I bought a new home recently. It’s a lovely home but its not MY home because it looks like someone else’s home. I don’t have much money or time right now, so I decided to start small with making changes. So, on Sunday, I decided that changing a faucet in the kitchen was a fast and easy update.
There are some great videos on YouTube if you want a step by step tutorial. It’s really not that hard and anyone can do it, so don’t be intimidated. Be sure to use safety glasses, gloves, and other equipment necessary to protect your eyes and hands before starting any project. I find gloves with a rubber palm help maintain your grip on things and are especially valuable when working with things like hoses that might get wet. They also protect my manicure.
Changing a faucet
Choosing the faucet
Before you get started, pick out the style of faucet you want. Since I like modern (and the previous owners wanted colonial), I chose one that was all once piece with the sprayer attached to the faucet and a wide arch over the sink. The picture shows the finished product after installation, so you know I really did it.
A few tips here, ones I learned the hard way. Don’t go cheap on materials for your home. After all, you’re saving a bunch by doing the work yourself, so invest in quality products that’ll last and add value to your home, while making your life easier. I chose one from Delta, but any name-brand product works.
Not only does a name-brand product last longer, but they’re also often easier to install.
I bought mine online from Amazon, but recognize any DIY project requires a minimum of 3 trips to the hardware store, no matter how well you plan
Assemble your tools
Any project goes better if you gather everything you think you’ll need before you get started on the project. I always unpack everything that came with the product, including the instructions, and gather all the tools recommended. I always find I need more things as I go through a project, so you often run to and from the garage a few times, in addition to stopping to hit the hardware store, since every project seems to run into problems somewhere along the way.
I usually plan my second trip to the hardware store after reading the instruction manual (notice that nobody can read the manual as the font is too small. I take a pic with my phone then enlarge it so I can read) and unpacking everything, as I seem to always find something else I need.
Once you have everything at your fingertips, you’re ready to start your project. Always assume it takes about 3X longer than you think it will to allow yourself enough time to finish. After all, the last thing you want is to go through the week without a kitchen faucet because you didn’t finish.
Remove the old faucet
I always find removing the old is much more challenging than installing the new. Inevitably, you find the previous homeowner attacked problems without any idea of how to do them and ended up Frankensteining the project. When replacing the vinyl flooring in my previous house we discovered the owners had used a cement-like material rather than the recommended glue. There’s no way that mess was coming up so we had to install a new floor as a base for the new tile. Double the work, but it looked great.
Be sure to turn off the water before you start or you’ll have a mess on your hands. You can’t see it well in this picture, but kitchen faucets usually have turn-off knobs on each water pipe (they’re hidden behind the white PVC drainpipe in this picture).
In this case, changing a faucet involved banging away years of corrosion on the existing faucet parts. I realized my decision to change the faucet saved a huge expense down the road when the whole assembly failed. In fact, the cabinet bottom showed a significant water spill at some point so adding a new bottom is my next project (LOL).
Crawling under a cabinet and working on your back isn’t pleasant. I used an old pillow to cushion my back and raise my arms so I could reach the attachment points for the faucet. Also, have some towels handy as you always have a few drips.
Install the new faucet
Well, here’s when I ran into my major snag — the hole in the sink wasn’t big enough for my new faucet. You see, modern faucets come with all the plumbing pre-installed, which makes installation much easier. The downside is that all those hoses, as well as the stem used to fasten the faucet to the underside of your sink so it doesn’t wobble when in use, must fit through the hole drilled into your counter. You don’t want to force things through or you might damage a hose and water will leak every time you use your new faucet.
That means I had to make the hole bigger, which involved the 3rd trip to Lowes. I’m doing the double mask thing at Lowes because we recently got back from NC and I didn’t want to transmit the virus if I’d picked it up in an area with higher infection rates than where I am in VA.
I bought a new tool that attaches to my drill. Expensive at $42 but that’s the other reality about changing a faucet or any other DIY project is that it always costs more than originally thought. You have to build that into your project along with the extra time it always takes to finish.
The bigger problem is that me and power tools have a checkered history. I once cut off the tip of my finger while trimming hedges and broke my thumb when the wood I was cutting with my miter saw kicked back. Every time I use anything more than a power screwdriver I expect a trip to the emergency room in my future, so cutting anything scares me to death.
Once I had the hole big enough, it was a simple matter to fasten the faucet (which is a 2-person job with one above holding the faucet in place and the other below tightening everything up). The water connections are super easy and didn’t even need the Teflon tape to ensure a tight connection. Keep the towels handy in case something leaks a little when you turn the water back on.
Turn on the water and ensure you don’t have any drips. If so, tighten everything down until you’re good. Then, flush our the new hoses and faucet with several gallons of water to ensure the water’s safe.