Tap washer replacement problems

17 Sep 2008
Reaction score
United Kingdom
1) I bought a sealed plastic pack of replacement tap washers from a DIY shed which where labelled 19mm. But when I measured them they were 25mm in diameter. Was this simply a packaging mistake or what?

2) I've replaced the washer in an old-fashioned tap in my 1930s house. The old washer was 20mm in diameter: the last time I replaced it I wished I had one slightly larger. Is there a standard size that's slightly larger than 20mm, some imperial size perhaps?

3) After replacing the washer, the tap still drips a little. The drips do not seem to depend on how firmly the tap is closed. I've unscrewed the top cover of the tap, and no water is leaking up there as far as I can see. I had to trim the 25mm washers with some scissors, but I still think I've got a good seal. Is there anything else that might be causing this? It is not just residual water dripping out.

4) Would it be a good idea to put two washers on the spindle rather than one? There is room.

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1) Probably a packaging error.

2) I don`t know, but I expect there are some old timers here that can help.

3) Its quite likely that the tap seating has a groove in it. Water can be very abrasive, especially if the leak has been going on a while. You can often see, or feel the groove in the seating.

You can buy a tap seating tool, which screws into the tap thread. You turn it round, and it grinds the surface of the tap seating until it is smooth.
After removing any swarf, you can fit a new washer, and it will seal perfectly.
Make sure you get the right size tool for your taps, some tools have interchangeable cutting heads.

4) No, problem is likely to be 3) above.


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