How to Swap Out a Bathroom Faucet

A budget-friendly way to customize your bathroom is by replacing a builder-grade or dated faucet with a shiny, new model that's better suited to your taste. This plumbing project may seem intimidating, but it's actually an easy DIY project that can be done, in most cases, in less than an hour.

Installing a new bathroom faucet

Installing a new bathroom faucet

A great way to customize a bathroom is by replacing a builder-grade or outdated faucet with a new one that is suited to your decorating taste. A project like that may be intimidating, but it’s an easy DIY project that can be done, in most cases, in under an hour.

Materials Needed

  • new faucet
  • channellock pliers
  • Teflon tape
  • plumber's putty
  • adjustable crescent wrench

Remove Existing Faucet and Drain

Shut off hot and cold water supply lines to existing faucet or shut off water to bathroom. Remove existing faucet and drain. Tip: When selecting new faucet, remember that they come in all different sizes and configurations. Measure existing faucet to make sure new one will fit. 

Insert New Faucet

Make sure sink area where new faucet will be mounted is clean and free from debris, old caulk, etc. that might prevent a nice, tight fit. Insert new faucet into sink holes. On the underside of faucet, put locknuts (Image 1) and washers on the inlet shanks and finger-tighten in place (Image 2).

Connect Water Supply Lines

Wrap threaded portion of inlet shanks (parts hanging down from faucet to which hot and cold lines connect) with Teflon tape. This will prevent water from leaking through threads. Screw hot and cold supply onto matching inlet shanks and finger tighten. Finish tightening with a crescent wrench. Do not turn water supplies back on until drain has been replaced.

Dry Fit Drain

Most drains come assembled, so unscrew sink drain opening from drain body. Wrap threads on top of drain body with Teflon tape (Image 1). Screw sink drain opening back onto drain body (Image 2). Remove flange (portion that goes into the sink) and dry fit drain in place to make sure pipes line up properly. Tip: Things don't always go as planned when doing DIY projects. If the drain doesn't meet existing pipes properly, take measurements of existing pipes to the hardware store. A specialist can help with selecting the proper parts to finish your project.

Install Drain

Roll a small wad of plumber's putty between hands into a "snake" that's long enough to reach around circumference of the drain hole (Image 1). Press into place around the drain hole in sink (Image 2). Push rubber seal and top of drain (flange) firmly into putty ring (Image 3). Install drain body up through sink opening and reattach the flange (inside sink) to drain opening and body (under sink). Turn flange (inside sink), until finger tight. Hold drain body in place, with pivot rod opening (for plugging drain) facing back of the sink, and tighten mounting nut (just under sink) with channellock pliers (Image 4). Tightening the drain will cause plumber's putty to squeeze out. Pull away excess with fingers (Image 5).

Install Pivot Rod and Lift Rod Strap

Insert pivot rod into opening at back of drain body. Tighten in place. Slide lift rod into faucet and insert through lift rod strap. Secure in place by tightening screw. Insert pivot rod through one of the holes in lift strap and secure with included spring clip (Image 1). Pull lift rod in faucet to make sure drain closes properly (Image 2). If not, make an adjustment to pivot rod by inserting in another hole in the lift strap.  

Reattach Trap to Drain

Finger-tighten trap (bend in pipe) to bottom of drain and waste line (Image 1). Finish tightening both joints with channellock pliers. Turn water supply lines back on and test for leaks. Remove aerator on new faucet before turning on, to allow deposits or debris from clogging faucet during first use. Run hot and cold water for about a minute and check for leaks at each joint. Turn water off at faucet and replace aerator. Step back and admire your beautiful new faucet (Image 2).

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Pick Bathroom Faucets

Think of faucets as bathroom bling and choose one that suits your style, needs and budget

Maximum Home Value Bathroom Projects: Sink, Faucet and Fixtures

A few simple upgrades can add instant luxury to your WC.

How to Turn a Cabinet Into a Bathroom Vanity

Turn a flea market cabinet into a stylish bathroom vanity with antique charm.

How to Pick Pro-Quality Sinks and Faucets

If you want to cook like a chef, you may need to dispense water like one, too, with commercial-style fixtures.

How to Frame a Mirror

Transform the look of a bathroom by installing decorative trim around a plain plate-glass mirror.

How to Keep Chipmunks Out of the Garden

Learn how to stop these critters from wrecking your garden.

How to Install Wallpaper in a Bathroom

All bathrooms -- but especially small baths or powder rooms -- can be a challenge to decorate. But they're also a great place to be bold and add a lot of drama in a small space with a graphic wallpaper.

Bathroom Sink Faucet Options

Bathroom sink faucets are no longer style-less commodities. Our expert shares tips to help you better select which faucet is right for you.

How to Find Out What's Ailing Your Plant

Master gardener Paul James shares tips on how to diagnose sick plants.

Design Obstacles You Face When First Starting Out + How to Overcome Them

Here's how to go from Rookie of the Year to Design MVP.
More from:

Fast Fix: Bathrooms

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.