There’s no need to a call a plumber to change the lavatory faucets. Even a novice do-it-yourselfer should be able to get the job done in an hour or two. Limited access can make plumbing work difficult and uncomfortable, so open up the workspace around the vanity as much as possible to give you room to move around.Installing a new faucet does not require specialized tools. Before you begin, make sure the new faucet is compatible with your lavatory basin by verifying the number of mounting holes and the centre-to-centre distance.
Verify the number of holes on your lavatory basin or vanity before you choose a faucet. A standard lavatory basin 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 lavatory basin in order to add new accessories, such as soap dispenser, it is preferable to replace the basin because of the difficulty in drilling certain materials.
Measure the center-to-center distance separating the two mounting holes at the back of the lavatory basin. 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 lavatory basin or vanity.
Turn off the water supply using the valves under the vanity. 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 lavatory basin, it is much simpler to install the faucet before you install the basin, then you’ll just have to make the connections.
1.1. Use a pipe 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 lavatory basin.
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 lavatory around the mounting holes.
1.4. Clean and dry the surface of the lavatory basin.
Your lavatory basin may be equipped with a mechanical plug that should be replaced. The following steps will tell you how.
2.1. Unscrew the nut securing the plug pivot under the basin and remove the pivot.
2.2. Unscrew the nut attached to the siphon which supports the body of the mechanical plug.
2.3. Unscrew the nut directly under the base of the lavatory basin.
2.4. Remove the visible part of the plug at the bottom of the lavatory basin.
2.5. Remove the body of the mechanical plug.
If your plumbing system doesn’t have shutoff valves, add them.
3.1. 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.
4.1. If this hasn’t already been done, replace your old rigid supply tubes (PEX or copper) with flexible stainless steel supply tubes, combining durability with easy installation.
4.2. Remove the supply tubes between the faucets and housings.
4.3. Bend your flexible tubes with a spring-type tube bender and cut the remainder with a metal saw.
4.4. Firmly attach flexible tubes by screwing the nuts on to the tailpieces and shutoff fittings.
The new faucet will have one or two handles. If it is a single-handle faucet, the mounting holes on the lavatory may be visible. If this is the case, conceal them with lavatory hole covers designed specifically for this purpose. Screw the nut of the hole cover under the lavatory.
5.1. Run a ¼" bead of silicone caulking (bathroom and kitchen sealant) under the base of the new faucet. 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.
5.2. Insert the faucet tailpieces (metal rods) in the holes. Ensure that the base of the faucet is parallel to the back of the sink.
5.3. Press down firmly to make sure the sealant adheres well to the base and creates a watertight seal.
5.4. Remove excess sealant around the base.
6.1. Install the locknut and nuts to the faucet tailpieces.
6.2. Apply polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape to the threaded ends of the tailpieces to ensure connections are watertight.
6.3. Screw and tighten with a basin wrench or slip joint pliers.
6.4. Remove excess sealant from the base of the faucet.
7.1. Connect your two new flexible stainless steel braided supply tubes to the faucet tailpieces.
7.2. Connect the other end of your supply tubes to the shutoffs. If your tubes are too long, bend rather than cut them.
7.3. Tighten the nuts by hand and use an adjustable wrench to tighten them an additional quarter or half turn.
7.4. Hold the shutoff with another adjustable wrench to avoid damaging the tube.
7.5. Remove the filter cartridge under the faucet spout.
8.1. Apply polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape on all drain threads and screw in the body of the plug.
8.2. Put bathroom and kitchen sealant under the upper ceiling washer (chrome ornament).
8.3. With one hand, apply the upper ceiling washer (on which sealant has already been applied) on the drain hole, and by sliding the other hand under the lavatory basin, insert the body of the plug (equipped with its clamping ring and sealing joints) in the hole.
8.4. Screw the clamping ring under the basin. Don’t force; you could damage the lavatory porcelain. The body of the plug is equipped with a hole for the pivot baguette to pass through, which will make the plug rise and fall. Make sure the hole is correctly aligned with the baguette before tightening the clamping ring.
8.5. Insert the plug in the hole by aligning the notch of its plastic rod with the lateral hole of the body.
8.6. Insert the pivot’s horizontal baguette in the hole. If necessary, turn the plug until the baguette inserts itself in the notch of the plastic rod.
8.7. Hand-tighten the nut securing the baguette.
8.8. Put the mechanical plug in the “open” position; the horizontal baguette should then point downward.
8.9. Insert the vertical rod in the hole behind the faucet.
8.10. Join that rod to the perforated extension rod.
8.11. Identify the hole on the rod closest to the end of the horizontal baguette (pointing downwards).
8.12. Insert the baguette in this hole, then lock it with the locking lever.
8.13. Pull the rod to close the plug, and check the adjustment.
9.1. Turn on the hot and cold water supplies. Conventionally, hot water connections are on the left and cold water on the right.
9.2. Let the water run for a minute to flush the water lines and remove debris that could cause damage to internal parts.
9.3. Verify the water-tightness of all connections, and tighten if necessary.
9.4. Replace the filter cartridge.