Hot Topics: Rusty Faucet Prevention

A silver faucet with water running from it.

Here on we enjoy providing a place where home improvement novices and experts can come together to share ideas and advice. Inside our Forums, users can browse threads to see what exchanges are taking place on a topic of interest or start their own dialogue by posting something for the community to take part in. With over 250,000 members and counting, this resource is quite active so each week we highlight one of the conversations that may just help you with that next DIY project.

When a faucet completely corrodes, is it the fault of the manufacturer or of the plumber who installed it? Opinions in the forum are divided, but this DIYer wants to know how to prevent disintegration in the future.

Original Post: Rusty Faucet

PowerNovice Member

Just removed (was not easy) some really rusty faucets that are not too old (about seven years). This was installed by a licensed plumber. The black stuff is the metal fully corroded. How do I avoid this situation when putting in replacements? Although it might be to a leaky cartridge, I'm thinking of using silicone around the base or spraying parts with WD-40 before install. Thanks in advance!

A rusty faucet.

SDPlumber Member

Yes, to avoid this use silicone or putty around bases. Some faucets have foam or rubber gaskets that are supposed to prevent this.

PowerNovice Member

What's best practice? Set the faucet in a bead of caulk or install first and then put bead around after installed?

PJmax Member

When I reinstall an escutcheon (trim plate) I put a bead of silicone directly on the trim, but I leave an inch or so at the bottom open for any wayward water to drain out. After the plate is put on the wall, put some dish soap on your finger and smooth out the silicone nice and tight to the trim.

Many escutcheon plates have a foam seal on the back, but I haven't found them to be reliable. Oh, and buy the good plates. The universal ones rust out quickly.
Thanks, but this is not a shower trim plate. It's a faucet for a sink. What you see in the picture is the top view (looking directly down on it).

Norm201 Member

That's shoddy workmanship on the plumber's part. Even a cheap faucet should last five to 10 years.

PowerNovice Member

This is the faucet. Pfister uses a plastic ring instead of any rubber gasket at the bottom of the handles. The ring is the thickness of a hair and, in my opinion, does not block any seepage of water, which is inevitable especially with people using the sink like it's a bird bath when washing their face. I was going to use Oatey Stain-Free Putty as I have a white porcelain sink—until I read the label and it said not to use it on ABS plastic (and that it's compatible with most plastics, whatever that means). I don't know what type of plastic it is. What should I do? Put a ring of silicone around the outside of the base of the faucet? Put silicone on the plastic ring and set the metal part of the faucet on top? Would removal later, if necessary, be really tough if I do the latter?

Right now, I'm thinking of putting a very thin ring of clear silicone caulk around the outside perimeter of the base of the faucet.

lawrosa Super Moderator

Wow!!! I don't think it's the plumbers fault. I've put 1000s of faucets on sinks with just plumber's putty. Putty is just to prevent water from leaking down under the cabinet—not as a rust barrier. You're all misinformed. The issue as I see it is a cheap faucet with shoddy metals and a cartridge that leaked and was probably never repaired.

Norm201 Member

Maybe, but Pfister is a quality brand and although it's possible it's bad material, I think the installation is questionable! It was never stated that plumber's putty was used. It should've been. But if it had been, I think this conversation would not be in process.

PowerNovice Member

So, what you guys do? Silicone around it, but not immerse the faucet in it?

FYI, the metal ring really should be make of stainless steel and Pfister should have provided a rubber gasket and not thin plastic. I swear, that plastic piece is probably more narrow than a toothpick. If they wanted thinness for cosmetic reasons, then the visible part can be thin but the wall should extend far up into the faucet handle part to block the water.

Norm201 Member

What can I say? I have two Pfister faucets, both about 25 years old and both working as good as the day they were bought. I have porcelain sinks, so I used plumber's putty. Use the silicone and don't be afraid to use a lot of it.

lawrosa Super Moderator

Most faucets are junk today. Pfister isn't that good. Here's the issue. That's a widespread faucet. The ring/nut was probably steel and it should have been brass. They're dissimilar metals, I would say. There are many variations of how those faucets get mounted. That pic doesn't tell us much, but it's not hard to figure out if you do it for a living.

To read the rest of the thread, look here: //