If you’re familiar with all the parts of a bath tub, you can save yourself some time and money by replacing broken parts yourself instead of a plumber.
Some fixes are so simple that anyone can do it, regardless of plumbing knowledge, while other repairs may require some extra work.
Whether you plan to fix the tub yourself or not, it would be wise to know all the parts of a bath tub so you can at least tell the plumber what’s wrong when something breaks and causes a leak.
Keep reading so you can familiarize yourself with all of the parts.
21 Parts Of A Bath Tub You Should Be Aware Of
1. Decorative Panel
Most bathtubs have decorative panels that surround the actual tub. Some panels are purely decorative, while others double as storage units or make the space around the top of the tub larger.
2. Diverter Pipe
Thanks to the diverter pipe, hot and cold water come out of separate pipes but can flow out of the same spout. This pipe may be hidden away or visible depending on your bathtub setup.
It’s attached to the faucet spout where the water comes out.
The drain is in the bottom of the tub and allows water to flow out. There are a few different models of drains.
Some are flat with several holes with a screw in the middle, and others have a piece you unscrew to release it and plug up the tub. Raising it will allow the water to drain out.
4. Trip Lever
The type of flat drain with holes will have a trip lever attached to it that can be moved up or down.
Moving the lever will allow the tub to fill with water, and moving the other direction will make it drain.
The faceplate is a round piece that will be on the side of the tub under the faucet. It covers the overflow pipe and allows water to enter so your tub doesn’t overflow.
Depending on the type of drain you have, the faceplate may also be where the trip lever is.
The faucet is where the water comes out of and may be small, large, or have a shower attachment connected to it, depending on what kind of tub you have.
The faucet is typically located on one of the short ends of the tub, but it may be located in the middle on the long side.
The dome will be on the showerhead and is what allows you to control the water flow and pressure.
It has several holes for water to come out of, and many models are adjustable so you can pick which setting you prefer. The dome can become clogged with water minerals and affect efficiency.
8. Cartridge Valve
The cartridge valve controls water flow and temperature in the showerhead. If you have issues getting hot or cold water when you’re taking a shower, the cartridge valve should be the first thing you consider checking.
Bathtub faucets will have a handle, or lever, to change the water temperature and pressure, or it will have two knobs.
Older models have a single knob that you can move in four directions to control the water, but most models today prefer to use a lever.
The spout is where the water comes out in the bathtub. It typically allows more water to come out than the shower head since it’s mostly used to fill up the bathtub full of water.
Since the spouts are closer to the ground than showerheads, they usually receive more pressure and better water flow.
11. Flexible Connector
A flexible connector allows you to easily connect two pipes that would normally require several tools to be connected.
They prevent water from spilling out and should be checked first when you notice a pipe started leaking.
The gasket is a rubber circular piece that sits behind the faceplate. It provides a watertight seal between the pipe and the faceplate.
If the gasket breaks, water will leak as it travels from the tub to the pipe.
13. Overflow Pipe
The overflow pipe is connected to the drain and is covered by a faceplate. It catches water inside the tub that reaches the faceplate so the tub will empty out.
It prevents tubs from filling up all the way and saves you the headache of having a flooded bathroom if you happen to leave the water on or have a massive leak.
14. Retaining Nut
Retaining nuts are what keep your faucet or the tub itself in place. They’re screwed tightly so the pieces won’t be able to move.
If you notice fixtures or the tub rocking, you may need to tighten the retaining nuts.
The rim is what the lip of the tub sits on. It usually has caulking on it to prevent water from seeping between the cracks. Caulking can wear down so you’ll need to replace it every once in a while.
Not every bathtub has a shower connected to it.
Shower and tub combos, sometimes called “shubs,” will either have a shower head attachment with a flexible hose, or the showerhead will be installed into the wall above the bathtub spout.
The trap is an S-bend pipe that allows a small amount of water to stay inside it at all times.
This water is crucial to have in your pipe because it prevents sewer gasses from traveling through the pipes and into your home.
You’ll likely see a trap close to your tub, but many plumbing systems have several traps throughout them.
18. Tub Abutment
The tub abutment is the area around your tub that you probably sit on or use to store your shampoo bottles. The abutment allows the tub to be fitted snugly against walls and is waterproofed with silicone caulking.
Freestanding tubs won’t have abutment, but they’re essential for the tubs fitted in closed spaces since they prevent water from dripping behind the tub.
Droplets of water can easily cause a mold problem, so be sure to keep the caulking fresh if you notice it deteriorating.
19. Waste Outlet
The waste outlet, or drain-waste-vent, is typically used with toilets, but they’re sometimes installed with bathtubs, too. They let gravity do the hard work and move the waste down a pipe into the sewer.
It prevents waste from going into the wrong pipe. This system will have a trap pipe to prevent sewer smells from traveling up the pipe.
20. Water Supply Pipes
There will be two water supply pipes where the faucet is, one pipe for hot water, and one for cold water.
If you’re not getting hot or cold water out of your faucet, you may need to check these pipes for problems. Since they’re separated, it’s usually easy to find the problem.
A diverter pipe is used to allow the hot and cold water to come out of the same spout, and a cartridge valve allows you to pick your temperature.
If either the hot or cold pipe is broken, you won’t be able to control the temperature of the water until it’s fixed.
21. Isolation Valve
The isolation valve is located near the water supply pipes and will allow you to turn off the water supply completely.
Always turn the water off when you need to repair something so you can prevent yourself from getting wet or causing leaks.