Leaking bathtub faucet

My bath/shower faucet(separate hot/cold) is starting to leak pretty bad (on the cold side). My plumber said a tile guy would need to break down the tile surrounding the faucets. I've read many websites that talk about this issue. A lot of them only talk about removing the handles and then with a special puller tool, simply pull out the old valve stem assembly and replace it. Here are the first few steps from a website:
-Using the flathead screwdriver remove the cap on the front of the faucet handle.
-Using the phillips head or flathead screwdriver remove the screw holding the faucet handle on.
-By hand unscrew the trim piece counter-clockwise until removed.
-Now use your specialty socket to remove the entire valve stem assembly from the wall. (You may need some elbow grease as this most likely has never been replaced.) Usually these sockets are sold in kits and look like this...
It goes on from there but nowhere does it mention anything about breaking down the tile.
Can someone please help me understand. Obviously breaking the tile down is going to take longer and be a more expensive matter as well.
Thanks in advance for any insight.
Dave
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There's a little O-ring in there, one for the hot line and one for the cold line, and they just wear out over time. How difficult it is to get to them depends on the design of your faucet.
All the ones that I have replace (which were sink faucets) simply required removing a scew from the knob, and the O-ring was right there.
Some of the faucets had a cap on the face that needed to be popped off.
Of course, if you are going to try to do it yourself, remember to turn the water main off first!
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hd wrote:

Maybe plumber is being cautious. I guess the wall fitting could break then you would need to break tile. I was cautioned by a plumber and hardware store manager that a homeowner could get into trouble removing pipe that went into a wall.
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