Diagnosing a constant dripping from my shower, I eventually replaced the hot water faucet stem. I have not yet finalized it with sealant or plumber's putty, so to dry the area of any resulting moisture, I've been screwing on and off the compression sleeve and handle every time I want to use the shower.

But, I have been noticing that after I use the shower and subsequently remove the handle and sleeve, the faucet stem has a collection of water on it that I wouldn't expect if I had installed everything correctly. Wet faucet stem

  • A result of the lack of sealant? I wouldn't have expected that much water to collect over the duration of a relatively short use of the shower.
  • An issue with the packing nut? I thought that particular nut only controlled the friction of the turning of the handle.
  • An issue with the gasket or seat? These would cause leaks like I had before, out of the shower head, right?
  • What else would cause this?

Feel free to suggest corrections to my terminology in the comments.

  • By seal with putty you mean on the tile under the escutcheon? Not, I hope, on the stem itself? Jul 5, 2018 at 13:30
  • I was asking about that in my other question because when I removed it, the stem had putty all around it.
    – palswim
    Jul 5, 2018 at 22:22
  • The stem itself or the tile around the stem? Jul 6, 2018 at 12:05
  • @TheEvilGreebo: It seemed like previously, someone wanted to fill the hole around the stem with plumber's putty, and the plumber's putty definitely touched the stem itself (the larger part at the base).
    – palswim
    Jul 7, 2018 at 6:13
  • Well that's wrong. The stem needs to turn freely. Unless you mean the valve body which is the bigger part by the wall. In any case, the putty should just seal the metal cover ring (ie: the escutcheon) to the wall. Put a ring of putty all the way around the inside of the escutcheon so that it will make good contact with the tile when pressed against it. Jul 9, 2018 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


Your stem is getting wet because water is getting behind the escutcheon when you use it. Water gets everywhere inside a shower so it'll run down the walls, drip onto the stem, and then run down hill towards the end of the stem.

Seal the escutcheon with plumbers putty against the tile and you should find the issue resolves. enter image description here

  • In the ironic twist that prompted this question, I won't be able to check if the issue has resolved once I seal the escutcheon.
    – palswim
    Jul 11, 2018 at 18:16

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