How to Fix a Leaking Bathroom Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Bathroom Faucet

Got a leaky faucet? It happens to everyone but that doesn’t change how frustrating it is. That persistent dripping sound can keep you up at night.

Here we’ll explain how to fix a leaky bathroom faucet. You may actually be surprised at how easy it is.

Every drip from your bathroom faucet adds up, not to mention, it’s extremely annoying. Before you know it, your water bill has gotten bigger, and hiring a professional is another cost out of your pocket.

We’re going to show you how to fix the top three types of leaking bathroom faucets so you can save money and the hassle of hiring someone at the same time.

Before you start

There are a couple things to do before you attempt to fix a leaky bathroom faucet. The very first thing you need to do is turn the water supply off to your sink.

There’s nothing quite like getting hit with a face full of water spraying out of your faucet, so don’t skip this step!

Locate the plumbing underneath your sink and locate the valves on the water lines. All you have to do is turn them counterclockwise.

It’s a good idea to turn one valve off at a time to determine where your leak is coming from. Once you know, though, you still need to shut both valves off before you can try to fix it.

Once the water supply is off, turn on your faucet to clear out any water that’s still in the line. When the water stops, cover or plug the drain.

If you don’t, you could drop screws down the drain and lose them which is always a headache.

Ball Faucets

How to Fix a Leaky Bathroom FaucetSource:

When it comes to ball faucets, anything can be the issue. Your best bet is to buy a ball faucet kit and start from scratch once you take it apart.

You can find one of these ball faucet kits at any home improvement store.

1. To get started, remove the screw to the handle. It’s pretty easy to get the handle off. That’s the easiest part when it comes to ball faucet sinks.

2. Next, use a pair of pliers to remove the cap and collar underneath the handle.

3. Once the cap and collar are out of the way, loosen the faucet cam. When you remove the cam, remove the washer and rotating white ball with it.

4. Inside, grab both the inlet seals and springs. Since you can’t fit your hands in there, you’ll need something smaller with a good grip.

5. Cut off the old O-rings and replace them with new ones that are coated in plumber’s grease. You should be able to roll the new o-rings right on.

6. Reassemble the pieces you took apart with the new elements from your ball faucet kit.

Cartridge Faucet

Leaks in cartridge faucet sinks are simple to fix. It’s a straightforward process and doesn’t take much time at all once you learn how to fix a leaky bathroom faucet.

1. Some cartridge faucets have decorative caps and some don’t. If yours does, you need to remove it. Take a flat-head screwdriver and pry it off. If it’s plastic, be careful not to break it.

2. The handle itself should be easy to remove, just unscrew it with a screwdriver. When you go to remove it, tilt the handle backward.


3. Some cartridge faucets have a retaining clip holding the cartridge down. If your faucet does have one, use pliers to pull it off.

4. Pull the faucet cartridge so it’s in the upright position and it’s sitting. This allows you to remove the spout.

5. Cut off the original O-ring. Roll on a new one. Make sure you coat the new O-ring in plumber’s grease.

6. If the cartridge is the issue, you can replace that, too. Make sure you have the right length before you start the handy work.

7. Now, reassemble the cartridge faucet in the opposite sequence you took it apart.

Compression Faucets

A compression sink has two different faucets, one for hot water and one for cold water.

These sinks use rubber washers to seal the valve. You can locate the O-rings above it. If it’s leaking, you most likely need to replace one of these.

1. With most compression sinks, the faucets are decorative. You have to remove the decorative part before anything else. Most often these are the pieces that label the temperature of the water.

Use a flat-head screwdriver to pry each decorative cap off. It shouldn’t take too much effort or muscle.

2. Once this is done, you should see the screws that hold the faucet handles to the base. Unscrew them and you can pull (or unscrew) the handles right off.

3. Underneath each handle is a packing nut. A crescent wrench should loosen this super easy.


4. Now, remove the stem. This is where the rubber seal and O-ring are hanging out. If you’re changing the O-ring, it’s right there to pull and replace.

Make sure you have the correct O-ring size ready to go beforehand.

5. If you’re replacing the washer, remove the brass screw and the washer and replace the rubber washer with a new one.

The new washer should be coated in plumber’s grease and make sure to have the right size washer.

6. Be careful while you reassemble each piece. Turn the water back on to your sink so you can double-check if you fixed the leak.

The bottom line

Now that you know how to fix a leaky bathroom faucet, you’re ready to tackle this DIY project. And once you’ve built up your confidence, you may decide it’s time to do a full-on bathroom renovation.

If so, check out our guide on how to renovate a bathroom yourself as well as our recommendations for the best small bathroom sinks, the best bathroom vanity brands, and the best shower curtains for small bathrooms.

Want to start small? A simple coat of paint can change the whole look of your bathroom, so check out the best paint finishes for bathrooms.

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