How to Replace a Sink Faucet for Your Kitchen & Bathrooms

how to change sink faucet

Don’t let a leaky sink faucet drain your time, money, or energy. Read on to learn helpful tips on sink faucet replacement—whether you need to fix a leaky faucet or simply want to change the look of your bathroom sink fixtures. This guide will tell you what tools you need, what you should know before replacing a faucet in your home, and how to replace a sink faucet step-by-step.

What Tools Do I Need to Replace a Sink Faucet?

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Here’s what you need to replace a sink faucet:

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Basin wrench (for reaching 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 and towel (just in case of a watery mess!)

Note: If you’re installing a smart faucet, you’ll also need batteries, a drill, and the right-sized drill bit.

What Do I Need to Know Before Changing a Sink Faucet?

Whether you’re performing a kitchen sink faucet replacement or replacing the bathroom faucet, there are some things you need to know before you get started. 

Faucet type. The first thing you’ll want to figure out when trying to replace a sink faucet is if your new faucet will fit your sink. You should identify if your sink has one, two, or three holes and if the holes are center-set or widespread. If you’re installing a smart faucet, you should also consider factors such as power dock and expandable hose placement. This information is imperative to have on hand when searching for a replacement faucet, whether online or in-person at your local home improvement store.

Other replacements needed. While you’re working under the sink, you may notice that you need to replace more than just the faucet. Be on the lookout for damaged water supply lines or lines that are welded to the old faucet; these will need to be replaced along with your new faucet. If your new faucet comes with a matching drain, you might need to look into replacing your old drain, too. However, before replacing the drain, learn how to unclog the kitchen sink drain and unclog your bathroom sink drain.

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

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Now that you have the tools and know-how, you’re ready to begin your sink faucet installation. Follow these steps:

  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 relieve any remaining pressure, turn the faucet on and let any remaining water dribble out. If water is coming out at a normal rate, you likely haven’t turned off the supply correctly.

  2. Disconnect the water lines. Disconnect the water lines from the shut-off valves and the bottom of the faucet. 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, remove them before disconnecting the water lines.

  3. Disconnect the lift rod from the back of the drain. You should then be able to fully remove the sink faucet.

  4. Remove the drain. 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 that you can push up on the tailpiece.

  5. Clean the faucet. Thoroughly clean around the now-exposed faucet and drain holes in the sink.

  6. Install the new faucet to the sink. Follow the new faucet manufacturer’s instructions for installing the new faucet to the sink. Most manufacturers recommend placing a small bead of silicone around the bottom of the gasket that the faucet sits on. Then, 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. Install the new drain. 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 sink’s drain hole (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, too. When everything is tight, you can clean up any excess putty from around the top of the drain.

  8. Assemble the drain pivot rod. 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. Wrap the ends of the faucet and water valves with plumber’s tape. Then, reconnect the water lines to the faucet and shut-off valves. 

  10. Check for leaks. 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 that you don’t have any leaks. If you do have leaks, tighten the connections as necessary.

What’s Next?

After your successful sink faucet replacement, consider getting American Home Shield® home warranty coverage. An AHS home warranty helps to protect your budget when parts of your home systems and appliances break down from everyday wear and tear. With a home warranty, you’ll just pay your monthly fee and your Trade Service Call Fee (which you get to choose when you sign up for your plan) when you submit a service request; you won’t have to pay expensive out-of-pocket costs when covered items in your household malfunction. Our affordable warranty plans include a plumbing warranty, so if you ever have faucet problems that need a professional look, we’ve got you covered. 

Recommended reading: Check out these bathroom remodel ideas and kitchen remodel ideas.

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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