How To Change A Bathroom Sink Faucet

We recently changed  our  bathroom pedestal sink faucet  due to the last one bursting apart and spraying water all over the place.

We bought a self-contained, two handle replacement.  However, the installation procedure for the one handle varieties is virtually identical to the outline below.  This can be a simple procedure; the hardest part was getting down underneath the sink to loosen and tighten the various nuts and fittings.

Picture of a broken bathroom sink faucet, in which the cold water valve abruptly came apart.
Broken Bathroom Sink Faucet, in which the cold water valve abruptly came apart.

Tools Needed

Ratchet socket wrench with a 10-inch extender, fitted with a 1 and 1/16 inch socket.  The nuts that held the old faucet in place on my sink are deeply recessed on the underside; thus the 10-inch socket extender.

An 8-inch pipe wrench for loosening and tightening the fastening nuts and supply line fittings.

A pair of average-sized pliers, for loosening, aligning,  and tightening the drain actuator rod.

A straight-edged screwdriver, to pry up the old faucet once you’ve removed the holding nuts, and it sticks too much.

Supplies Needed

New bathroom sink faucet.

Teflon tape, for sealing threaded water-carrying fittings.

Two water supply hoses (hot and cold).  It’s a good idea to replace these anytime you replace a sink faucet.  Ours showed severe signs of rusting; particularly the cold one, due to chronic condensation.

We prefer flexible hoses to rigid supply lines, as they require fewer tools and less time to install.  So this procedure focuses on the hoses, and does not speak to the marking, cutting, soldering, and fitting of rigid supply pipe.  However, rigid supply pipe may be less prone to bursting over time.  So, it’s your choice.

Removing The Old Bathroom Sink Faucet

1. Turn off both the hot and cold water supply lines to your bathroom sink. Usually, this can be done with two shutoff-valves, located on the wall somewhere underneath your sink.

2. Examine these shutoff valves, and replace if you see any of the following:

2a. much corrosion or hard water buildup, or

2b. The shutoff knobs are exceedingly hard to turn on and off but do not respond to lubrication.

3.Then, turn on both the hot and cold spigots on the old faucet to relieve the pressure inside and allow any residual water to escape.

4. Remove the water supply line hoses from the old faucet.  The older ones have hex nuts holding them, while the newer ones often have a finger-accessible wing nut.  You’ll likely need your pipe wrench to initially get them turning counterclockwise as you face them.

5. Take off the finger- or wing-nuts holding the old faucet to the sink.  These too might either be wing nuts or hex nuts.  If hex, use your ratchet wrench with the extender with the 1 and 1/16-inch socket installed, to reach up under the sink to get at them.

6. Detach the drain plunger rod.  Often, there will be a small finger-nut that, due to corrosion, will not loosen with finger power.  Get your pliers after this and loosen (turn counterclockwise).  The plunger rod can then be pulled up out of the old faucet body.

7. Lift the old faucet assembly up away from the sink and remove.  If this is an old unit, you may have to do a little prying with a screwdriver, to break any seal or plumbers putty that might have been applied to prevent water collecting around the faucet from flowing underneath it, through the supply holes on the sink, and spilling all over the floor.

8. Clean the sink where the old bathroom faucet was.  I had used Soft Scrub cleanser to thoroughly remove the gunk and pieces of the old rubber sealant under that faucet.

Picture of our bathroom sink with broken faucet removed and the holes cleaned out.
Bathroom Sink with Broken Faucet Removed and the holes cleaned out.

Preparing The New Sink Faucet For Installation

Unpack the new faucet assembly and verify that all parts described in the accompanying installation guide are present.

Our new Aqua Square faucet came with a choice of white or chrome-finished handles, and the chrome ones were already screwed on.  However, if you wish to change those to the white ones, now would be a great time.

Some faucets have a detachable spout.  If that’s the case for you, screw on the spout to the faucet’s base platform. That’s not how this faucet is here however.

Our faucet was pre-assembled.  However, some of the more extravagant ones may not be.  So do any final assembly work your particular fixture requires by following their instructions manual.

Installing The New Bathroom Sink Faucet

1. Then, once your fixture is completely installed, line up the supply line pipes on the new faucet with the holes for them on the sink top, and gently guide the faucet into the holes until it rests on the sink.

2. Thread the new holding nuts onto the new faucet’s supply line pipes that are now located on the underside of the sink. Make them finger-tight.

3. Then, position the new faucet exactly where you want it, making sure it’s not crooked or crocked.  It should be easy to move if you’ve not tightened the fastener nuts too much.

4. Once the faucet is properly positioned, tighten the holding nuts another one-quarter to one-half turn.  This should lock the new faucet into your selected position.

5. For added assurance that your new installation will not leak, apply two or three wraps of Teflon tape to the supply line threads on your new faucet as well as to the supply line shutoff valve threads.

6. Tighten the big ends of each of the two water supply hoses to the supply line threads on the new faucet, on the underside of the sink.    Hand-tighten these, then tighten each nut an additional one-quarter to one-half turn, using either your ratchet or your pliers depending on which type of nuts (hex or wing) your faucet came with.  Once done, you should have two water hoses, dangling from the faucet.

7. Next, attach the other ends (smaller ends) of the supply hoses to the hot and cold shutoff valves.  But don’t reverse the hoses!  The left hose as you face the sink, fastens to the hot shutoff valve (usually the left one jutting from the wall), and the cold hose (right side of faucet) goes to the cold shutoff (usually the right one on the wall).  Again, hand-tighten each hose nut, and then turn an extra quarter to half-turn with pliers or pipe wrench.

8. Now, turn on the hot and cold water shutoff valves under the sink.

9. Turn on and off several times the faucet handles to verify proper operation.

10. Attach the drain plunger rods, and then make sure that the drain completely seals when closed. Adjust plunger rod positions to achieve a good seal as well as brisk water flow when you completely open the drain.

11. Keep an eye out for leaks for several minutes, and if you see none, then this job is complete.

Picture of our bathroom sink, with the broken faucet replaced.
Bathroom Sink with Broken Faucet Replaced

Enjoy your new bathroom sink faucet.

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Revision History

  • 2015-12-06: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-18: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2014-12-26: Moved this piece to the    Tom’s Tek Stop   blog.  Revised content, added whitespace, added pictures, and adjusted ad positioning.
  • 2012-05-11: Originally published.