May 072012
Fixing a Delta two-handle faucet
Fixing a Delta two-handle faucet

Fixing a Delta two-handle faucet

A two-handle Delta bathroom faucet started leaking from the spigot recently. Rather than calling a plumber and spending triple digits for a simple repair, I decided to tackle it myself. I first did some research on the Internet and concluded that the mostly likely solution is to replace the seat and spring in the affected handle unit assembly. Apparently these will start failing with repeated use.

I didn’t find a good online step-by-step guide for fixing two-handle Delta faucet leaks so I decided to document my repair. It only took me about 15 minutes to do the repair.

Before tackling this repair, you’ll need an adjustable wrench (or gripping pliers), a small screwdriver, a set of hex wrenches, and a replacement set of seats and springs.

Tip: Take photos of the faucet assembly as you take it apart so you remember how it all fits back together.

Tools for fixing leaking faucet

Tools for fixing leaking faucet








1) First determine if the leak is in one handle unit or both.  You can so this by alternatively shutting off the hot and cold water supply beneath the sink. In my case, the dripping stopped when I turned off the hot water supply so I knew this handle unit was affected.

Replacement set of seats and springs

Replacement set of seats and springs








2) Turn off the water source at the affected handle unit. Obviously very important if you don’t want to get wet!

3) Close the sink stopper and cover sink with towel. Before you take anything apart, close the sink stopper and/or cover the sink with a bath towel so that any little pieces do not fall down the drain.

Shut drain stopper and cover drain hole

Shut drain stopper and cover drain hole








4) Remove the handle. Unscrew the handle counterclockwise.

Remove faucet handle

Remove faucet handle








5) Remove the handle housing. Unscrew the set screw with a hex wrench. You’ll need to try several sizes to find a fit. Mine was 3/32″.

Remove handle housing

Remove handle housing








6) Remove 1/4 turn stop. Remove this small plastic piece by hand.

Remove 1/4 stop

Remove 1/4 stop








7) Remove bonnet nut. Use an adjustable wrench or pliers to unscrew the nut.

Remove bonnet nut

Remove bonnet nut








8.) Remove the stem unit assembly. Use your hand or pliers to pull this out.

Remove stem assembly

Remove stem assembly








9) Remove the seat and spring. Use a small screwdriver to lift out the black rubber seat and spring underneath. Note the orientation of the spring underneath the seat.

Remove the seat and spring

Remove the seat and spring








10) Replace the seat and spring. If the spring is not symmetrical, make sure it is oriented correctly. Carefully place the new seat and spring into the small hole.

11) Reassemble the faucet parts in reverse order.

Congratulations, you just saved the cost of a plumber’s house call.


  53 Responses to “How to Fix a Leaking Delta Two-Handle Bathroom Faucet”

  1. Re; Step 4. I cannot get the handle off by turing it counter clockwise. It won’t budge. Any suggestions?


    • It helps to have a firm grip on the handle to unscrew it. I use a rubber glove with a textured grip or one of those rubber pads designed for unscrewing jar lids. Good luck.

  2. Best instructions for a leaking-delta-two-handle-bathroom-faucet on the net. Thanks a lot!

  3. Good instructions. I’ve done this before and it worked well. However, this time after I replaced the seat and spring, I could not turn off the water. When I turned on the water source, water ran from the faucet and turning the handles did not turn off the water. I tried switching the position of the stem assembly (it can fit in 2 ways), but that didn’t help. I also tried switching the 1/4 turn stop position, but that didn’t help either. Do you have any suggestions?

    • I was going to suggest switching the stem assembly position but you’ve already tried it. Only thing I can think of is to disassemble it and reassemble it. Good luck.

      • This happened to me as well, spring was upside down. Reseating it and making sure the bonnet nut was re-tightened took care of it for me

  4. Where can I get these parts our local hardware store does not have them ?

  5. After replacing seats and springs and putting handles back on. The water only trickles. I have tried taking stem out and putting back in several times without luck. How can I fix this?

    • Hi Kerry
      Did you ever solve this problem? I am having the same issue. After replacing the stem unit & the seat and spring, the leak has improved but still occurs.


  6. Thank you!! The only thing I did different was reverse steps 6 and 7.

  7. My “handy-man” skill level is about a 3 out of 10. I found this super easy to do, and all it cost was $4 for a replacement spring set. thanks

  8. These instructions were great, thanks! My only comment is that, like Natasha, I had to do Step 7 before Step 6.

  9. Thank you so much! Very easy directions to follow. However, now that I have reassembled it, it’s leaking around the base of the handle whereas it wasn’t before. Did I not tighten something enough? Or perhaps I need a new o-ring?

    • Laura – It shouldn’t be leaking around the base if it wasn’t before. I would make sure that you installed the black rubber seat and spring in the correct orientation. This is important if your rubber seat is not symmetrical. Good luck!

      • Wow, what a fast reply! I took it apart and noticed there were still some mineral deposits around the o-ring that I missed when I was cleaning the parts. When I put it back together the leak was gone so maybe that was it. Thanks again!

  10. I read your write up after trying to replace my seat and spring. Like one of the responders when I turn the water source back on water comes out of the faucet and I can’t get it to turn off with the faucet handles. I’m going to guess it has to do with the seat and spring. When I took it out the seat popped out and at first I didn’t realize there was a spring to it. Therefore I did not note the spring position. When I put the new ones in I just put the spring in the hole and put the seat on top of it.

    Is the correct method to put the seat on the spring and put the entire thing in and should it go all the way down into the hole I see there? Also, how do I know if the spring is right side up or not and if it is oriented correctly? As I said, it came apart when I took the stem out so I have no idea how the seat and spring were originally.

    Any help is appreciated especially if you think the problem isn’t with the stem or spring after all. I’m just guessing based on what is written here already.


    • Debbie – From my memory, the seat and spring goes all the way into the hole. The spring has a fatter and skinnier diameter end. I believe that the fatter end should face down the hole and the seat goes on top of the skinnier end of the spring (which faces up). Also make sure there are no pieces of debris in the hole. Good luck.

  11. Good instructions, but I can’t get past step one…taking of the handle. Don’t have a set screw and the handle cover…just a tiny hole. Any suggestions?

    • Does the hole have a small hex screw in it? If so, you’ll need a small hex wrench to remove it.

      • I have a small hex wrench , but nothing seems to fit. At least I cannot get the set screw to turn. So I gave up and now the water cannot be shut off with the faucet. What trick can I use to get the set screw loose/

  12. I have replaced washers and springs among with new inserts,but the faucet keeps dripping. I have the water off at the outside shutoff but is still keeps on dripping. Why would it keep dripping if I have the water off at the outside? I have no inside turnoff valves. Can you help me!

  13. I can’t get the bonnet screw off. It is really on tight, and looks like it might be sealed. I don’t want to try too hard…I’m afraid of breaking something!


  14. Thanks for the step by step! For $3.99 for the new seat and spring (w/an extra to spare) I fixed the leak myself.

  15. I had to do step 7 before I could do step 6 (I think because of corrosion). No more leaks I got it done. Well written instructions. Thank you for your information and help.

  16. The seats that came with the replacement kits had flared out at the bottom, making them impossible to place inside the hole over the springs (narrow side up). I wound up having to trim the flared rubber pieces and they finally did fit. But I am running into the same problem that Mr. Lowry is describing: I’ve turned off the water lines under the sink but I’m still getting a slow drip. Do the water lines or valves need replacing, too? Very young plumbing we’re dealing with.

  17. Your instructions were terrific. I fixed hot and cold seats and springs in 20 minutes. The cost was $3.98 for parts. It works perfectly. Thanks for putting this on the internet. Very helpful and much appreciated.

  18. Trying this in the morning,looks super easy, but we will see!

  19. Thank you very much! The hardest part was the 3/32 set screw which didn’t match my wrench too well.

  20. The directions were great and our leak has stopped however when my husband put the handles back on they now go back further than they should
    until they hit the backboard of the sink. Meaning previously when we turned off the water it stopped horizontally, now the handles go beyond where they should and hit the back board. It’s not necessarily a problem as the water turns on and off and the leak did stop, however it might be awkward for people that use the sink. Any suggestions?

    • I should be a way to put the handles back on the way they were previously. Try re-positioning the handle before you tighten them.

  21. In reference to the Step 5 (Remove the handle housing), when using the hex wrench as shown to remove the handle housing, evidently the set screw is stripped. Therefore, the handle housing will not loosen to be removed. Any suggestions?

    • That’s unfortunate. I am not sure what to advise you if the screw is stripped. You might need to consult with a plumber unless someone else has a suggestion.

  22. The screws fell down inside the faucet hole. I cannot retrieve them. What usually stops the screws from falling all the way down?

    • I’m not sure where your screws fell down but perhaps you can try to retrieve them with a strong magnet if you have one. Good luck.

  23. Worked like a charm. Thank you! A plumber quoted me almost $200 and said I would need a cartridge. Turns out no cartridge needed. All I needed to do was change the seat and springs. My faucet is almost similar to this one so it was VERY helpful. Thank you!! I also had to swap steps 6 and 7.

  24. I removed the hex screw and still cant get the handle off. What do I do?

    • The handle housing should just come off after you take the screw out. Perhaps it’s just a little tight. Maybe you can try to exert some upward leverage at the bottom of the housing with a large screwdriver or another tool. Good luck.

  25. I have everything back together but, the hex bonnet, it doesn’t reach the threads so I can screw it on.

  26. I have the cartridge in but the hex bonnet does not reach the threads to screw it on!

    • The bonnet nut should go back in the way it was removed. Are you sure that the cartridge you installed is the same size as the one you took out?

  27. Having replaced seats and springs in two separate faucets, Hot and cold, I have a new problem. When you turn on the cold faucet the hot facet leaks. Used individually they work fine. Why?

  28. Is it the same for delta dual handle shower faucet setup?

  29. Thanks you SOOO much!!! I spent two days of this and no help from Delta. I had the spring upside down and the water would not turn off. I switched it and now it works great. BTW……Delta will send you replacement parts (stems, springs and seats) for a no cost.

  30. Thanks! Following your directions I fixed my faucet in 10 minutes!

  31. Do you know what your faucet specifically is called? We have one exactly like the one in your photo and are hoping to find a matching one for a 2nd sink in the room. Ours was installed in 2004, so maybe it isn’t even sold now…? Fingers crossed!!

  32. Have a leaking 20 year old Delta bathroom two-handle. Removed the handle screw and the vertical screw on top, but cover will not release and there is no sign of a horizontal set screw hole anywhere.
    Tried jimmying with screwdriver after spraying vinegar solution to dislodge mineral buildup but no luck. Ideas?

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