Flat vs Beveled Faucet Washers: Full Explanation

Leaky faucets can be an absolute nightmare to contend with. Sometimes, all you need to fix the aggravating drip from the faucet is a replacement washer.

How do you pick the right washer? Is it supposed to be flat or beveled? Is there a difference between the two? Which is better: the domed washer vs. the flat washer?

If you find yourself asking yourself these same questions, we are here to help. Continue reading for a full explanation of flat and beveled washers.

What Are Beveled Washers Used For?

Beveled washers, just like flat washers, are a relatively cheap option. They are rounded at the top and appear dome-like. However, finding beveled washers can be much more complicated than their counterparts.

For the most part, all faucets use flat washers. Beveled washers are typically only used in faucets where the seat is damaged or worn beyond stem travel. The thickness of the washer in comparison to the flat counterpart covers that distance, allowing the faucet to continue to function.

This type of washer is usually found in faucets that are ten years old, if not older. Flat washers are in all of the newer faucets. The washer is designed with a slope in hopes of sealing the water flow from the interior opening of the seat instead of the flat raised edges of the seat.

Beveled washers also may be used for leveling purposes and shimming.

Which Way Does The Beveled Washer Go?

The beveled washer is shaped like a cone, with one flat side and one rounded side. The rounded side should point towards the direction of the bolt it is secured to. Placing the washer in this manner prevents the bolt from moving and is known as upwards orientation.

Why Can’t I Use A Flat Washer?

Why Can’t I Use A Flat Washer

When it comes to fixing older faucets that leak, a flat washer typically won’t cut it. This is because of corrosion that occurs over time. Older faucets tend to have attrition between the faucet and hose or pipe.

Even though you may replace the washer with another washer identical to the first, the leak may persist. Water can still leak through the gaps in the plumbing, so you will usually need a beveled washer in these scenarios. The cone-shaped washer will help to close the gaps and prevent the leak.

However, the faucet may need to be replaced in some cases, as simply replacing the washer will not fix the leak.

Which Is Better, A Flat Or Beveled Faucet?

It is very rare to find a manufacturer that uses beveled washers in their new faucets instead of flat washers. Since many new faucets come with flat washers, it makes the answer to this question somewhat complicated.

Beveled washers in faucets are usually only there because the faucet seat is worn or damaged beyond stem travel. It is essentially a last resort in older faucets that have been around for ten or more years.

Newer faucets have flat washers and usually will not have or require beveled washers until the seat has become worn and flat washers cannot repair the faucet anymore. So, flat washer faucets are the better choice, simply because it usually represents a newer faucet with minor wear and tear.

What Is The Difference?

The primary difference between flat and beveled washers is their shape. Flat washers are, as the name implies: two flat sides in the form of a disc. Beveled washers have one flat surface and one cone-shaped surface.

What Are The Sizes Of Faucet Washers?

Sizes of faucet washers vary based on the model and manufacturer. Many faucet washers are sold and listed by metric or “M” size ratings, such as M3, M8, or M10.

Dimensions of faucet washers may include:

  • 1-inch faucet washer
  • 9mm faucet washer
  • 15mm faucet washer
  • 16mm faucet washer
  • 17mm faucet washer
  • 20mm faucet washer
  • 32mm faucet washer
  • 40mm faucet washer

The sizes listed above do not include all possible sizes but are some of the more common sizes used in various faucets. Options vary based on the manufacturer, type of faucet, and the kind of washer that you need.

How Often Do Washers Need To Be Replaced?

Although many people only replace the washers in their faucet when an issue arises, such as a leak, this is not the best course of action. To optimize the faucet’s lifespan for best results, you should replace washers at least every two years.

In some cases, the washers may need to be replaced more often, depending on the pressure and type of washer.

Which Type Do I Choose For Replacements?

When it comes to replacing faucet washers, you’ll need to determine which kind of washer you need for the replacement. If your faucet is pretty new and there is little to no damage or corrosion, a flat washer will likely do the trick.

If your faucet is older and you notice corrosion or damage, you may need to use a beveled washer. There are times that a flat washer will not fix a leak, and if you notice that to be the case, try using a beveled washer to see if that fixes the leak.

What Kinds Of Washers Are There?

What Kinds Of Washers Are There

The most common material washers are made of is rubber. They are the most affordable option and are typical in many faucets. Some faucet washers may be silicone, Teflon, or nylon, which lasts considerably longer than rubber washers. You can replace Teflon or nylon washers every four to five years.

In faucets, materials like rubber, silicone, and stainless steel are ideal since they are rust-resistant.