The Recommended Distance Between Tub Spout And Valve

distance between tub spout and valve

If your bathroom is small, you may have space issues to set up both a bathtub and a shower stall. Although it can be disheartening, you can still find a way to enjoy both a shower and a bath in your smaller bathroom–all it takes is a bit of creativity!

Consider installing a shower over your bathtub to save space, and having the option for both a shower and a bath is a fantastic idea. Nonetheless, you must know the optimal distance between tub spout and valve to do this correctly.

However, the recommended distance between the bathtub spout and the valve is usually between 5 and 11 inches. Hence, specific instructions regarding this distance may come with some bathtubs and shower spouts. In such cases, it’s crucial to follow these instructions carefully.

Installing the valve and bathtub spout at the appropriate distance prevents water leakage through the showerhead. If the distance between the showerhead’s valve and the bathtub spout exceeds the recommended measurement, it can cause water to spill through the showerhead.

What Distance is Ideal between the Tub Spout and Valve?

As previously mentioned, the recommended distance between the valve and tub spout is typically between 5 and 11 inches unless the manufacturer has specific instructions. Properly installing the tub spout is crucial in ensuring the valve and tub spout are at the appropriate distance.

Expert plumbers suggest that the tub spout should be 4 inches above the rim of the bathtub, and it’s recommended to follow the distance guidelines below for optimal results with no leaks and proper water flow when installing the showerhead and bathtub.

  • The standard installation of a bathtub and its spout requires it to be 18-20 inches above the bathroom floor.
  • The valve shower, on the other hand, should be 26-28 inches in height from the floor.
  • Moreover, the shower head needs to be 72 inches in height for a taller person to enjoy a relaxing shower experience. 

The following three points are generally an ideal distance, no matter the shower over bathtub fittings. However, it’s important to note that some showerhead and bathtub manufacturers may recommend a specific distance between the shower valve and the tub spout. It’s best to consult the user manual for the tub spout and valve before installation.

What Happens When the Tub Spout and Valve aren’t Installed at The Right Distance?

It can cause problems if you install the valve and tub spout at a distance shorter or longer than the recommended distance. Typically, the tub spout has a diverter that directs water to the shower instead of the spout. To ensure proper water flow, you should close the diverter.

Furthermore, when you fail to maintain the distance between the tub spout and valve, it might decline to perform correctly. It occurs because two things might happen without the proper space.

  1. If the distance between the valve and the bathtub spout is too short, the diverter will remain open and redirect water to the faucet instead of the tap, resulting in poor water pressure and flow.
  2. On the other hand, if the distance between the valve and the bathtub spout is too long, the diverter will remain closed and divert water to the valve instead of the faucet, causing problems with the tap.

Eventually, you may encounter water leakage through the diverter and faucet. So maintaining the recommended distance between the shower valve and the tub spout is necessary to minimize irregular pressure and water leakage.

However, if you notice water dripping from the faucet or bathtub spout, there is a way to fix it, which we will discuss in the next section.

How to Fix the Leaks Issue

If the distance between the tub spout and valve is not optimal, water leaks may occur around the showerhead when the tub spout is in use. Thus, it is crucial to understand how to address and repair any potential leaks in the showerhead.

Method 1: Cleaning the Diverter and Its Knob

Typically, the diverter or showerhead can accumulate residue and debris over time, leading to malfunctioning and water leakage through the diverter lever. Additionally, the valve may also collect debris and residue, causing it to fail to open fully and only partially instead. This partial opening can cause the diverter to redirect water to the showerhead rather than the bathtub spout.

To inspect the diverter and the valve for any residual development, you must remove the diverter entirely. Then, look around and underneath it to detect any scale or residual buildup.

If debris is visible inside the diverter knob, apply white vinegar. For more rigid residue, consider adding baking soda to the vinegar. Once the mixture softens the residue, use clean water to wipe away the debris. Finally, push the knob back into its proper place.

Method 2: Installation of a New Diverter

Replacing the diverter is another solution to stop leakage. Here are the steps to follow: 

  • Firstly, you should obtain a similar tub spout from a hardware store. If an identical model is unavailable, measure the distance between the tip of the old faucet and the wall as a guide for selecting the correct size. 
  • Before installing the new spout, wipe away any residue buildup on the waterline. 
  • Wrap the plumber’s tape around the threading, and use silicone caulk to seal any gap between the main water line and the wall hole. 
  • Secure the connection between the supply lines and spout using a setscrew, being cautious not to over-tighten and damage the threading. Use pliers to tighten the screw properly.

Method 3: Replace the Valve

Another method to fix leaks is to replace the valve. This is usually done when the valve is worn out or damaged beyond repair and other techniques have failed to stop the leakage. 

  • You must turn off the water supply and drain the system to replace the valve. 
  • Then, remove the old valve and replace it with a new one of the same type and size.
  • Next, reconnect the pipes and ensure they are tightly sealed to prevent leaks. 
  • Finally, turn on the water supply and test the system for any signs of leakage. 
  • Replacing the valve should effectively stop any leaks and improve the system’s overall functionality. 

However, if you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, it’s best to seek the help of a professional plumber.

Method 4: Fix the Distance between Tub Spout and Valve

If the methods mentioned above do not work, adjusting the distance between the valve and tub spout may be necessary. Begin by measuring the distance from the middle of the shower plate to the tub spout. If the distance is inaccurate, relocating the valve and tub spout is required. Given that this can be a complex task, we recommend seeking assistance from a professional plumber.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the ideal distance between the shower valve and the diverter?

Answer:  The recommended distance between the diverter and the shower valve should be a minimum of 8 inches. It’s significant to adhere to the installation guidelines to maintain the correct distance for optimal performance.

What is the recommended length for the tub spout rough installation?

Answer:  When installing the tub spout, it is recommended that the nipple of the bathtub spout is placed ¾” to 3/8″ inside the drywall or finished wall. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain this length during installation.

What are the standard measurements for a tub?

Answer:  Typically, standard tubs have external measurements of approximately 60 inches in length, 30 inches in width, and 14 to 16 inches in height. If you’re looking for a soaking tub, finding one that measures between 60 inches and 72 inches in length is recommended.

What causes a gap between the tub spout and the wall?

Answer: A gap between the tub spout and the wall may be caused by an incorrectly placed female threaded fitting or a threaded pipe screwed into the fitting. This can happen when the fitting needs to be accurately identified.


Maintaining the correct distance between tub spout and valve is crucial to ensure the system’s proper functioning. Failure to do so can result in a malfunctioning diverter and valve, leading to water leakage. Therefore, it is advisable to replace the diverter or readjust the distance accurately if any issues arise.

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