Tub compression faucet needs to be REALLY tightened to turn off

We've got a bathtub with a compression faucet (two handles). It started to leak a few months ago so we took it apart and replaced the washer. First time doing it; a bit of an experience, but anyway, we got it to stop dripping.
Every once in a while it would start again, just a bit, and then stop. Once I noticed the HANDLE for the hot water leaking, and then that stopped. Made me wonder if it was somehow related, but with something intermittent, who can tell? Anyway, the cold dripping got worse after just about 6 months - got really bad so finally I went in and replaced the washer again. I saw that the previous washer had been squished all to hell and was falling apart. It has stopped dripping now; it's been a few days, but I'm really noticing just HOW TIGHT I have to turn it to shut the water off. One in our household doesn't even have enough hand strength to tighten it that much.
Looking at the handles for the hot and the cold, I see there's about a 1/4" of space between the base of the handle and the wall on the hot (when fully closed) and with the cold, it is almost flush.
So I'm wondering what the problem really is - the current washer isn't going to last very long being super-tightened - why is it that it has to go so "deep" to shut it off?
Incidentially, we had a few hours of dribbling of warm water from the hot handle a few days ago and then it stopped - I have no idea what that is, but I have this idea that some extra pressure when things are closed up is leaking out and that's the weakest link - how cold water could cause hot water to leak is beyond me.
I'm describing a lot here; I think my primary question is why do I have to tighten the cold faucet so much to get it to close?
Thanks for any help,
Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@portigal.com wrote:

It sounds like the seat (the part the washer closes on) is not in good shape and needs to be replaced or resurfaced. I suggest you get new washers at the same time because the current ones are likely already toast.
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Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

<snipped>
Yes, and if the faucet seat is not removeable there's an inexpensive little hand operated "dressing" tool which will "file" the seat smooth for you, i.e. do the "resurfacing" Joseph refers to.
There's one shown in use on this faucet repair page:
http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=pg&p=Repair/RepairCompFauc.html&rn=RightNavFiles/rightNavEnergy%20
HTH,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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Doesn't look like it's removable - at least we couldn't get a faucet seat wrench in there - it looks pretty round - not sure if there is something deeper inside that a wrench would click with - but we got a wrench with 3-square and 3-hex options and none went through. So we got a dressing tool and gave that a shot.
Still leaks.
I think it may be time to call a plumber, we've been messing with this for months now, to no avail.
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We did call a plumber, in fact. The seat was removable but it was completely stripped and he had a hard time getting it out. He used some tool that was a tapered threaded stick - perhaps it was reverse threaded; I don't know ("if you want to watch, it'll cost extra; if you want to help, it'll cost even more"). He showed me that it was badly corroded and had a notch out of it that would never make the seal.
There was no way I could have removed it myself; definitely worth it to have someone with the tools and the expertise come and do it. In fact, he replaced all three stems and seats, for $187. They were all pretty messed up; it was amazing that the hot hadn't begun to leak yet.
It was a great learning experience for us (thanks to help from resources like this group and the kind and encouraging people here and elsewhwere); glad to have things back up to speed beyond what we could do. Part of it is the tools, mostly it's the experience.
I guess our water has a lot of calcium in it and the deposits can really play havoc with the fixtures.
Another thing I learned - the sleeves that come out of the wall are removable (who knew?!) but it took a lot of wrenching with a big-ass wrench for the plumber to actually get 'em out. I would have assumed they were part of the permanent install and wouldn't even have tried, but it's certainly easier working with the stems etc when you can get right in there!
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Try www.tubgirl.com
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I don't know why as you asked. I had a leakier as well. Did much damage behind the wall. I spent the bucks and put in a new "lifetime guaranteed" single handled faucet. Along with new tub, tiles, etc.
snipped-for-privacy@portigal.com wrote:

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I wonder if the problem is really totally with the valve or if he has an overpressure situation when the water heater comes on. Possibly needs an expansion tank. Or if he has a pressure dropping valve on entrance that is defective.
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This was covered in Episode 39 of the 3 Stooges. Curly discovered that all the pipes in the basement were full of wires. As he so aptly told Moe: 'Hey, Moe! these pipes is full of wires'. So they took out the wire, and reconnected the pipes to the water line... and when the chef turned on the light switch.... water came out of the light fixture... and ... get this... the stove too!!!!!!
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