How to Replace a Bathroom Faucet

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Categories Faucets
Replacing a bathroom faucet is easy — just follow these steps.

Are you trying to give your bathroom a well-deserved makeover but have a tight budget? Or, do you enjoy DIY projects and want to try your hand at replacing the faucet in your bathroom? Either way, you’ve clicked on the right page.

Installing a new fixture is relatively easy, and it may only take a few hours. However, before you dust off the old plumber’s belt, read through our guide on how to replace a bathroom faucet.


Things to Consider Before You Start

Consider the following before you attempt the replacement:

  • Replace everything: Some DIYers don’t replace parts such as supply lines and drains. However, we highly recommend you do. Old hoses may fail soon, so save some time and get it done in one go. Many manufacturers even include everything in the package.
  • Say “yes” to tools: Some manufacturers, such as Moen, include tools to assist you. These can be a helpful timesaver, so take advantage.
  • Read instructions: Each faucet may require a different installation process. Make sure to read the included instructions along with our guide below.

What You’ll Need

Before you start turning nuts and shut-off valves, it’s essential you have everything ready. Being unprepared is a recipe for disaster. Here are some things you’ll need:

  • Basin wrench.
  • Adjustable wrench.
  • Rags or towels.
  • Buckets (one or two).
  • Putty knife.
  • Plumber’s putty.
  • Silicone caulk.
  • New faucet.

How to Replace a Bathroom Faucet

Now that you have the tools and some considerations in mind, let’s get started.

This is the step process you’ll follow:

Step 1: Clear the Space

Duck under the bathroom sink and remove any obstacles. You need to be able to move freely. Make sure you take out everything and place a rag or towel at the bottom.

Then, get a bucket ready.

Step 2: Turn off the Supply Valves

Locate the hot and cold supply valves and proceed to turn them to the “Off” position. You do this by rotating them clockwise until they’re tight.

Then, open the tap and ensure no water comes out.

If the water continues to flow, check that the valves are completely off. If so, and water still drips, they may need a replacement as well.

Step 3: Disconnect the Lines and Pipes

Before you disconnect anything, place a bucket underneath to catch trapped water.

Then, proceed to detach the p-trap. It’s the gooseneck-shaped pipe under the sink, connecting the faucet to the drain. Turn the nuts at the two ends counter-clockwise to separate them — you can use your fingers or a wrench.

After the p-trap is off, disconnect the water supply valves from the old faucet. Use a basin wrench or an adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts. Once manageable, use your fingers to unscrew the rest.

Heads-up

Some faucets turn clockwise to loosen and counter-clockwise to tighten. If yours aren’t releasing, try the other way.

Step 4: Disconnect the Old Faucet

Underneath the faucet sits a couple of nuts to secure it in place — usually above the supply line connections.

Unscrew these using either your hand or a wrench. If they’re too tight, apply some WD-40 spray.

Step 5: Remove the Drain

This is perhaps one of the most complicated steps.

Behind the pipes and sink runs a long bar. This is called the “clevis strap.” It has a small clip attached called a “spring clip.” Remove the clip and uproot the strap so the drain can turn freely.

Then, remove the drainpipe by unscrewing it using a wrench or by hand. After this, detach the sink flange (top part of the drain), and pull it out. You should now be able to pull out the entire faucet effortlessly.

Step 6: Clean the Area

After the old faucet is gone, there will likely be some silicone or plumber’s putty residue left. Use a putty knife to scrape off any leftovers, then go over again with a sponge and soapy water.

For stubborn debris, use mineral spirits, but remember to wear gloves.

Step 7: Bring in the New Faucet

Grab some plumber’s putty and apply a small amount to the outline of the faucet.

Then, take the gasket and glide it onto the bottom of your fixture. Place the supply lines through the hole(s).

Duck under the sink, and use your basin wrench to tighten the nuts. If you have a double-handle faucet, fasten little by little, so each side is equal. Before it’s completely secured, get up and verify that everything is aligned correctly — if so, tighten fully.

Some manufacturers require you to install the handles yourself. There should be screws hidden under a small, removable cover. Take the cover off and secure the handles to the faucet. It’s fairly straightforward, but consult your instructions for specific guidance.

Step 8: Install the Drain

Some manufacturers include a partially assembled drain where the gasket and drain nut is already in place. If so, separate them from the sink flange.

Take a small amount of plumber’s putty or silicone and apply it under the sink flange. Then, from under the sink, position it into place.

Install the gasket and screw the drain nut in its spot again. Use your basin wrench to tighten it.

Step 9: Position the Drain Pipe and Rod

There’s a small hole at the side for the drain rod. Before you screw the drain pipe in place, ensure that the gap is facing away from you, toward the back.

This is for the rod that controls the drain stopper, which you open and close to fill your sink. Once the hole sits correctly, loosen the pivot nut, and pull the rod through. Replace the clevis strap and spring clip.

Then, pull the drain rod through the holes in the clevis strap, and secure it using the screw. Get back up, and tighten the pivot nut.

Step 10: Reconnect Supply Lines

Once your faucet sits securely in place, it’s time to reconnect the supply lines. We recommend replacing these as well; most manufacturers include new ones. This is insurance that nothing will break or leak in the near future.

When you connect, ensure that you attach cold to cold and hot to hot.

Tighten using your wrench until they’re snug, but not too tight. Over-tightening could make them vulnerable to leaks.

Step 11: Install the P-Trap

Place a nut at each end of your p-trap, and connect to the faucet and drain. Verify that the trap sits slightly above the vertical pipe — an inch or two is perfect.

Step 12: Flush the Faucet

Flushing is a vital step before using a new faucet. It removes residue and debris from the manufacturer (1). Start by removing the aerator from the nozzle. Some products include a specialized tool for this.

Then, open the valves and levers, and let the water run for a couple of minutes. You can alternate between hot and cold. Turn the water off again, and replace the aerator.

Step 13: Check for Leaks

Return to under the sink with a paper tissue. Run it over the pipes and drain to check for any leaks. If you spot moisture, verify its source and perhaps tighten a screw.

If no leaks occur, then congratulations, you’re done!

How to Measure for Your New Faucet

When it comes to measuring for a new bathroom fixture, a couple of things are essential to jot down:

One or Two-Hole Sink?

Verify how many holes there are in your sink — try to match that with your new faucet. If there are two or more, you can choose nearly any configuration and cover-up additional gaps with a deck plate. For double handles, avoid buying a single — drilling new holes is risky and can cause damage.

Measure the Spread

The spread indicates the length between the two outer gaps — the spout in the middle and levers to the sides.

For precise measurements, it’s recommended to remove the faucet first. If you’ve decided on a single-lever fixture, jot down the size of the middle gap.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathroom Faucet?

Depending on the brand or manufacturer, bathroom fixtures can be pricey, although not as bad as kitchen products. High-end companies such as Hansgrohe can range between $100 to $2,000. On the other end of the spectrum is a brand like Premier Faucet, which varies between $25 to $200.

However, if DIYing isn’t for you, expect to pay a plumber anything between $240 to $550. And that’s only for the installation — if damages or other things need to be handled, it will add to the cost (2).

Different Types of Bathroom Faucets

The cost and difficulty of installation also depend on the type of fixture you choose. Some require special skills.

Here are some common examples:

  • Widespread: Widespread faucets have two handles sitting separately on each side. They generally sit about 7 or 8 inches apart. Some manufacturers increased the distance a little further, sometimes to 10 inches or more.
  • Single handle: Single-handle faucets consists of a spout and a lever. They require only one hole for installation.
  • Bridge: A bridge brings a classic look to a bathroom. It’s a popular design defined by a connecting pipe between the spout and handles. It requires only a two-hole sink.
  • Deck mount: This type of faucet is installed directly on the counter or vanity as opposed to the sink. Unless holes are already present, these are challenging to install.
  • Wall mount: These faucets sit on the wall behind the sink. Beautiful, but tricky to install DIY-style. They’re generally available as widespread, but you can also find them with a single handle.

Was That So Hard?

Installing a new faucet in your bathroom is a great way to vamp up the room. It can also be very easy, if you’re prepared. For the best results, measure your current faucet configuration.

If you have several holes on your sink, there’s a wide selection of faucets to choose from. However, for one-hole basins, we recommend finding a similar model. Don’t forget to read the manufacturer instructions since they may vary.

We hope you found our guide on how to replace a bathroom faucet helpful. Will you try to do it yourself or opt for a plumber? Please let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Peter Gray

Peter has been a homeowner for 35+ years and has always done his own repair and improvement tasks. As a retired plumber, Peter now spends his time teaching others how they can fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements on a budget.
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