Home Repair & Maintenance Ideas and Tips

Learning to DIY: How to Replace a Sink Faucet

Replacing a sink faucet is a doable home repair project with this easy-to-follow tutorial. AHS explains what to do before and during the replacement of the faucet.

how to change sink faucet

Whether you simply want to change the look of your bathroom sink fixtures or you need to replace one or more that have started giving you trouble, installing faucets is certainly a doable DIY project. Learn what tools are needed and what you should know before replacing a faucet in your home.

What You Need to Know Before Installing Faucets

First, when buying a new faucet, you need to ensure it will fit your sink. Does your sink have one, two or three holes? Are they centerset or widespread? This information is imperative to have on hand when you’re searching for a replacement faucet.

Also, it may be obvious that you need to ensure the water valves are turned off under the sink before you begin working on the faucet installation. However, what may not be so obvious is whether or not you need to replace more than just the faucet while you’re down there. Are the water supply lines damaged or welded to the old faucet? Those will need to be replaced, as well. Does your new faucet come with a matching drain? If not, you may need to add that to the list, too.

Necessary Tools for Replacing a Faucet

Here’s what you need to get the job done:

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Basin wrench (if you can’t easily get to the water line connections directly under the faucet)
  • Silicone (for sealing the faucet to the sink)
  • Plumber’s tape (for better water line connections)
  • Plumber’s putty (if your new drain doesn’t come with a rubber gasket to help seal the area)
  • Bucket/Towel (just in case!)

How to Replace a Sink Faucet: Step-By-Step

  1. Turn off the water supply under the sink. (If you don’t have shut-off valves under the sink, turn off the main water valve.) To ensure the water is off and to relieve any remaining pressure, turn the faucet on.
  2. Disconnect the water lines from the shut-off valves (at the bottom) and the bottom of the faucet (at the top). If you can’t reach the top connections with your hand, use the basin wrench. Then, remove the nuts holding the faucet down to the sink. Note: If these nuts get in the way of removing the water line connections, go ahead and remove them before disconnecting the water lines.
  3. Disconnect the lift rod from the back of the drain, and you should then be able to fully remove the faucet from the sink.
  4. Remove the drain (if desired) by unscrewing the nut at the bottom of the tailpiece, unscrewing the flange from the top of the tailpiece (the part that you see in the sink) and pulling the tailpiece out from the underside of the sink. To get access to the flange, you may need to unscrew the nut and gasket directly under the sink a little, so you can push up on the tailpiece.
  5. Thoroughly clean around the now-exposed faucet and drain holes in the sink.
  6. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the new faucet to the sink. Most recommend placing a small bead of silicone around the bottom of the gasket that the faucet sits on. Then, simply slip the faucet extensions through the holes and tighten the new mounting nuts to the bottom to keep it secure. Note: Make sure the stopper lift rod is in place when mounting the faucet, in case there isn’t enough room behind the faucet to drop it in later.
  7. If installing a new drain, screw the nut all the way down on the drain body and push the gasket over it. Apply plumber’s putty to the bottom of the flange (that goes above the sink), if it doesn’t come with its own gasket. Then, with the drain body positioned directly under the drain hole of the sink (and with the pivot hole facing the back of the sink), screw the flange onto it from the top side of the sink and tighten the nut and gasket underneath the sink. Tighten the nut at the bottom of the tailpiece, as well. When everything is tight, you can clean up any excess putty from around the top of the drain.
  8. If your new drain pivot rod is not already assembled, unscrew the nut on the back of the drain body, insert the rod through the hole in the stopper and replace the nut. Then, push the rod down and secure it to the strap with the screw. Test the stopper to ensure it’s in the desired position.
  9. Reconnect the water lines (or use new ones) to the faucet and shut-off valves after first wrapping the ends of the faucet and water valves with plumber’s tape.
  10. With the aerator removed from the spout of the faucet (to ensure all the debris and sediment are flushed out), turn both the hot and cold water on for about a minute. While the water is running, check to make sure you don’t have any leaks. If you do have leaks, tighten the connections, as necessary.
  11. Enjoy your new faucet!

Having an issue with your faucet and you really don’t want to try the DIY route? Don’t worry; the plumbing repair may be covered by your home warranty.

DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Learn more.