How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet: Quick & Easy

Do you have an old kitchen faucet that needs to be replaced? Whether it l its leaking or is outdated, replacing a kitchen faucet is one of the most popular do-it-yourself projects when upgrading a whole kitchen.

It’s not always as easy as it sounds to replace an old chrome faucet with a matte black one. Though the replacement task might go smoothly, you might encounter a few snags because faucet configurations (and under-sink conditions) differ.

If you have been intending to replace your kitchen faucet for some time, keep reading to learn how to do so and be prepared to face any obstacles you encounter.

This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to replace a kitchen faucet with ease. You should be able to replace a kitchen faucet with relative ease if you follow these steps.

The Things to Know Before Installing a Replacement Faucet

The task of replacing a kitchen faucet may be one of the easier home improvements that DIYers can tackle in an afternoon, but it’s important to plan thoroughly to achieve the best results. 

The process of replacing an old faucet with another of the same type may prove easy. Installing a different type of kitchen faucet involves more planning and implementation.

When you know what to expect-and what could potentially go wrong-you can avoid common pitfalls and know when it’s time to call a plumber. But before you attempt to replace a kitchen faucet, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Which type of faucet is being replaced? Choosing the same type and configuration reduces the likelihood of challenges.
  • Have you worked on a plumbing project before? If you’re a DIY enthusiast but have not attempted a plumbing project, this could be a good project to try. Plumbing projects are usually relatively easy to do. Nonetheless, if the project begins to grow beyond your ability, it’s wise to consider hiring a professional.
  • How long will you spend on the project? Kitchen faucets are an essential part of almost every home. When they don’t work, daily tasks become more difficult. Don’t start the project if you don’t have enough time to complete it. There is no way to put this off and finish it later.


How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet

STEP 1: Select a suitable replacement faucet.

If you’re heading to the home improvement center to buy a faucet based solely on its shape and finish, make sure you understand your current sink hardware. There are usually three holes needed to install a two-handle kitchen faucet, with the two outside holes typically eight inches apart.

When you choose a faucet that fits the same hole configuration, installation will be the easiest. You can still upgrade to a beautiful single-handle faucet with only one installation hole if you have three. 

In this case, you would need to purchase a separate base plate, called an “escutcheon plate,” that matches the faucet’s finish and extends long enough to cover the unused holes. If you want to ensure that your new faucet fits your sink, look under it to see where the holes and connections can be found.

STEP 2: Before changing a kitchen faucet, turn off the water valves.

As soon as you have gathered the supplies and the new faucet, turn off the existing faucet. Most of the time, this is relatively simple to accomplish. All that needs to be done is to turn off the On/Off valves located under the sink that control the hot and cold supply lines associated with the faucet.

If the existing faucet is more than a few years old, you may find that the valves are stuck or rusted, and are difficult to move by hand. It’s important to shut off the main water valve in your home before you attempt to remove a stuck shutoff valve (located inside the basement or crawlspace where the water line enters your home). 

For those of you unable to locate the main valve, you can turn off the water at your meter (under a small manhole-like cover in your yard). When the water supply is off, use a hair dryer to loosen the valve enough to close it. 

If necessary, pull the valve gently until it is in the Off position using locking pliers. If pressure is too high, the valve and/or supply line may break. If the water supply is off, a break won’t cause water to shoot out and cause flooding.

STEP 3: Prepare your workspace.

You can do any number of DIY projects around your house, including painting baseboards, cleaning gutters, or painting, but because of their confined nature, few are as uncomfortable as wriggling under the kitchen sink. 

As you crawl into the cabinet to view the faucet attachment, your back also has to adapt to an uneven surface: The inside floor of the cabinet is usually a few inches higher than the kitchen floor, so you have to bend it for the difference. To ease the discomfort, you can insert a small sheet of plywood inside the cabinet. 

You should use a sheet that is narrow enough to fit through the opening in the door, but wide enough to lay on so that your back and rear end are supported. Use six or eight quart-size paint cans (or similar-sized cans) to support the plywood end that extends out into the kitchen — you’ll be able to lie flat on the surface as you replace the faucet.

STEP 4: Take out the old faucet. 

Now, let’s learn how to remove a kitchen faucet. Once the water is turned off, the old faucet can be removed by loosening the nuts holding it in place (below the sink) and lifting it out of the holes. That may sound easy, but it is actually quite challenging.

In many sinks, the area where the faucet attaches is narrow and, because of its location, pitch black. Make sure you have an adjustable wrench on hand to loosen the nuts. If you want your work area well-illuminated, consider the DEWALT 20V MAX LED Work Light.

A faucet’s nuts can get stuck or rusted, just like the shutoff valves. When you encounter this problem, try brushing off as much corrosion as you can with a wire brush. Then spray penetration oil, like Liquid Wrench, on the nuts to dispel corrosion after brushing.

It can take from 30 minutes to overnight before the oil takes effect. If you try again to loosen the nuts and they still won’t turn, you’ll have to use a reciprocating saw or hacksaw to cut them off. In some cases, DIYers call a plumber to help remove the kitchen faucet at this point.

STEP 5: Drill more holes in the sink if necessary.

Once the old faucet has been removed, check to see how many holes are in the sink and the distance from the center of the left-most hole to the center of the far right hole. It’s called measuring “on center” (or “OC”) and is the industry standard for measuring sink holes.

It is necessary to install additional holes if the new faucet also includes changing the holes or going from one handle to two handles. If this is the case, you will need to bore new holes into your sink (or countertop behind your existing faucet, depending on its configuration) to accommodate your new faucet.

A DIYer can bore new holes in countertops, but it is best to hire a countertop contractor who has the equipment to bore cleanly without cracking the material.

You should cover each hole with painter’s tape before drilling. Make sure you mark the center of each hole with a pencil. After that, drill a pilot hole. To make the pilot hole, put the center of the hole saw drill bit on the pilot hole.

STEP 6: Install the escutcheon plate (deck plate).

Whenever you replace a three-hole faucet with a one-hole faucet, please place the escutcheon plate over the extra holes. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how to make sure the plate is watertight. 

It may be necessary to first place a rubber gasket over the holes before putting the plate on top. This plate will often need to be caulked or sealed with plumber’s putty.

STEP 7: Insert the new faucet line into the hole.

Follow the hole and feed the faucet line through it. Adjust the faucet so that it rests in the desired position. Attach the faucet with washers and nuts below the counter using the included hardware. Ensure that the faucet is positioned correctly from above, and then tighten the nuts and brackets until the faucet is secure.

STEP 8: Connect the water line.

Typically, a new generation of faucets comes with flexible tubing attached for the supply lines, each with a label indicating hot or cold. If your faucet does not come with flexible tubing, you will need to attach it. Tie the hot and cold water supply valves under the sink with Teflon tape after wrapping the threads counterclockwise.

STEP 9: Inspect the installation for leaks and clean it up.

Reconnect the water supply line slowly and check for leaks. Before retesting, make any necessary adjustments, such as tightening any connections and checking the Teflon tape.

When to Call a Plumber

If there are unexpected surprises along the way, a simple 2-hour faucet replacement can quickly turn into an entire weekend project. For people who do not have any experience with plumbing or who encounter complications, it’s often a better idea to call a plumber than to remove and reinstall additional plumbing elements.

  • The faucet is mounted on the wall. There are many types of wall-mount faucets available, appealing to both those who want an Old World aesthetic as well as those who want to have a semi-pro chef’s kitchen by installing a faucet with an extending and rotating arm. An experienced homeowner is unlikely to succeed with this replacement. Switching from a sink-mounted (or countertop-mounted) faucet to a wall-mounted faucet requires opening up the wall behind the sink and running new water-supply lines, which is definitely a job for a plumber. In addition, they will have to replace your sink or countertop to remove the faucet holes left behind.
  • To get to the old faucet, you have to remove additional plumbing. In some cases, it’s just not possible to reach the nuts holding on the old faucet unless you are able to wedge your body far enough beneath the sink. Things can start getting complicated quickly when you have to remove additional plumbing like the sink drain trap or the garbage disposal. You should consult an experienced plumber for assistance.
  • You don’t have enough time to finish the project. It may be a good idea to hire a plumber if you don’t have much experience with plumbing or don’t have the time to learn.
  • Despite installing a new faucet, it leaks and you have no idea why. If your new faucet leaks after being installed, however, you need to investigate and fix it as soon as possible. In case you’ve checked all the connections and haven’t been able to solve the problem, consider hiring a professional plumber. If a slow leak isn’t addressed, the damage can become substantial.

Final Thoughts 

Installing a new kitchen faucet is the easiest home remodeling project DIYers can complete. Although a new faucet can be installed in just a few hours, the type of faucet being replaced influences how long it will take, how many tools will be needed, and whether professional help might be needed.

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