Step 3: File and rebuild the stem

file away the pitted wall of the faucet washer
Photo: Craig Raine
«»
Before replacing the washer, Richard performs a little surgery on the protruding edge into which the washer fits. He files away the pitted wall and replaces it with a nickel/copper-alloy retainer bowl, which will be held in place by a new washer screw. "Sometimes it's better to rebuild the stem than to rush out for a new part," he says. "Replacement parts for older faucets can be hard to find."
Ask TOH users about Plumbing

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • Phillips screwdriver
      Screwdriver, for removing the screw that holds the handle in place)

    • faucet-handle puller
      Faucet-Handle Puller, in case the handle won't budge and you need more force to remove the screw. See how Richard uses this tool)

    • adjustable wrench
      Adjustable Wrench, to loosen the packing nut)

    • needlenose pliers
      Needlenosed pliers, to pull out the stem assembly)
    • round file
      File, to file away the pitted wall of the stem)
    • faucet seat wrench
      Seat Wrench, to remove the seat and check it for burrs)

    Shopping List

    1. Seat Washer, the rubber disk on the stem's underside

    2. Washer Screw made of brass

    3. Nickel/Copper-Alloy Retainer Bowl to rebuild the stem

    4. Pipe Joint Compound to reseal the seat