How To Install a Bathroom Faucet

Pick up key parts at the hardware store before you start

How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet Photo 1: Remove the drain lines from the faucet Disconnect the drain lines and P-traps if they block your access to the faucet and water supply pipes. (Place a bucket or coffee can under the P-trap to dump residual water after you pull it free.)

Chances are, you’ll need to make more than one trip to the hardware store for parts to learn how to replace a kitchen faucet, but to give yourself a fighting shot at completing the job with one-stop shopping, consult this list. We’ll show you how to remove a kitchen faucet with the steps in this article.

  • Shutoff valves Before you shop for your new faucet (see “Selecting a Faucet” at the end of this how to replace a kitchen faucet article), take a look under the sink and make sure that there are shutoff valves feeding the faucet. If you don’t have shutoff valves, add them. If you have them, confirm that they’re in working order by turning on the hot and cold water at the faucet and shutting off the valves. If the faucet still drips, install new ones. Most likely you have 1/2-in. copper supply pipes. If so, add easy-to-install solderless “compression fitting” valves (Photos 9 and 10) to your shopping list. But if not, buy whichever valve type is compatible with your pipes.
  • Supply tubes: Next, measure the existing supply tubes and buy new stainless steel–sleeved supply tubes (Photo 9). They’re designed to give rupture-free service for years and can be routed around obstacles without kinking.
  • Basin wrench: Also buy a basin wrench ($15; Photo 4). This weird little wrench is made specifically for removing and installing those hard-to-reach fasteners that clamp older faucet assemblies to the sink. (Newer faucets have plastic Wing-Nuts that can usually be loosened and tightened by hand.) A basin wrench’s spring-loaded jaws pivot so you can either loosen or tighten nuts in tight spaces.

If you need to remove drain lines to access the faucet, get a pipe wrench or slip-joint pliers (Photo 1). For cutting copper tubes, buy a conventional tubing cutter. But if your copper supply lines are within a few inches of the back of the cabinet, buy a special mini tube cutter (Photo 3). You’ll also need a set of open-end wrenches for disconnecting and hooking up the water lines.

Before disconnecting the drain lines, take a snapshot or make a sketch of the layout to help you put it all back together.

How to Remove a Kitchen Sink TIP: Plan on replacing your faucet during store hours. Chances are better than 50/50 you’ll need at least one more part for this how to replace a kitchen faucet project.

How to Remove a Kitchen Sink TIP: Prop up a scrap of plywood on some 1-qt. paint cans in front of the cabinet. You’ll be much more comfortable lying under the sink during this how to replace a kitchen faucet project. Otherwise, the edge of the cabinet would be digging into your back

Final Thoughts

Replacing a faucet is a fairly easy DIY project that usually takes less than an hour to complete. To make the job go smoothly, make sure that your new faucet setup has the same number of holes as your sink, and check to see that all the supplies that aren’t included with the new faucet are on hand when beginning the installation.


DIY Faucet Installation

Handy homeowners can install a faucet DIY if it only involves removing the old faucet and installing a replacement. When upgrading to a new style faucet or one that needs more holes to be drilled, hiring a professional is often required.

The easiest kitchen faucets to install are ones with the spout and faucet handles combined into a single piece. For beginners, FaucetMATE sells a $17 connection kit, and Delta sells an EZ Anchor tool for easy faucet installation and removal.

Do You Need Plumbers Putty To Install A Faucet?

Faucets typically include a rubber or plastic gasket, or a trim ring, that goes over the faucet holes in the sink or countertop. Sometimes, plumbers putty or tape is used instead of a gasket to create watertight seals around a faucet.

STEP 2: Set the faucet in the hole

After the gasket or putty is in place, feed the flexible supply lines or PEX piping through the hole in the sink, and set in the faucet. (If you’ve used plumber’s putty, you can clear away any excess with a putty knife or use a finger.)

Crawl under the sink and tighten the plastic nut until it almost hits the underside of the sink. Tighten each of the mounting screws until the faucet is tight against the sink. Enlist a helper to make sure the faucet is straight and properly positioned in the hole or escutcheon before making any final adjustments.

In with the new

There are a variety of configurations for faucets. Between the number of handles, spray nozzle types and even spacing of required holes, there are a lot of ways to customize. Before you buy a new faucet, consider your arrangement, specifically the current number and location of holes in your counter or sink. Sinks and countertops can be modified accordingly, but you’ll need to do a little research prior to purchasing your new faucet. 

Enlarge Image Enlarge Image

You might need a basin wrench or a specific socket wrench that came with your faucet in order to turn the retaining nuts.

Chance Lane/CNET

Start by putting the bracket that fits between the counter/sink and faucet in place. These will often have a foam underlay that will form a seal to help prevent water from seeping underneath the faucet assembly. Some faucets may differ, but the faucet I installed required minimal assembly prior to installation. 

Run the supply lines of the faucet assembly, followed by the threaded rods of the faucet, through the holes in your countertop or sink. Working underneath in the most comfortable position you can find (good luck), tighten the retaining nut with a wrench. 

If no socket wrench was provided with the faucet, and the space is tight enough to require a basin wrench, be extra-careful not to damage the faucet’s water supply lines. It depends on the configuration of your particular faucet, but if the water lines are in the way of the retaining nut It could be beneficial to wrap them with nylon tape or some other protective material before doing this. Damaging water lines could cause a leak, and all of the mayhem that comes with that. You don’t want that.

Be sure to take care when connecting your faucet

Be sure to take care when connecting your faucet to the water supply lines — doing the job right can help you prevent leaks later on.

Chance Lane/CNET

How Easy Is It to Install a Kitchen Sink?

The trickiest part of installing a new sink and faucet is connecting the sink’s drain—the pieces between the sink’s tailpiece and the waste line. Always start at the sink tailpiece and work down. This is where a swivel P-trap with a trap adapter earns its keep. It can swing side to side on two different axes and adjust up or down.

Before you head off to the store, Richard recommends drawing a “map” like the illustration here and checking the inside diameters of the tailpiece and waste line, usually 1 ½ inches. Then, instead of buying a kit, get only the pieces you need, including Schedule 40 PVC pipe to cut and fit as needed.

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Cost To Replace Bathtub Faucet

The average cost to replace a bathtub faucet is $150 to $400 for labor only and between $300 and $750 for the faucet, materials, and installation. Prices depend on the location, complexity, type of faucet and materials, and if pipe widths need updating to match the new faucet.

 Cost To Replace Bathtub Faucet   Type Average Cos

Cost To Replace Bathtub Faucet
Type Average Cost
Tub Faucet $150 – $350
Installation Labor $150 – $400
Total Replacement Cost $300 – $750

Get free estimates from top-rated plumbers. View Pros

Bathtub Faucet Prices

Bathtub faucet prices range from $150 to $350 on average, without installation. Prices depend on the brand, material, mounting type, style, flow rate, handle type (cross, knob, or lever), and shape. Bathtub faucets kits typically include the shower faucet if applicable.

Bathtub Faucet Prices By Type
Type Price Range
Tub Deck Mount $100 – $1,000
Tub Wall Mount $80 – $600
Freestanding $200 – $1,000
Floor Mount $300 – $600

*Not including installation.

Brand also influences the cost of a bathtub faucet

Brand also influences the cost of a bathtub faucet.

Bathtub Faucet Prices By Brand
Brand Price Range
Delta $100 – $250
Moen $80 – $550
Kohler $80 – $1,200
Pfister $80 – $400
American Standard $200 – $550
Water Creation $100 – $300
Barclay Products $90 – $270
Glacier Bay $120 – $250
Kingston Brass $100 – $400
Pegasus $80 – $250
Grohe $200 – $1,500

*Not including installation.

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Tools Materials

  • Tubing cutter

    Tubing cutter

  • Jigsaw


  • Drill/driver


  • Screwdriver


  • Mechanic's pliers

    Mechanic’s pliers

  • Adjustable wrench

    Adjustable wrench

  • Tape measure

    Tape measure

  • Hacksaw


  • Utility knife

    Utility knife

  • Straight edge

    Straight edge

  • Spade bit

    Spade bit

Now install the new faucet

Photo 5: Place the flange over the faucet opening

Photo 5: Place the flange over the faucet opening

Follow any manufacturer’s preassembly instructions and place the optional flange (see Photo 8) over the faucet opening. Finger-tighten the flange nuts underneath the sink and check the alignment of the flange, faucet and sink hole from above.

Photo 6: Tighten the faucet mounting nut

Photo 6: Tighten the faucet mounting nut

Check the operation of the faucet and handle to confirm you’re not putting it in backward, and thread the feeder lines through the flange and sink holes. Then slip on the faucet washer, and thread on and tighten the faucet-mounting nut from below, gently spreading the faucet supply tubes if necessary to gain tool clearance (sometimes manufacturers provide a special tool for this).

Photo 7: Tighten the flange nut

Photo 7: Tighten the flange nut

Hand-tighten, then snug up the flange nuts with an open-end wrench. You can only turn the wrench about a one-sixth revolution at a time.

Photo 8: Attach the spray hose to the faucet suppl

Photo 8: Attach the spray hose to the faucet supply tube

Thread the spray nozzle line through the faucet body, then thread the spray hose fitting onto the faucet supply tube and tighten it. Pull the nozzle out of the faucet to make sure the hose under the sink operates freely, then attach the counterweight following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Photo 9: Mark the supply lines where you want to c

Photo 9: Mark the supply lines where you want to cut them

Tighten the new valves onto the supply tubes and mark the feeder lines just above the compression nuts on the valves for cut-off.

Photo 10: Connect the supply tube to the supply lines Clean the copper tubing with fine sandpaper, then slip the nut, compression ring and valve body over the pipe and tighten. Close the valve, turn on the main water valve and check for leaks. Place a bucket under the faucet and turn the faucet on to check for leaks. Reassemble the garbage disposer, P-traps and drain lines.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions to mount the new faucet, then remount the sink (with the new faucet) and hook up the water lines as we show in this how to replace a kitchen faucet project.

TIP With most faucets, only three of the four holes are covered, so you’ll either need to get a blank insert or use the extra hole for a liquid soap or instant hot water dispenser. Plan to do the installation while you’re under the sink with everything torn apart. If you have a leaking faucet, consult this article on how to fix a leaky faucet.

Selecting a faucet When you’re buying a faucet (as with most other things), you get what you pay for. Faucets that cost less than $100 may be made of chrome-plated plastic arts with seals and valves that wear. They’re OK for light-duty use but won’t stand up long in a frequently used kitchen sink. Faucets that cost more than $100 generally have solid brass bodies with durable plating and washerless controls that’ll give leak-free service for many, many years. Some even come with a lifetime warranty. Quality continues to improve up to about $200. Spend more than $200 and you’re mostly paying for style and finish. Stick with brand name projects so replacement parts will be easier to find—in the unlikely event you’ll ever need them.

Plumber Pro Tips

Tip #1  If you’re replacing a faucet, take the time once you’ve pulled out an old faucet to remove any old putty or caulk from under the faucet.  If you don’t, you may not get a good seal under the new faucet.

Tip #2  Use a plastic putty knife to scrape away most of the old sealant.  Then clean the surface thoroughly with a soft rag and some denatured alcohol.

Tip #2  To install the faucet, start by preparing the faucet.  To create a watertight seal between the base plate of the faucet and the sink, slip the gasket provided onto the bottom of the faucet.  Alternatively, use a trick that many plumbers use(See plumber trade secret below.)

Tip #3  Once you’ve applied the plumber’s putty or a gasket, slip the faucet through the hole (s) in the sink.

Tip #4  Thread the mounting nuts (or bracket nut) onto the faucet.

Tip #5  Check to make sure that the faucet is centered on the sink and fully tighten the valve nuts or bracket nut.

Tip #6  Remove any that squeezed-out with a plastic putty knife.  Then wipe with a damp cloth.

Tip #7  Install the drain body into the sink.  Start by applying a coil (bead), of the plumber’s putty around the lip of the drain or under the lip of the drain flange.

Tip #8  Push the drain body up against the underside of the sink drain and screw the drain flange onto the drain body.  Again, remove any excess putty that has squeezed-out.

Tip #9  With the drain body in place, install the rest of the pop-up mechanism parts and adjust the mechanism for proper operation.  If you’ve installed the faucet with the sink removed, now install the sink.

Tip #10 Connect the faucet to the shut-off valves using chromed supply lines or flexible supply lines; connect the tailpiece to the trap and existing waste line.

PLUMBING TRADE SECRETS:  Throw away the gasket and pack the cavities under the base plate with the plumber’s putty.  This will take quite a bit of putty, but it’s inexpensive and will create a lasting seal.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG:  Whenever you install a new faucet, particularly if you’ve altered the supply lines, you should always remove the faucet’s aerator before turning on the water.  That’s because there is frequently debris in the lines that would quickly clog up the aerator.  With the aerator removed, turn on the water and flush the system.  When the water runs clear, turn off the faucet and reinstall the aerator.

Published on: July 3, 2014

Updated: February 26, 2022