Installing or replacing a kitchen faucet is easy to do, even for a novice do-it-yourselfer. The most difficult part of the installation process is removing the old faucets. Once that is done, it really is a piece of cake, because you won’t need any specialized tools or soldering to complete installation. Before you begin, make sure the new faucet is a match for your sink by verifying the number of holes and centre-to-centre distance. An hour or two later, your sink should be operational again.
Verify the number of holes on the sink before you choose a faucet. A standard sink will have between one and four holes. Faucets require one to three holes depending on the model. Even if it is possible to drill the sink in order to add new accessories, such as soap dispenser, it is preferable to replace the sink because of the difficulty in drilling certain materials.
Measure the center-to-center distance separating the two mounting holes at the back of the sink. The center-to-center distance must be the same for the new faucet. Since these are standard measurements, the distance should be either 4” or 8”.
Be sure to wear safety glasses when you’re working under the sink.
Turn off the water supply using the valves under the sink. If you don’t have shutoff valves, shut off the water main, usually located in the basement. Drain the pipes and collect the water by opening the siphon under the sink.
If you are also replacing the sink, it is much simpler to install the faucet before you install the sink, then you’ll just have to make the connections.
1.1 Use a basin wrench to unscrew the union nuts and locknuts. The union nuts secure the faucet supply tubes. The locknuts are screwed in to the faucet tailpieces (metal tubes) to secure the faucet to the sink.
1.2 Spray rusty nuts with a penetrating oil such as WD-40, and wait for about fifteen minutes. It should be easier to loosen them.
1.3 Use a putty knife to scrape old sealant from the surface of the sink.
1.4 Clean and dry the surface.
If your plumbing system doesn’t have shutoff valves, add them.
2.1 Choose shutoff valves that are compatible with your fittings (copper or PVC). If you have copper pipes, opt for easy-to-install solderless compression fitting valves.
If this hasn’t already been done, replace old rigid supply tubes (PEX or copper) with flexible stainless steel braided supply tubes, combining durability with easy installation.
3.1 Remove the supply tubes between the taps and housings.
3.2 Bend your flexible tubes using a spring-type tube bender and cut the remainder with a metal saw.
3.3 Firmly attach flexible tubes by screwing the nuts on to the tailpieces and shutoff fittings.
If the new faucet is equipped with a pullout spray or soap dispenser and your sink does not have the necessary mounting holes, you will have to drill them.
4.1 Determine where you’ll need to drill and mark the spot.
4.2 Drill a round hole of the right size through the sink using a drill fitted with a knock-out punch.
5.1 Insert the metal rods of the faucet into their housings, ensuring that the base of the faucet is parallel to the back of the sink.
5.2 If your faucet has a base, run a ¼" bead of silicone caulking (plumber’s putty) under the base. Even if faucets now have watertight plastic bases, it is recommended to apply sealant during installation to create a watertight seal. This will, however, make the faucet harder to remove when you want to replace it.
5.3 Press down firmly to make sure the sealer adheres well to the base and provides a watertight joint. Remove excess sealant around the base.
6.1 Install the metal friction washer and nuts on the faucet tailpiece.
6.2 Hand-tighten then turn with an adjustable wrench.
6.3 Connect the flexible supply tubes to the housings and tighten the nuts to the tailpieces.
6.4 Connect the other end of the tailpieces to the shutoffs. Slide the nut and pressure fitting ring onto the pipe. Fasten one end of the braided stainless steel supply tube to the bottom of the faucet tailpiece and the other end to the shutoff.
6.5 Hand-tighten then tighten with an adjustable wrench. To prevent damage to the copper tubes, it’s a good idea to hold the valve with another wrench while you tighten them. This also holds for tightening a single-handle faucet.
Most kitchen faucets are now equipped with a pullout spray.
7.1 Run a ¼" bead of sealer on the edge of the base.
7.2 Slide the rod into the sink opening.
7.3 Slide the washer on the rod and tighten nuts with a key or pliers.
7.4 Remove excess sealer on the base of the spray.
7.5 Connect the spray hose to the appropriate pipe under the faucet.
7.6 Hand-tighten then tighten with an adjustable wrench.
7.7 If the spray does not fall back into place, it’s because the hose weight was forgotten. Install and adjust as needed.
8.1 Turn on the hot and cold water supplies. Conventionally, hot water connections are on the left and cold water on the right.
8.2 Let the water run for a minute to flush the water lines and remove debris that could cause damage to internal parts.
8.3 Verify the water-tightness of all connections, and tighten if necessary.