Are common faucet repairs DIY projects, or should you call a professional plumber?

St Paul Pipeworks plumbers recently arrived at a job where the homeowner had tried to repair a shower valve by themselves. It turned out they were unsuccessful and ended up damaging the valve badly enough that it had to be replaced.

We do encourage people to understand the plumbing in their homes and work on it, assuming they have the mechanical skills to do so. In this article, we’ll discuss which faucet repairs can be DIY projects and which should be done by a professional plumber.

Some faucet repairs are best left to the professionals.

It is important to know that you can cause damage and plumbing code violations if the repairs are done incorrectly. The best word of caution is that if it is too hard to get apart or takes an excessive amount of force, likely because something is being done incorrectly, a homeowner probably shouldn’t try to make the repair on their own.

The main repair to a shower faucet valve is replacing the cartridge. Each brand and model of faucet has its own unique parts inside. The hardest part for a do-it-yourselfer is knowing how to disassemble the faucet to get the old cartridge out.

With the internet, sometimes a person can find a YouTube video or some other way to help teach them how to get the faucet apart.


Not all parts are created equal.

Often, it starts with figuring out what brand of faucet it is. Manufacturers don’t always place the brand name in a place where people can find it. Sometimes, before St Paul Pipeworks plumbers go out to repair a faucet, they will have the customer send a picture of the faucet with their phone so they can identify the brand by what the faucet looks like. St Paul Pipeworks plumbers are familiar with multiple different brands and models.

If they can’t figure it out, they have sales representatives at the wholesale houses to help identify the brand. Before they go out to make a repair, the plumbers will often go onto the manufacturer’s websites and look at an exploded view that shows a closeup of all of the faucet parts.

Sometimes there is a small cap that needs to be removed to get to the screw inside. Depending on the brand, there can be multiple ways of removing it. In this customer’s case, they didn’t pull the horseshoe clip out of the faucet before trying to pull out the stem. They didn’t have a wrench on the outside of the body, and they didn’t have the knowledge to know where the horseshoe clip was located.

Even after the horseshoe clip is removed, there can be times when you still can’t get the cartridge out. There are instances where people are trying to get the cartridge out that they pull so hard that they’ve pulled the inner core of the cartridge out and left the outer shell of the cartridge inside.

One particular manufacturer makes a custom puller that we use to pull the cartridge out. It fastens to the body to give the plumber extra leverage.

We know you mean well.

When St Paul Pipeworks plumbers arrive on site where someone has tried and failed to make a repair correctly, they will respectfully explain what was done incorrectly.

Even plumbers have, at some point in their lives, wrecked a faucet because they didn’t know how to get it apart or it was impossible to get apart. Sometimes faucets can get so stuck that there is no choice but to replace them.

Replacing a faucet that’s external, like a faucet on a washbasin or a faucet on a kitchen sink, isn’t too difficult. It is only slightly more expensive than making a repair. But replacing a faucet where the pipes are concealed inside of a wall, such as a bath and shower faucet, is more expensive.

Often, especially where there is no inspection door, the wall needs to be opened up behind the faucet, and it becomes a much bigger job to replace, and sometimes there is an added expense to hire a carpenter to repair the wall.

If you have a broken faucet and have questions about repairing or replacing it or are just looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.

Yours Truly,

Matthew Dettwiler

Social Media Manager


Q: Are common faucet repairs DIY projects, or should you call a professional plumber?

A: Common faucet repairs can be both DIY projects and tasks for professional plumbers, depending on the complexity of the repair. If you have the necessary mechanical skills and feel comfortable working with plumbing systems, some simple repairs like changing washers, O-rings, or aerators can be done by homeowners.

However, more intricate repairs, such as dealing with shower valve cartridges or repairing concealed pipes, are best left to professional plumbers. Attempting these complex repairs without proper knowledge and tools can lead to damage, plumbing code violations, and more extensive issues.

Q: What are the risks of attempting faucet repairs without professional help?

A: Attempting faucet repairs without professional guidance can pose several risks. Incorrect repairs can lead to damage to the faucet components, causing leaks or rendering the fixture unusable.

Moreover, improperly executed repairs might result in plumbing code violations, leading to potential legal and safety issues. If a repair requires excessive force or becomes too challenging to disassemble, it’s a clear indication that professional help is needed to avoid causing further damage and complications.

Q: What factors determine whether a faucet repair should be done by a professional plumber?

A: Several factors determine whether a faucet repair requires professional intervention. If the repair involves complex parts specific to a particular brand or model, such as shower valve cartridges,

it’s advisable to seek a professional plumber’s assistance. Additionally, if disassembling the faucet involves removing hidden components, like horseshoe clips or inner cores, professional plumbers with specialized tools and experience can handle the task more effectively, minimizing the risk of damage.

Q: How can homeowners identify the brand of their faucet for repairs?

A: Identifying the brand of a faucet can be crucial for successful repairs. St. Paul Pipeworks plumbers often recommend taking clear photos of the faucet and its components and sending them for identification.

Manufacturers’ brand names may not always be readily visible, so relying on visual cues is essential. Plumbers are experienced in recognizing different faucet brands and models and often refer to manufacturers’ websites for exploded views of faucet parts to assist with identification.

Q: What should homeowners do if their DIY faucet repair goes wrong?

A: If a DIY faucet repair goes wrong, it’s important to seek professional help immediately. When St. Paul Pipeworks plumbers encounter cases where DIY repairs have failed, they respectfully explain the mistakes and rectify the situation.

In some cases, a damaged faucet might need to be replaced, especially if it’s concealed within walls, making the repair more complicated and costly. External faucets are generally easier to replace, but concealed faucets may require opening up walls and potentially hiring a carpenter for wall repairs.

Faucet Repairs: DIY or Call a Professional? Ask A Plumber…