How to Replace a Bathroom Faucet
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Whether you need to troubleshoot a leak in your bathroom sink or want to refresh the room with new fixtures, it’s useful to know how to replace a bathroom faucet. This guide reviews the different steps in replacing bathroom faucets and drains, which can be relatively quick and straightforward tasks with the proper tools and preparation.
Before you begin, determine the type of faucet designed for your bathroom sink. Bathroom sink faucets are single hole, center set or split set, also called widespread.
- A single hole faucet is designed, as the name suggests, to operate through a single hole in the sink. Single handle bathroom sink faucets work this way.
- A center-spread or centerset bathroom faucet is designed for sinks that have three holes about four inches between them. This will have an escutcheon plate linking the pieces on top of the sink.
- A split-set or widespread bathroom faucet is designed for sinks that have holes of six or more inches between them. With these, the faucet and handles will look like three independent pieces from above.
- Before detaching any parts, shut off the faucet water supply, which should be readily accessible under the sink. Clear any items stored under the sink to make the faucet parts easier to reach.
- Turn on the faucet to release pressure from the water lines and then close it.
- Place a bucket or basin under the pipes to catch any water that spills when replacing the drain.
Tip: If you’re replacing the entire bathroom sink or countertop, you may have the opportunity to choose a faucet with a new configuration.
- Disconnect the hot and cold water supply lines to the faucet.
- Unscrew the mounting nuts under the sink that secure the faucet. You may need an adjustable wrench or basin wrench, especially if the nuts are difficult to reach.
- Disconnect the faucet’s lift rod from the drain.
- Pull up the old faucet assembly from the top until it clears the sink. The base may adhere to the sink, so use both hands.
- Clean the top of the sink around the faucet holes with rubbing alcohol or all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a cleaning rag.
Many bathroom faucet replacement kits include new drains, so take this opportunity to replace the drain pipe.
- Having detached the faucet lift rod, use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the slip nut on the bending P-trap pipe under the sink. Use your bucket or basin to catch any spilling water.
- Unscrew the sink drain flange from the tailpiece below the sink.
- Prepare the new drain tailpiece by attaching the nut and gasket as directed.
- Put silicone gel on the underside of the sink flange.
- Place the flange over the drain hole in the sink and screw the tailpiece to the flange from below.
- Tighten the tailpiece nut and gasket. You may want to start by hand and finish with an adjustable wrench.
- Attach the tailpiece to the P-trap and tighten with the wrench.
Tip: Wrap 1-2 layers of plumber’s tape around the tailpiece to make it more leak resistant.
- Remove the new faucet from the packaging.
- Place the rubber or plastic gasket (or gaskets, as provided) so it will fit between the faucet and the top of the sink holes.
- Put the new faucet in position, placing the appropriate valves into their matching holes.
- Seal the edge with a thin layer of bathroom caulk.
- Put a washer over mounting nuts. First attach them by hand, then tighten securely with a wrench or pair of pliers.
- Attach the lift rod to the drain tailpiece.
- Connect the hot and cold water supply lines.
Learning to replace a bathroom faucet can give you more control over your plumbing, whether your fixtures are worn, leaking or just overdue for a change.