Stem-Compression Faucet Repair and Installation


Most older two-handle faucets have stems that move up and down as the handle is turned. A rubber washer at the bottom of the stem presses against a seat in the faucet body to seal out water. If the washer or the seat becomes worn, water seeps through and drips out of the spout.

If water seeps below the handle or the base of the faucet, an O-ring or the packing probably needs to be replaced.

Getting the parts
All-purpose repair kits for stem faucets contain washers and O-rings of various sizes. To make sure you have a perfect match, take the stem along when buying the repair kit. An older type of faucet may need a packing washer or string packing. If the stem itself is worn, replacing the rubber parts will not solve the problem. You can replace the stem if you can find a new one; replacing the faucet may be the best option.

Prestart Checklist

Less than an hour for most repairs

Screwdrivers; adjustable wrench; perhaps a handle puller, seat wrench, or seat grinder

Shutting off water, dismantling a faucet, installing small parts

Shut off the water, close the sink stopper, and place a rag in the sink to catch any parts

Washer, O-rings, silicone grease, packing

Step 1

Shut off the water and open both handles until water stops running. Pry off the decorative cap, remove the handle screw, and gently pry off the handle. If the handle is stuck, tap and pry on one side, then the other or use a handle puller.

Step 2

Loosen and remove the retaining or packing nut with an adjustable wrench. A sleeve may also cover the stem. Grab the stem with a pair of pliers and pull it out.

Step 3

If water drips out the spout when the handle is turned off, you probably need to replace a worn washer. Remove the screw and install an exact replacement. If this doesn't solve the problem, or if washers wear out quickly, replace the seat.

Step 4

If water seeps out below the handle, replace a worn O-ring or any other rubber part on the stem. Gently pry out the O-ring with a knife or small screwdriver. Rub silicone grease on the replacement O-ring and reinstall it.

Step 5

If the seat is pitted or scratched, remove it using a seat wrench. Install an exact replacement. If you can't find a new seat, you may be able to grind a worn seat to smooth it.

Comments (11)
sgfsd wrote:

Download over 16,000 WOODWORKING PLANS at here Woodworking guide offers anyone of any skill level the ability to build amazing projects. The guide is extra helpful because it offers more detailed explanations, videos and blueprints then your typical woodworker magazine . Hope it will help you next time !

6/9/2016 01:09:42 PM Report Abuse
d50coxnet wrote:

sink drain installation

5/31/2016 07:57:26 PM Report Abuse
tprundzieher1 wrote:

looking for bathtub shower faucet

10/19/2010 04:04:11 PM Report Abuse
rarjona wrote:

Nothing that I have read has told me how to reinstall a compression faucet valve! It tells you how to take it apart but not how to put it back to gether.

1/3/2010 08:38:07 PM Report Abuse
paulaeileen1 wrote:

Repairing Pipes under sink, replace?

1/3/2010 06:54:38 PM Report Abuse
Add your comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Register | Log In
One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!