do I need to fix it?

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The ideal method to repair the gap (if the spout can not be tightened further, is to shorten the length of the pipe nipple that exits the wall and connects to the spout. You need to un-screw the spout and the pipe nipple. Replace with a shorter nipple equal to the gap measurement. Use Teflon tape on all male pipe threads and caulking behind the spout base. The faster, "just as appropriate, but may not look that good", repair is to apply enough caulking into the gap so that it can be smoothed flush with the spout. A third and middle of the road repair is to locate an eschuteon plate. Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IKVJEUI?keywords=eschuteon&qid=1445614060&ref_=sr_1_3&s=home-garden&sr=8-3

  • Thanks for the 3 options, I am really trying to avoid filling that large of a gap with caulk so hopefully I can get that nipple out... – jmpreiks Oct 23 '15 at 16:00
  • if the nipple is tenacious and stubborn a long handled pipe wrench should convince it to loosen. Apply slow even force just enough to start it's reversal. Too much pressure may damage connections behind the wall. Don't worry if the threads get damaged. – ojait Oct 23 '15 at 16:11
  • I would try to get the correctly size nipple in place as well. Be careful to not damage the threads while tightening the new one. ;) – Derrick Oct 23 '15 at 23:02
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It happens when someone replaces the tub spout, and doesn't want to risk removing and replacing the nipple in the wall with the correctly sized one.

The fix is to remove the spout and the nipple from the wall (the short pipe threaded on both ends) and get a new nipple of the correct length. Before removing the spout, measure the gap so you know how much shorter the new nipple needs to be. Premade nipples will be sold in 1" or 1/2" increments, but some stores can cut them to a specific length if you end up needing something like 4-3/4" or something.

Use plenty of WD-40 or thread penetrator on the nipple threads in the wall before attempting to remove it. That galvanized pipe can get rusty, and can be hard to remove (probably why the last people didn't attempt it).

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