Many of you have had a problem with a leaky faucet. It can be a nightmare and in some situations an expensive repair. But, it can be fixed with a simple replacement/maintenance trick. You will need to replace the rubber washer on your faucet. To do it properly, you will need to understand flat vs beveled faucet washers facts and purposes. All of that and much more will be discussed and explained below. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Flat vs beveled faucet washers: Similarities and differences
Let’s assume that you already have the best faucet washers and you have been using them for a long time. You obviously know what the washer is. For those who are not proficient, we can add that a washer is rubber, silicone, Teflon, or even metal or plastic spacer that is used to create smooth contact between two pipes or two surfaces and eliminate leaking. Of them all, rubber washers are the most common in the plumbing industry. Yes, there are countless variations, but there are two main types.
Flat faucet washers
These washers are precise as the name suggests. They come in flat design, meaning that both surfaces are perfectly leveled and there are no seams, issues, or additional changes. Think of them as old-school spacers, just made from rubber. Flat faucet washers come in different sizes. You can get ½, ¼, 3/8, and several other sizes.
All modern faucets are designed to use flat washers. They prove an excellent seam, especially when the faucet and installation are brand new. They can be used for all types of faucets and they look simple and easy to install.
Beveled faucet washers
Beveled faucet washers look 50% the same as flat washers and other 50% completely different. If we compare flat and beveled faucet washers we can see that difference. Beveled units are flat on one side and have an oval, sloping angle on the other side. As such, they look like small cones.
When it comes to materials, all the ones used for flat washers are available here. This means rubber, silicone, Teflon, metal and etc. Beveled faucet washer sizes are identical as well. You can have them in ½, ¼, 3/8, and many other sizes, suitable for a specific size of your faucet. These days, beveled units are rare in the industry and you can rarely find them with completely new faucets.
Usages for rubber cone washers and for flat washers
The best way to understand the flat vs beveled faucet washers differences is to look at the purposes or applications of both types. Flat faucet washers are extremely popular and you can find them literally anywhere. They are the same type as the ones used in other industries and yes, you can use them for multiple purposes. Keep in mind that we are referring to rubber units. They are also a mandatory part of all new faucets and they are easy to replace.
A beveled washer is made and used for leveling purposes, for shimming and also when flat washer cannot be used. This is especially the case with old and worn faucets. You will install a flat washer and you will see that that faucets leaks after that. The issue is in the material condition. Over time, two surfaces (between the faucet and the hose or a pipe) will get damaged and corroded. Despite the fact you replace a washer, there will still be room between the two, and water can pass.
In that case scenario, you will need a beveled washer. Once you install it, the cone section will compensate for the material damage and it will prevent water leaking. If the faucet still leaks after that, you may need to flip the washer in order for the coned section to cover other, damaged sections. This happens rarely and usually the pressure when you tighten the thread will compensate and solve the problem.
As we have mentioned above, beveled washers can also be used for leveling the faucet. This is an obvious fact and we won’t waste your time explaining something you know already.
When to replace the washer on your faucet?
Many of you already know that replacing the faucet washers is needed only when you have a leaky faucet. This isn’t the best option. In fact, you need to replace flat washers every 2 years while beveled washers need to be replaced each year. They have to be replaced sooner due to the fact they are under more pressure and they have a bigger rubber surface exposed to water all the time. You may want to know how to install a rubber cone washer. The process is identical to replacing any other washer. If you see dents in the faucet or hose that match the washer cone design, place this section into that direction and tighten all up.
We were referring to rubber washers. They are the most common and they are the most affordable. Teflon or nylon units can last much longer and they need to be replaced 4-5 years.
Replacing the washers on a regular basis may sound complicated and annoying, but it is far from that. It is a 5-minute task and you can do it all by yourself. Just make sure that when you replace the washer and you start tightening the two pieces, tight them with your hand and add 1/8 of a turn using a wrench. Turn on the water flow and monitor. If it leaks, tighten the bolt a bit more until there is no leak.
How to change a faucet washer
Now you know all about flat vs beveled faucet washers and you know when and why both types have to be used. To sum up, flat models are more common and easier to replace. They can be found on 99% of new faucets. Beveled washers are old-school washers and they are used when flat washer cannot seal properly anymore and they are used on some particular faucets. But, they can also be used for leveling the faucet.
We also wrote an article on how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet. do check them out.