Replacing an outdated or leaky bathroom faucet is one of the easiest and quickest ways to upgrade your home’s decor. Most new faucets come with step-by-step installation instructions to assist you.
Start by turning off the water supply valves underneath your sink using a basin wrench, then prepare the area by clearing away items and supplies from under it and placing something absorbent on its floor for protection from spills.
Remove the Faucet
Before installing a new faucet, it is necessary to uninstall the old one first. For best results, do this from underneath the sink by searching out and loosening its tailpiece nut using either your hands or wrench (if the latter proves necessary).
If the nut won’t budge, try spraying it with lubricating oil like WD-40 to ease its removal and save yourself some stress and bloody hands. This may save time and prevent more frustrations.
Take care to disconnect the handles and spout from the faucet body before beginning this step. Although this might sound complex, most faucets feature a set screw under their escutcheon rings which can be lifted to expose a screw which will free the handles or spout from its mounts.
Disconnect the Water Supply Lines
Changing an existing faucet involves switching off both hot- and cold-water shutoff valves under your sink, then placing something absorbent on the floor underneath as this may prevent water escaping as you disconnect its lines.
Loosen the slip nut on the drain’s tailpiece with pliers, and carefully pull off the drain. You may need to take additional steps such as unbolting its base flange for it to come off completely.
Now is the time to disconnect the water supply lines, advises TOH plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey. Before beginning, make sure you have plumber’s tape handy and apply it along each thread on each rigid line, followed by using a tubing bender on their ends so they reach more easily the new faucet’s valves (they don’t have to be perfectly straight).
Remove the Spout
Once the lines have been disconnected and mounting nuts have been unfastened, remove the spout from its place in the sink. If there is caulk preventing its removal, use a putty knife to loosen and clean off residue before using a penetrating lubricant to loosen fasteners.
If the spout protrudes from the wall, it will contain either a screw or hex nut (Photo A). To loosen this screw/hex nut with ease, use a socket wrench by gripping and turning it counterclockwise.
Slide the new spout over the pipe and attach it using either its mounting screw, or, if it doesn’t come equipped with one, use a basin wrench. Wrapping your new spout in a towel or cloth may prevent scratching it while making sure that its center and down position remain centered and facing towards you.
Remove the Handles or Knobs
If your faucet features two handles that both control hot and cold water, before proceeding with repairs you must first disconnect one of them using a handle puller tool resembling a corkscrew with jaws that connect directly to the back of each handle and a threaded rod that threads through its hole to push against its valve stem to dislodge it.
Before using any tool, it’s wise to have a towel nearby in case any water drips from taking apart its handle. Pop off its decorative cap and unscrew its screw that secures it – this may require either a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver; some handle designs have pins which might need gripping with pliers in order to successfully open them up.
Install the New Faucet
Richard Trethewey from TOH Plumbing and Heating says newer faucets are designed to be easier than older models to install, yet you still must follow instructions carefully in order to make sure all parts are installed in their appropriate positions and tightened correctly. Otherwise, leaks or even cracked sinks may occur as a result.
Once the old faucet has been uninstalled, it’s time to install the new one. Secure the spout in place, then apply a sealant of plumber’s putty around its base (or escutcheon if included with your model) for a watertight seal.
If you’re having difficulty loosening the nut on the stem cartridge, try using either a rotary tool with a metal-cutting disk or oscillating tool with metal-cutting blade. Or alternatively you could cut off with pliers; though this approach might be more dangerous.