Take heart, DIYers: you <em>can</em> install a faucet, even if you don't have much (or any) plumbing experience! With preparation, patience, and the right tools, our easy‐to‐follow instructions will see you through.

How to Replace a Bathroom Faucet

Take heart, DIYers: you can install a faucet, even if you don't have much (or any) plumbing experience! Too many people find even basic plumbing repairs intimidating; the truth is that with preparation and patience, many jobs that would otherwise cost a pretty penny can be done on your own. While there is the potential for plenty of swearing and muttering under one's breath, the right tools and instructions will see you through.

Supplies you'll definitely need:
Supplies you might need:
  • A basin wrench (if the nuts holding the faucet are difficult to turn with a standard wrench)
  • Penetrating oil (to help ease out an old, rusted faucet)

Removing the Old Faucet

Step 1: Turn the water supply off. You can do this either at the stop valves under the sink or at the water meter. With the valves closed, turn the faucet on to drain any standing water in the lines.

Pro Tip: Not all of the water remaining in the lines will drain, so put down a paint tray, dish pan or towel to catch whatever does end up spilling out. This will also come in handy when removing the drain trap, which will contain dirty water (and hair, and gunk…)

Step 2: Under/behind the sink, you'll see the lift rod for the faucet's pop‐up drain coming straight down. On that rod there should be a C or U‐shaped piece with a screw going through it; this piece is called the clevis. It connects the lift rod to the lift rod strap, or bracket (the long flat piece with holes). Remove or loosen the clevis screw to free the lift rod.

Step 3: Moving down the lift rod strap, you'll see that it's connected to a horizontal pivot rod coming out of the drain pipe. The pivot rod is usually secured to the lift rod with a spring clip ‐ pinch the clip to disconnect the rods. Then loosen the nut holding the pivot rod to the drain.

Step 4: Unfasten the nuts from the supply lines at the faucet shanks ‐ the threaded pipes that come straight down from the faucet. Newer single handle faucets may have a different connection for the water supplies ‐ whatever the design, simply loosen the nuts and remove the supply lines from the faucet. If they're in good shape, you can use them again. If not, replace them.

Step 5: Most faucets stay put thanks to what are called jamb nuts: large nuts on the underside of the sink. Others may use basic nuts and bolts along with a metal bracket. Loosen and remove whatever kind of nuts from the shanks/bolts. You should be able to pull the faucet out at this point.

Pro Tip: If the connection to the sink won't budge because it's rusted out, an application of penetrating oil should do the trick. You may need to let the oil sit for hours ‐ or even overnight ‐ for the worst cases of corrosion.

Step 6: To remove the drain assembly from the sink, begin by loosening the slip nuts on the trap where it connects to the drain tailpiece (the straight section of pipe coming down from the sink).

Step 7: Loosen the large locking nut holding the tailpiece at the bottom of the sink. Push the tailpiece up to pop out the drain flange inside the sink.

Step 8: Inside the sink, remove the whatever plumbing putty is left behind; the area around the flange needs to be clean for the new install.

Installing the New Faucet

Having to remove the old faucet will make installing the new one much easier: you know the names of things and have a good idea of where they go. You should be enjoying the new faucet in no time!

Step 1: Insert faucet shanks through the base gasket/deck plate, then into the holes of the sink.

Step 2: Thread the jamb nuts onto the faucet shanks; align the faucet from above the sink and fully tighten the nuts using a wrench. Don't overtighten!

Step 3: Connect your water supply lines to the faucet shanks; use a wrench to ensure a tight connection.

Step 4: Drop the lift rod for the pop‐up drain through the hole at the back of the faucet ‐ you'll be attaching it to the drain pipe's pivot rod a few steps.

Step 5: Roll out a length of plumber's putty about the size of a pencil and place it around the underside of the drain flange. Feed the drain tailpiece through the basin opening. Thread the flange onto the tailpiece, positioning the pivot rod to point backwards to the wall.

Step 6: Using the clevis assembly, connect the lift rod to the lift rod strap/bracket (the piece with holes). Then utilize the spring clip to connect the strap/bracket to the horizontal pivot rod coming out of the drain.

Step 7: Connect the drain assembly and trap to in‐wall piping: hand‐tighten the nuts.

Step 8: Make sure you've installed faucet properly by removing the aerator from the end of the spout and turning the handles on full blast. Then turn the water supply back on. Listen as the new faucet sputters and struggles for life. Let the lines flush for one full minute (without moving the handles) to remove any debris, and check below for any leaks.

Step 9: Once flushed, turn the faucet off and replace the aerator.

Congratulations, you did it! Now wash your hands… they're filthy!


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