Often, as I am writing my answers, I feel that I should perhaps post the questions and answers on this blog. I feel so especially if I think that it may be generally useful material. With that in mind, and with apologies and thanks to the person who submitted the question, I post this for the general aid to you DIY folks out there.
Q. I have an older (1920's) bathtub. It is still in very good condition, but I can not get the faucets to quit leaking. I have replaced the faucet seats and it still leaks. I put in beveled washers and that helps, but only for a short while. Within a month or 10-15 baths later, it starts dripping again. The name on the faucets says Republic. They are nickel plated brass with porcelain handles.
P.S. I am very handy and love restoration but this one has me frustrated.
Appreciate your help!
A. Here are some tips, I hope they help.
1. Was the seat you used identical to the seat you removed? After market manufacturers follow the rule of making them identical because there are so very many seat variations it is impossible with that visual aid. It would have to have had the same thread count per inch, the same depth of thread, the same height above the thread, and the same circumference at the rim. It should fit into the sweet spot of the washer, not way in or out at either edge. It should have turned in with no trouble.
2. Did you use threat seal when you installed the seat? If water can seep through the seat thread it circumvents the washer to seat seal.
3. Did you use a fairly hard washer? Harder washers last longer in service, I use "Drip Proof" "Gator Skin" and a few others of that hardness. To test them I try to twist them in my fingers, if they twist I won't use them.
4. Did the faucet turn off easily and hold water when first repaired? Following that, did you instruct all users that the faucet is now repaired and must be turned off with no great force. Many users continue to force repaired faucets closed as per habit. This destroys new washers, especially soft washers.
5. Does the faucet naturally take a bit of time to stop dripping because it must flow out and there is no screen there to create surface tension? And because of this do users then turn it down harder, damaging the new washer?
Hot water softens the washer on the hot side, making it more vulnerable to excess pressure. That is another reason to use hard washers, especially on the hot side. Speaking of which, how hot is your water?
6. Is the washer retainer cup at the end of the stem intact? Without it the washer will not hold its shape well.
7. Is there a lot of debris coming through the line that may be embedding itself into the washers when the faucet is tuned off?
8. Is water finding its way past the washer screw? Especially if the stem washer retainer cup is bad.
That's about it, Almost everything there is to know about washers. BTW, I rarely use beveled washers. I use them only to gain height at the stem.