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Our guide to fixing a leaking tap

A picture of a white modern bathroom sink
Learn how to fix a leaking tap with our simple guide

Do you have a leaky tap but you’re unsure how to fix it? Follow our simple guide for a potential solution without the need for a plumber.


Step 1

Before you start, turn off the water supply at the mains. This may seem an obvious step but it can sometimes be forgotten.

Step 2

A picture of someone fixing a kitchen sink tap
Identify whether your tap uses rubber washers or ceramic discs

Now identify whether your tap uses rubber washers or ceramic discs. Do this by turning the tap handle; if you can only rotate a quarter or half a turn, it will normally be a ceramic disc type tap. If it rotates more than this, it will generally be a rubber washer type.

Step 3

A picture of a silver metal tap
Now to fix the tap

Next take off the tap head. The method you will need depends on the design of the tap. You may need to unscrew it or alternatively, need to flip off a cap. Once you have determined what needs to be replaced, follow the appropriate steps for replacing either the rubber washers or ceramic discs.

Replacing rubber washers:

1. Remove the handle cap if there is one, to expose the handle screw, and unscrew it to remove the handle.

2. Set aside the tap handle, along with the shroud if there is one, to reveal the tap valve underneath.

3. Use an adjustable spanner to unscrew the tap valve so that you can remove the valve from the tap seat.

4. Unscrew or flip off the washer and replace with another. Reverse the process to reassemble the tap.

Replacing ceramic discs:

1. Remove the cap in the way indicated by the tap design and undo the handle screw to release the tap handle.

2. After you have removed the screw, the tap handle will lift off easily to reveal the top of the valve.

3. Remove the valve cover if there is one, and then remove the ceramic valve by gripping and turning the valve with an adjustable spanner.

4. Once unscrewed, remove the ceramic valve and replace with a new one. Then reassemble the tap.

Once you've replaced either the rubber washer or ceramic disc, you can turn the water back on and your leaky tap should be fixed. If it is still leaking please seek professional help.