Installing a widespread faucet is different than installing other types of faucets. It's almost identical to installing a center-set model, with just slight variations. While it's a simple do-it-yourself job, there are a few things you need to be mindful of. Here are a few tips, and mistakes to avoid when you install your new faucet.
Not Measuring the Counter
Some common materials used for countertops will be thicker than others. Granite, marble, and other thick stone materials may require a faucet extension for the widespread faucet to slide down all the way through the underside of the sink. You can find extension kits at any home improvement retailer. It's a good idea to measure the thickness of your counter before you purchase the faucet. This way you can grab the extension kit without making another trip.
Avoiding Snap In Fittings
Many faucet manufacturers now offer snap-in fittings. This will allow you to get a watertight connection with very little effort. You may have to pay a few extra bucks for a faucet with this feature, but it can save valuable time when you replace your faucet. Don't overlook this feature just because it costs more.
Not Using the Template
Since you may need to cut a hole for the faucet, most widespread faucet manufacturers will include a template for you to follow. If you use this you can guarantee yourself accurate placement. If you choose not to use the template or spec sheet that comes with the faucet, you risk having an off center faucet. It may not be easy to cover any mistakes, especially if it involved you drilling a hole through your counter.
Doing the Job Alone
While it's a simple project, it's a good idea to have someone helping you. There is no way you can be under the sink and see what you are doing above it at the same time. Allowing someone to be your eyes while you tighten things under the sink will save you time.
Forgoing Putty or Silicone
Plumbers putty or silicone sealant are a must for this type of installation. You will need to use this around the faucet housing to create a tight seal. You will also need it around the supply tubes, and possibly around the valve body. Anyplace a hole was created needs to be sealed.
Many modern bathrooms and kitchens have a soap dispenser. If you've purchased a new widespread faucet, chances are it will have the soap dispenser as well. You can find faucets that don't include this, but if you have one, or want one, it's easy to install. Just be sure to use the spec sheet or template to create the cuts in the counter if your existing set up doesn't have one.