Two types of seat grinders, or dressers, for evening out a worn valve seat.

How To Repair a Faucet Valve Seat

If a faucet still drips after you've replaced a washer, there may be something wrong with the faucet valve seat. A defective washer may have allowed the metal stem to grind against the seat and leave it uneven, or chemicals in the water may have built up a residue that now prevents the washer from fitting tightly against the valve seat.

What do you do to repair a bad faucet seat? Of course, you can replace the entire faucet. Another option is to replace the seat. Removal of the old valve seat is fairly simple if you have the right tool, called a seat wrench. Insert the seat wrench into the seat and turn it counterclockwise. Once you get the old seat out, be sure the replacement seat you buy is an exact duplicate. If the valve seat is impossible to remove, insert a seat sleeve that slides into place in the old seat and provides a tight seal.

Another option is to use a valve seat grinder, or dresser, which is an inexpensive tool that will even out a worn seat. Be careful not to use this tool too long or with too much force because the seat is made of soft metal, and you can grind too much of it away quite easily.

To use a dresser, remove the faucet stem and insert the seat grinder down to the valve seat in the faucet body. Using moderate pressure, turn the tool clockwise a few times. Then clean the valve seat with a cloth to remove any metal shavings.

A loose nut in a faucet's packing can be another reason for a leaky faucet. Learn what to do for this problem on the next page.

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