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A great way to customize a bathroom is by replacing a builder-grade or outdated faucet with a new one that is suited to your decorating taste.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).

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