Sometimes, the hardest part of installing a new faucet is removing the old one. Mineral deposits build up around old fittings, making it tough to disconnect the faucet from the sink deck. Be prepared to go to battle with your old faucet if it’s been there a while, especially if you have hard water.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
New faucet including pop-up and drain, tailpiece, P-trap, and adapter (if applicable—preferably PVC or ABS with slip-joint fittings)
- Tongue-and-groove pliers
- Adjustable wrench
- Scouring pad
- Basin wrench
- Close quarter hacksaw or reciprocating saw with 6-inch bimetal blade*
- Pillow or large kneeling pad
- Old knife
- Penetrating oil
- Scour pad and rags
- New stainless-steel braided water supply lines*
- Tefl on tape and/or pipe joint compound
- Plumber’s putty*
- Silicone caulking
- Caulking gun
* If applicable
The most important detail to know when choosing a new faucet is what kind of faucet your sink/vanity can accommodate. Are you mounting into your sink or your vanity? How many holes does it have? What is the spread between the holes (the hole pattern or hole spread)? The most common hole pattern for a bathroom faucet is 4 inches, but it could be a single hole, or an 8-inch spread or greater (known as widespread). It helps to take a photo of your old faucet to help with choosing a new one, or take the old faucet with you to the store. Spout length and height are crucial elements, because they aff ect how the water falls in the sink. The depth of your basin will also aff ect how the water falls. Keep in mind that the higher the spout and the shallower the basin, the more the water will splash outside the sink.
Typically, bathroom faucets are sold with a new pop-up and drain body. However, if your pop-up and drain are in good condition and have the same fi nish as the new faucet, you can leave them as is. If you’ll be changing your pop-up, it’s best to purchase a new tailpiece and P-trap as well. Make sure you buy the right size—bring the old one with you to be sure of pipe diameter, length, and overall setup and length. This installation uses PVC or ABS drain pipes and P-traps with compression-type slip-joint fi ttings. Working under a sink can disorient your sense of lefty loosey, righty tighty. Make sure you’re unscrewing the old parts in the right direction. With any faucet, always read the manufacturer’s installation instructions and safety precautions.
PREP WORK: TO REMOVE THE OLD FAUCET
• Clear away everything from under your sink for a clutter-free work space.
• Set a flashlight under the faucet and place a pillow or kneeling pad under you to work comfortably.
• Shut off the water from the shut-off valves.
• Turn the water on at the faucet to relieve pressure.
• Unscrew the water supply line from the faucet and shut-off valves (a).
• Spray the mounting nuts with penetrating oil and let it soak in (b).
• With a basin wrench, unscrew the mounting nuts (c).
• Loosen the clevis screw on the pop-up.
• Pull out the old faucet.
TO REPLACE THE OLD POP-UP AND DRAIN
• Unscrew the retaining nut and pull out the pivot ball/rod to the pop-up
• Unscrew and remove the P-trap (d). (Be aware that mucky water will be in the trap—have a bucket handy to dump it.) Plug up the stub-out pipe coming from the wall with a rag.
• Spray the sink locknut holding the rubber gasket to the sink with penetrating oil. Also spray the drain flange.
• Unscrew the locknut.
• Unscrew the drain flange. Often this part won’t budge—you may need to cut the drain pipe just above the T-connector and locknut. You can do this with a close quarter hacksaw or reciprocating saw with a metal blade (e).
• Pull out the old pop-up.
THE PROJECT: INSTALL THE NEW FAUCET
1. Read your faucet’s instructions and safety precautions. Acquaint yourself with the faucet parts.
2. Clean away residue on your sink or vanity that may remain from the old faucet with a scour pad.
3. Assemble your faucet as directed in its instructions.
4. A faucet will use either a gasket or plumber’s putty to create a seal between it and the deck (the top side of the sink or counter). Insert the gasket as directed, or apply plumber’s putty under the faucet. (Roll room-temperature putty in your hands to make a 1⁄2 inch rope. Press it around the perimeter of the faucet—enough so that when you press the faucet in place, excess squeezes out.)
5. Guide the faucet into the deck holes. Orient it so the handles and spout are facing the right direction. If using putty, press firmly.
6. Thread and tighten the faucet nuts under the sink with a basin wrench. Remove any excess putty that may squeeze out.
7. Looking from underneath the sink, wrap Tefl on tape clockwise around the inlet threads. (It’s the same direction as you’ll be tightening the supply lines.)
8. Screw the supply lines to the inlets with a basin wrench. Then screw them to the shut-off valves with an adjustable wrench or pliers. Don’t let the lines spin as you’re tightening them. INSTALL THE NEW DRAIN, POP-UP, AND P-TRAP There are numerous trap and drain setups. The following steps cover a typical pop-up, trap, and drain confi guration.
9. Put a bead of plumber’s putty or silicone adhesive around the underside of the drain fl ange and press it into the drain hole. Wipe away any excess that squeezes out.
10. Slip the locknut, washer, and rubber gasket onto the top of the drain body (in that order, so when screwed in place, the rubber gasket will press against the sink surface).
11. Apply Tefl on tape or pipe joint compound to the threads of the drain body. Under the sink, insert the threaded end of the drain body into the drain flange and screw it in tight. Then tighten the locknut with tongue-and-groove pliers until it’s snug against the sink. Do not over-tighten. Be sure that when it’s tight, the hole for the pop-up (T-connector hole) faces the back of the sink.
To purchase a copy of Norma Vally’s Bathroom Fix-Ups, go to wiley.com.
© 2009 by Norma Vally. Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.