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How to Install a Bathroom Faucet

Quickly install a bathroom faucet by following this expert do-it-yourself advice, illustrated with step-by-step photos.

A split-set bathroom faucet is relatively easy to install, especially if you're starting from scratch with a new cabinet and countertop.©Sunset Publishing Corporation

A split-set bathroom faucet is relatively easy to install, especially if you’re starting from scratch with a new cabinet and countertop.

The difficulty of installing a bathroom faucet depends partly on the type of faucet, but mostly on your access to the underside of the sink and the plumbing setup. Installing a faucet is easiest during new construction, when you’re installing the cabinetry, sink, and countertop, because you can usually do most of the assembly before installing the sink. In situations where you’ll be installing a faucet on an existing sink, access is trickier because it can be awkward working underneath the sink, inside the cabinet. One tool that sometimes makes the job easier is a basin wrench—it allows you to reach up and tighten fittings behind the sink bowl. To make the assembly steps more understandable, in this article we show how to assemble the faucet on a new sink, working above the countertop.[GARD align=”left”]

When buying a faucet, be sure to get one that will fit the configuration of holes in your sink or countertop (or buy a sink that will fit the faucet you want). The number and configuration of holes for a single-piece faucet are different than those required for a split-set faucet like the one shown here.

If you’re replacing an old faucet, you’ll need to begin by removing it. Turn off the shut-off valves that serve the faucet’s supply tubes. Use a wrench to remove the supply tubes’ nuts from the faucet tailpieces. Place a bucket below the supply tubes; they’ll be filled with water, which you’ll need to drain into the bucket. Use a basin wrench to remove the locknuts and the washers on both tailpieces.

If the sink has a pop-up assembly, disconnect it from the faucet and disassemble it to get it out of the way. Then just lift out the faucet.

If the water supply tubes are old and corroded, this is a good time to replace them.

How to Install a Bathroom Faucet: Step-by-Step

Unpack your new faucet and make sure you have all of the necessary parts. If any pre-assembly is required, do that now, according to the manufacturer’s directions. To make assembly of the new faucet easier, work with the countertop upside down on top of the vanity, as shown. If the countertop is considerably larger than our example, prop it upside down on the floor.

Assemble the faucet body and valve components—ideally, working with the countertop turned upside-down.©Sunset Publishing Corporation

Assemble the faucet body and valve components—ideally, working with the countertop turned upside-down.

1Clean the top surface of the countertop where the new faucet will sit. Fit the rubber gaskets (if the faucet and valves have them) onto the faucet’s components, and then push the faucet’s tailpiece up through its mounting hole in the sink or counter. Thread the washer and mounting nut onto the tailpiece. Then drop the valve assemblies into their holes and tighten them in place.

Note the rubber gaskets in the photo: These are meant to create a watertight seal between the faucet body and valves and the counter or sink so that water spilled or sprayed on the counter doesn’t leak down into the cabinet. If your faucet doesn’t have these rubber gaskets, seal the perimeter of the base with plumber’s putty before you insert the parts through the sink or countertop holes.

2Connect the flexible water-supply tubes to the tailpieces. Screw them on, turning the knurled nuts clockwise.  Tighten the nuts with a wrench.

Connect the faucet valves to the faucet body, using flexible tubing.©Sunset Publishing Corporation

Connect the faucet valves to the faucet body, using flexible tubing.

3Connect the valves to the spout if you’re installing a split-set faucet like this one. Wrap the threaded ends of the valves and connecting piece with a couple of turns of pipe-wrap tape, and then screw the parts together. Snug them until tight by hand, and then finish tightening them with an adjustable wrench.

 

4Install the drain pop-up. Assuming that your faucet includes a drain pop-up that allows you to lift the drain stopper with a sink-top lever (most do), the next step is to assemble this. Because the pop-up mechanism is integral to the sink drain tailpiecer, this involves, removing the existing drain tailpiece and then installing the new tailpiece as shown. The spring clip is positioned at the end of the pivot rod—this grips onto the lift rod. For more about pop-ups, please see How to Fix a Pop-Up Drain Stopper.

Install the drain and pop-up assembly, and connect the pop-up to the lift rod.©Sunset Publishing Corporation

Install the drain and pop-up assembly, and connect the pop-up to the lift rod.

5Push the lift rod into the hole in the spout, and then attach it to the pivot rod, using the extension rod and spring clip. If necessary, adjust it so the drain stopper will open and close properly.

 

Turn off water to sinks and toilets at the small valve beneath them. Off is clockwise.LightWaveMedia / Shutterstock.com

Turn the water supply valves counterclockwise to get the water flowing.


6Place the assembled countertop and faucet right-side up on the vanity or cabinet.

Then connect the faucet’s hot and cold water supply tubes to the shutoff valves at the wall, gently bending the flexible supply tubes as required. Turn the compression nuts or flared fittings clockwise until finger-tight, and then snug them tighter with a wrench. [GARD align=”left”]

Turn on the water at the shut-off valves by turning the valve handle counterclockwise. Then turn on the faucet to flush the faucet and line of any debris.

Last, check for leaks from the faucet or supply tubes.

 

How to Install a Kitchen Faucet

Quickly install a kitchen faucet by following this expert do-it-yourself advice on how to install a kitchen faucet with illustrated with step-by-step photos.

Photo: Delta

Photo: Delta

Even with the aid of a nifty tool called a basin wrench that extends your reach, it’s still an awkward task to install a faucet on some kitchen sinks because it’s difficult to work up behind the sink bowls from the cabinet below.

Basin wrench reaches up behind a sink to ease faucet installation. Photo: Superior Tools

Basin wrench reaches up behind a sink to ease faucet installation. Photo: Superior Tools

Removing the sink first can be an easier option, depending upon the type of sink, though this is rarely the case.[GARD align=”right”]

After installing your new faucet as detailed below, remove the aerator from the faucet and flush the lines to ensure that any debris does not clog and reduce the water flow. On a standard faucet, simply unscrew the aerator at the end of the spigot and let the water run for a minute or two. With a pullout sprayer faucet, the aerator/filter is housed in an inlet in the sprayer head. Just unthread the hose, remove the aerator/filter, and flush.

1. Assemble faucet body.

How to Install a Kitchen Faucet: Step-by-Step

Many new faucets require some assembly before mounting to the sink; if that is the case, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

1With most pullout sprayer faucets, the sprayer needs to be threaded through the faucet body first.

2. Thread faucet through holes in sink.

 

2Insert the rubber gasket between the base plate of the faucet and the sink top to create a watertight seal. If no gasket is provided, pack the cavity of the faucet with plumber’s putty, then insert the faucet body through the holes in the sink top. Thread the mounting nuts provided onto the faucet shafts, then center the threaded shafts in the sink’s holes and tighten the nuts firmly.

3. Tighten mounting nuts from below.

 

3Install the mounting nut. Many manufacturers include a special long socket specifically to aid in tightening the mounting nuts. A hole in the socket accepts the shank of a screwdriver, guiding it as you tighten the nuts. If you’re mounting the faucet on an installed sink, use this method.

4. Attach any secondary sprayers or devices.

 

4If you’re installing a pullout sprayer faucet–or a faucet with a separate sprayer–now is the time to connect the sprayer to the faucet body. Check the manufacturer’s directions to see if using pipe-seal tape for this connection is recommended. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the connection.

5. Secure the sprayer’s counterweight.

 

5Add the counterweight. Most pullout sprayer faucets and faucets with separate sprayers come with a counterweight that attaches to the sprayer hose. This weight helps retract the hose back in to the sink cabinet after you’ve used the sprayer. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on where to secure the weight, and take care not to crimp the hose as you attach the weight.

6. Hook up the hot and cold supply lines.

 

6Hook up the faucet’s hot and cold supply lines to the water supply shutoff valves under the sink. If necessary, gently bend the copper tubes coming out of the faucet for better access and connect flexible supply tubes to them. Simply wrap a couple of turns of pipe-seal tape around the threaded nipples on the valves and connect the tubes. Tighten the nuts with an adjustable wrench.

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Plumbing Pro

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How to Repair Faucets & Taps

In This Article:

Reduced Faucet Flow

Expert advice on how to repair a bathroom or kitchen faucet, including how to stop leaks and drips, and fix plumbing problems for various faucet types.

Disassembling a faucet to make basic repairs is a relatively easy job if you have the right tools and know the techniques.©Sima / Shutterstock.com

Disassembling a faucet to make basic repairs is a relatively easy job if you have the right tools and know the techniques.

Unfortunately, faucets are far from standardized, so it’s difficult to generalize about repairs. Most problems can be fixed by disassembling part or all of a faucet and replacing washers, seals, or other parts. It’s a good idea to keep a faucet repair kit on hand—one that contains a variety of washers, O-rings, and similar seals (these are available at hardware stores and home centers).

Nearly all faucets have one of four types of water-flow control mechanisms, referred to as cartridge, compression, ball, or disc. Single-handle faucets have either a cartridge, ball, or disc mechanism. Dual-handled faucets either are cartridge, disc, or compression faucets.

Of all these types, compression faucets are more likely to drip because they have washers or seals that restrict water flow by closing against a valve seat when you turn the handle—and these washers can wear out. The other mechanisms are called “washerless” because they don’t use washers for the off-and-on action; even so, they do have O-rings or neoprene seals to keep them from leaking.

For information about how to fix a faucet that drips, see How to Fix a Leaky Faucet.

Reduced Faucet Flow

If water is not flowing strongly through your faucet, check the aerator. This device mixes air and water and can become blocked with mineral build-up. Unscrew the aerator and either replace it or clean it with hot water and an old toothbrush or toothpick. If that doesn’t do the trick, check the supply valves under the sink—be sure they’re fully open.[GARD align=”right”]

If these measures don’t work, shut off the water to the faucet and disassemble the faucet to check for debris or a dislodged faucet washer.

NEXT SEE:

How to Disassemble a Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Plumbing Pro

Call for free estimates from local pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

How to Repair Faucets & Taps

In This Article:

Reduced Faucet Flow

Expert advice on how to repair a bathroom or kitchen faucet, including how to stop leaks and drips, and fix plumbing problems for various faucet types.

Disassembling a faucet to make basic repairs is a relatively easy job if you have the right tools and know the techniques.©Sima / Shutterstock.com

Disassembling a faucet to make basic repairs is a relatively easy job if you have the right tools and know the techniques.

Unfortunately, faucets are far from standardized, so it’s difficult to generalize about repairs. Most problems can be fixed by disassembling part or all of a faucet and replacing washers, seals, or other parts. It’s a good idea to keep a faucet repair kit on hand—one that contains a variety of washers, O-rings, and similar seals (these are available at hardware stores and home centers).

Nearly all faucets have one of four types of water-flow control mechanisms, referred to as cartridge, compression, ball, or disc. Single-handle faucets have either a cartridge, ball, or disc mechanism. Dual-handled faucets either are cartridge, disc, or compression faucets.

Of all these types, compression faucets are more likely to drip because they have washers or seals that restrict water flow by closing against a valve seat when you turn the handle—and these washers can wear out. The other mechanisms are called “washerless” because they don’t use washers for the off-and-on action; even so, they do have O-rings or neoprene seals to keep them from leaking.

For information about how to fix a faucet that drips, see How to Fix a Leaky Faucet.

Reduced Faucet Flow

If water is not flowing strongly through your faucet, check the aerator. This device mixes air and water and can become blocked with mineral build-up. Unscrew the aerator and either replace it or clean it with hot water and an old toothbrush or toothpick. If that doesn’t do the trick, check the supply valves under the sink—be sure they’re fully open.[GARD align=”right”]

If these measures don’t work, shut off the water to the faucet and disassemble the faucet to check for debris or a dislodged faucet washer.

NEXT SEE:

How to Disassemble a Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Plumbing Pro

Call for free estimates from local pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

How a Ceramic Disc Faucet Works

Ceramic Disc Faucet Diagram

A ceramic disc faucet actually has two fire-hardened ceramic discs—an upper one that moves and a fixed lower one. The two discs move against each other in a shearing action, blocking water or allowing it to pass through. The seal between the two discs is watertight because they are polished to near-perfect flatness. Ceramic disc faucets were first made popular by high-end European faucet makers and now produced by American Standard, Kohler, Price Pfister, and many other American faucet manufacturers.

Ceramic disk faucets are nearly maintenance free and are generally guaranteed not to wear out. Ceramic valves are more durable over the long run in a broader variety of water conditions than any other variety of valve on the market.

The discs themselves have diamond-like hardness—they are impervious to line debris, mineral buildups, and other common problems that affect valve life.

If this type of faucet leaks, the culprits are usually the inlet and outlet seals or sediment buildup in the inlets. The handle should be in the “on” position when repairing a disc faucet to prevent cracking the replacement seals.

If a peeling from galvanized pipe or a small rock gets into the valve, it can score the surfaces, but these occurrences are rare. If a ceramic disc faucet drips, don’t try to force the handle closed—just flutter it back and forth a few times to dislodge any particles.

The range of control with a ceramic disc faucet varies. From full-off to full-on may require only a quarter or half turn; for a fuller adjustment range and greater flow, three-quarter-turn models are also available. In general, all washerless faucets offer very precise, ergonomic control. Even a child can turn one of these faucets off and on with one pinkie. They’re also good for people who have arthritis or who want something more decorative than a lever style.[GARD align=”left”]

Ceramic discs are popular because of their ease of use and reliability. Though competitively priced ceramic disc faucets are now available, ceramic discs that cost $100 or more are used primarily in mid-range and high-end installations. If a repair is ever needed, the entire ceramic disc cartridge is replaced, which runs from about $15 to $25.

How Cartridge & Ball Faucets Work

These helpful diagrams and explanations will show you how two popular types of faucets—cartridge and ball faucets—work.

Two of the most common types of faucets on the market today are cartridge and ball faucets.cartridge-ball-faucet-diagram

Cartridge Faucets

Cartridge faucets have a hollow metal or plastic cartridge insert that seals against the spout or faucet body. Depending on how a series of holes in the cartridge align with the stem, water is mixed and controlled. Drips usually mean the cartridge needs replacing.

Cartridge faucets are referred to as “washerless” because they control flow using methods other than a washer and valve seat (though they do have O-rings and seals to prevent leaking).

Moen makes a washerless single-handle faucet with a hollow plastic-and-brass cartridge insert that seals against the inside of the faucet body with O-rings.

Water flow is controlled by an up-and-down movement of the cartridge; to change water temperature, you just rotate the handle.

Though faucets are available from a low of about $30 to high-end models in the $600 range, most are medium priced at from $60 to $175. These faucets are very reliable—leaks are generally due to simple O-ring failure.

If cartridges ever require replacement, they cost from about $9 to $20, although new Eljer and Moen faucets carry a limited lifetime warranty against leaks and drips.[GARD align=”left”]

Ball Faucets

Ball faucets have a single lever that operates a rotating, slotted metal ball. The slots in this ball align with hot and cold water inlet seats in the faucet body to regulate the amount of incoming water allowed to reach the mixing spout.

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