How to repair a dripping ceramic tap

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How to repair a dripping quarter turn ceramic tap

Typical modern quarter turn ceramic tap - this one sold by B&Q (UK)
The blue plastic cap prises off if you lever it evenly with a very wide tool such as a paint scraper)
Photograph the tap as you dismantle it - in my case the problem was the red rubber washer coated in limescale
In pieces showing the white ceramic washers

First caveat: I am not a plumber, this is just my experience in repairing a dripping quarter turn ceramic tap. I you're not extremely comfortable performing simple plumbing tasks, call a plumber, don't attempt to do this yourself. Do it at your own risk, etc. etc.

Ceramic taps should last a lifetime but can suffer problems in hard-water areas because of calcium build-up. From the little research I have done, it seems that you are unlikely to be able to obtain spare parts such as the ceramic washers, although it's unlikely that they are the cause of the problem anyway.

  1. Turn off the water and run the taps to empty the feed. In my case the levers were just pushed onto the tap cartridge as pulled off easily. My first stumbling block was removing the blue and red plastic caps, shown in the picture. Eventually they just prised off using two thin strong levers applying even pressure from either side. Paint scrapers were ideal.
  1. Remove the circlip while the ceramic tap cartridge is still fitted to the tap. It's much harder to remove one the cartridge is out of the tap
  1. Unscrew the cartridge, in my case with a 17 mm spanner.
  1. Photograph the tap as you dismantle it if you think you might forget the order when it comes to re-assembly.
  1. I polished the mating faces of the ceramic washers and reassembled the tap. Oh dear, it still leaked.
  1. The solution in my case was a build up of limescale between the red rubber washer in the photograph and the brass washer it is seated in. It's purpose as far as I can see is to prevent dripping when the ceramic washers are fully closed. The washer did not need replacing, it was enough just to rub it on a cloth and to squirt the brass washer with a little descaler.
  1. Take special care when reassembling the ceramic washers in the tap cartridge, if they are out of position by 45°, the tap will operate in reverse.

Good luck - I hope this article helps you out!