When you pick the right one, a new kitchen faucet can be like a mini‐renovation. Replacing just this one simple fixture can instantly transform the look, feel and productivity of a kitchen — even if the cabinets are still sporting a faux‐wood finish!
When it comes time for a faucet upgrade, consider saving a few bucks by installing it yourself. Although plumbing projects can appear intimidating, many are not. Count faucet installation among those jobs well within the grasp of any aspiring DIYer! (Need help finding the perfect kitchen faucet? Check out our buying guide!)
Supplies you'll definitely need:
- Wrenches (standard adjustable crescent should be fine, if there's room to work)
- A paint tray, dish pan, or towels (to catch spilling water)
Supplies you might need:
Removing the Old Faucet
Likely the most difficult phase of the project will be the first: removing the old faucet. Rusted faucet mounting hardware can be a pain to deal with — or it may only be when you're actually down there that you realize there isn't enough room for your usual wrench to work (in which case you'll need a basin wrench). Don't be discouraged!
Pro Tip: Have a garbage disposer? Take a look around and make sure that you can do everything you need to do to replace the faucet with the disposer in place. If there isn't enough room to work, you'll need to take the disposer out. Only the disposer body need be removed, not the mounting hardware itself. When you're all done with the faucet, simply reattach the disposer to the mounting hardware.
Before beginning, place rags or a receptacle in the kitchen cabinet to catch any water coming out of the supply lines you remove, as well as water that may come out of the stop valves.
Step 1: Shut off the hot and cold water supplies at the stop valves under the sink, and run the faucet to remove water from the lines.
- Check for leaks at the stop valves; if water is dripping, replace them immediately.
- Examine the supply lines to make sure they're in good enough shape to be used with the new faucet; replace them if there's any sign of serious wear.
If your old faucet is a hands‐free or an otherwise electrically‐powered unit, don't forget to unplug it or remove the batteries. Refer to your owner's manual for any further disconnection instructions.
Step 2: Use a wrench to turn the nuts on the water supply lines at the faucet, and disconnect the lines from the faucet shanks (the threaded pipes that come down from the faucet body). If the lines are to be reused, move them aside for later. If you're installing new lines, remove the old ones from the stop valves.
Step 3: Remove the mounting nuts on the rear underside of the sink (this is where you may need a basin wrench). The old faucet may have additional mounting hardware (like a bracket) that will also need to be removed.
- If the nuts have rusted on, apply some penetrating oil and let sit before trying again to remove them (particularly bad cases may require an overnight wait).
- Should you have them, make sure to also disconnect any hoses for sprayers and other attachments. Refer to your owner's manual if the method of removal isn't obvious.
Step 4: With everything underneath disconnected, you can pull out the faucet body from the top of the sink. You may need to give a good tug — things can get sticky over the years! If the old faucet was sealed to the sink with silicone, you may even need to break out a utility knife or glass scraper (and some rubbing alcohol) to remove it. Thoroughly clean the entire area in preparation for the new faucet.
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: Most new faucets will come with a rubber or plastic gasket for sealing the deck plate (or escutcheon) to the sink. Put the gasket in place or roll out a length of plumber's putty to go around the underside of the deck plate/escutcheon; put it in position over the faucet holes in the sink.
Step 2: Connect the water supply lines to the new faucet shanks using two wrenches: one holding the faucet shank firmly in place and the other turning the supply line nut. If you're reusing old supply lines, this connection will be made under the sink. If you're using new supplies, you may be able to make these connections up above, then feed the assembly through the holes (to avoid lying on your back under the cabinet).
- For two‐handle faucets using new supply lines, connect the supplies to the shanks and feed them down into the cabinet through the holes at the top of the sink.
- For a single‐handle faucet with new supplies, check to see if the hole in the deck plate/sink is large enough to allow all lines to be fed through from the top. If everything will fit, make the connection and feed the connected lines through the hole from above, placing the faucet over the hole. If it won't fit, place the faucet over the hole and make the connection under the sink.
- Connect new supply lines to the stop valves inside the cabinet (if you're reusing your old ones, they're already connected and you're ready for the next step).
Helpful Hint: Does the new faucet have a pull‐out spray hose? Feed it through the faucet neck, slide the included weight onto the hose, and connect it to the faucet. The hose should hang freely. Connection points and types will vary, so check the manual for specific instructions if the method isn't clear.
Step 3: With the faucet in place above (it's helpful to have another person holding everything down so nothing shifts), tighten the mounting nuts under the sink using your hands first, then finish them off with one of your wrenches. If you used plumber's putty to seal the faucet base to the sink, cut or tear away any that's been pushed out around the deck plate or escutcheon.
Pro Tip: Some faucets use plastic nuts with large "wings", which are difficult to tighten using wrenches. If you can't get these tight enough by hand, specialty tools like the Basin Buddy are available. You can also try using pliers or something similar, but this risks damaging the nut.
Step 4: With the faucet securely mounted to the sink, and all connections made, remove the aerator from the faucet spout. Turn the water supply back on at the stops, and turn the faucet on: flush for about a minute to clear the lines. Replace the aerator, and you're done!