A DIY Guide: How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet with a Single Handle

Is a dripping faucet disrupting your tranquility in the bathroom? This handy guide will walk you through the process of fixing a leaky shower faucet with a single handle. Whether you’re an avid DIY enthusiast or a novice, this step-by-step guide will give you the confidence and knowledge you need to handle this common household issue.

Why Fix a Leaky Faucet?

A leaky faucet might seem like a minor nuisance, but it can have serious implications. First, it wastes water, contributing to environmental concerns and increasing your utility bills. Second, over time, constant dripping can cause water damage or staining in your shower or bathtub. Lastly, the constant drip-drip sound can be quite annoying. Fixing a leaky shower faucet is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution.

Tools You’ll Need

Before you start, gather the following tools to ensure a smooth process:

  1. Adjustable wrench or channel lock pliers
  2. Phillips and flathead screwdriver
  3. Plumber’s grease
  4. Replacement cartridge (if necessary)

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet with a Single Handle

Step 1: Shut Off the Water

Before you start any plumbing work, it’s crucial to shut off the water supply to avoid a flood. You’ll typically find the shut-off valves for the shower in the basement, crawl space, or behind an access panel if you have one.

Step 2: Remove the Faucet Handle

To remove the handle, look for a small cap or button on the handle. This cap conceals a screw that holds the handle in place. Using a flathead screwdriver, carefully remove the cap, then use a Phillips screwdriver to unscrew the handle screw. Once the screw is loose, gently pull off the handle.

Step 3: Remove the Trim and Sleeve

After removing the handle, you’ll see the trim and sleeve, which cover the cartridge. These parts should slide off easily, revealing the cartridge.

Step 4: Remove the Cartridge

The cartridge is the part of the faucet that controls water flow and temperature. To remove it, you’ll likely need a wrench or pliers. Remember the orientation of the cartridge for easy reinstallation.

Step 5: Inspect and Replace the Cartridge

Inspect the cartridge for signs of wear or damage. If it looks worn out, replace it with a new one. If it’s in good condition, clean it using water and a toothbrush, apply a bit of plumber’s grease to lubricate it, and reinsert it back into its housing.

Step 6: Reassemble the Faucet

Once the cartridge is back in place, slide the sleeve and trim back onto the valve, ensuring they are secure. Reattach the handle by screwing it back on and replacing the cap.

Step 7: Turn the Water Back On

Turn the water back on and check the faucet. If the drip has stopped, congratulations – you’ve successfully fixed your leaky shower faucet. If it’s still leaking, you may need to repeat the process or consider contacting a professional plumber.


Fixing a leaky shower faucet with a single handle is a manageable task that you can accomplish with a bit of patience and the right tools. However, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with any part of the process, it’s always best to seek professional help. Don’t let a dripping faucet ruin your tranquility – with these steps, you can return your bathroom to its peaceful state.

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