Replacing the kitchen faucet can dramatically change the entire look of a kitchen space. Chances are there will be at least one time in your life when it is necessary to change out the existing faucet and replace it with a new one.
Maybe you’ve experienced damage or malfunction to your current faucet and need to change it out for functional reasons.
Or perhaps you just want to improve the aesthetics of your kitchen and give it a more modern updated look. Whatever your reasons may be for switching out your kitchen faucet, there’s good news.
The task is not as difficult as it seems and it can often be completed as a DIY project. This particular task does not require the expert knowledge of a plumber. Doing the task yourself at your home is both cost effective and easy. It does not take an incredible amount of time either.
With a couple of hours, the proper tools, and a little bit of effort, you can have your old kitchen faucet off and a new one in its place within an hour. But how does one replace their kitchen faucet? This task all starts with knowing the issue, addressing it, and then solving it.
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Things To Consider Prior To Replacing a Faucet
Before you can replace your kitchen faucet, you must first decide on which new model will do the replacing. These considerations must be made before you can purchase your new faucet model and replace it with the outdated one.
Many modern faucets have just one mounting hole, meaning there is only one hole in the countertop or sink for the faucet to be mounted. However, this is certainly not always the case. Often your faucet will come with a soap dispenser add-on, especially in the kitchen. This means that 2 holes are required instead of one.
Try to find a replacement with the same requirement for mounting holes as the existing faucet - or else you’ll have to have a professional cut an additional hole or replace the countertop/sink.
Most kitchen faucets are deck-mounted directly onto the countertop behind the sink or on the sink itself. This is the easiest type of installation and does not require the services of a professional plumber. The other installation method for kitchen faucets is to mount it on the wall that is located by the sink. The faucet arm will extend from the wall to the sink and the faucet head will be over the sink basin. Wall-mounted faucets are much more difficult to install.
Faucet type refers to a few things. First of all, you must determine if you’d like a one-handle or two-handle system.
Single-handle faucets are more common for the kitchen, whereas double handles are more suited to a bathroom.
Keep in mind that installing a two-handle faucet is more challenging, especially if your current faucet fixture has a single handle. You can also invest in a touchless faucet, which can be turned on with motion activation.
Other factors to consider before replacing your current kitchen faucet are pull-out vs pull-down (does the faucet head extend out or down from a hose) and high-arc vs low-arc of the faucet neck.
Before you start any home improvement project, you need to ensure that you have the proper tools and that they can be easily accessed. The new faucet should come with all the pieces required, but you'll also need a basin wrench to access those hard-to-reach fasteners underneath the kitchen sink.
Family Handyman says that a basin wrench will loosen "fasteners that clamp older faucet assemblies to the sink...Newer faucets have plastic Wing-Nuts that can usually be loosened and tightened by hand.” You’ll also need a pipe wrench to disconnect the water supply lines. You may also want to lay down a towel and use a small pillow to make the job more comfortable. Remember that much of it will be done as you’re lying on your back underneath the kitchen sink.
Kitchen Faucet Replacement Costs
There's no doubt about the fact that replacing a kitchen faucet yourself will save you a buck or two, the only thing you'll have to pay for is the new faucet itself (and a wrench if you don't have one). New kitchen faucets range dramatically in price depending on the manufacturer and specific model you choose. You can expect to pay between $200 and $500 for your new faucet.
If you choose to hire a plumber, you’ll have to pay for the new faucet as well as the labor costs set by the plumbing company. HomeAdvisor says that the cost of kitchen faucet installation depends on many factors, including:
With these factors in mind, the average cost of professional faucet replacement is about $250, which does not include the cost of the new faucet itself.
Most Common Faucet Parts that Need Replacing
You might not need to replace your entire faucet, but rather replace just one part. Most manufacturers sell faucet parts separately so that you can remove the malfunctioning piece and simply exchange it with a brand new replacement. The most common parts that need replacement are the head, hose, and cartridge.
How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet - Step by Step
Whatever your reason might be for replacing the kitchen faucet, you can follow this step-by-step guide to help you along the way.
1. Access the Situation and Buy the Necessary Parts and Tools
The first step of any faucet replacement project is to determine the cause of the problem. In other words, why does the faucet need to be replaced? If it is clearly broken or damaged, determine how it happened. This won't just help with the replacement itself but can prevent the same problem from happening again in the future.
It might also be a good indication that you need to choose a different brand when you buy a new faucet - something different than the brand you currently have. While you access the problem or malfunction at hand, figure out what you’ll need to get the job done, including tools. Make a checklist and then go out and purchase what you don’t already have. At this point, you will realize you may need multiple tools or parts for the job depending on the specific issue.
2. Prep the Sink and Work Area
This is the perfect time to clean your sink and the cabinets and storage space beneath the sink basin. Remove anything that is stored under the sink and think about laying a soft mat or a cushion down. This will make the workspace much more comfortable. The majority of the work for replacing a faucet is done underneath the sink and requires you to lay on your back. It is best to do this work in the most comfortable position possible as not to hurt or strain yourself.
Prep your workspace, lay out the tools and extra piping, and prepare whatever else you may need to replace the faucet. No matter what home improvement project you’re working on, It is always a good idea to have your tools on hand and ready to be used. This simple task will allow you to replace the faucet as efficiently as possible.
3. Shut Off the Water Supply to the Faucet
The last thing you want your home to experience is water damage. Trying to do any kind of plumbing work without shutting off the water first is a good way to soak everything in your entire kitchen, including yourself. You can easily prevent this from happening by shutting the water off first.
The valves are most likely found right under the basin of your sink, and you’ll simply turn them to the “Off” position. After they are turned off, turn on the faucet. This will tell you if turning off the water was a success and it will also release any water and pressure that remains in the pipelines.
4. Disconnect the Plumbing
Use a piping wrench to remove the water supply lines underneath the sink. They are not hard to find as they feed into the tap directly and supply it with water. These supply lines must be disconnected before continuing on; you cannot detach the faucet with the supply lines in place.
Once you have disconnected everything and removed the piping, the job is fairly simple. Now that the piping is no longer obscuring your vision, you’ll be able to clearly see the mounting nuts that hold the faucet in place.
5. Unscrew Everything Holding the Faucet Down
Under the basin of your sink, you’ll find a few nuts that are securely holding the faucet above in place. These need to be removed using a basin wrench. Using this specialty wrench will allow you to pull the faucet away from the surface of your sink. You must remove the mounting nuts or else there is no way for your faucet to be lifted away from its resting place on the sink or countertop.
6. Remove the Faucet and Clean the Work Surface
Now that the faucet is loose, gently remove away from your sink. Once again, this is a great cleaning opportunity. Wipe the sink down where the faucet used to sit using a mild disinfecting cleaning agent. There may be old putty still stuck to the sink, so remove this before you or a plumber installs the new faucet. If you do not remove all of the grime, debris, or putty, this can create issues when trying to create a watertight seal for the new faucet.
7. Install Your New Faucet
Following the instructions on your new faucet, install your new faucet where the old one used to sit. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly since every faucet model is different. After the new faucet is installed, reassemble the plumbing and connect it to the new faucet.
Turn on the water valves and make sure everything is in proper order. If something is amiss, look at the instructions again to make sure you did miss a step or follow an improper procedure. Once the water is flowing again, the task is done.
Other Things to Think About During Faucet Replacement:
Removing a faucet to replace it with a shiny new model is quite simple. Despite the fact that the task may seem intimidating, try not to let it get the best of you. With the right tools, preparation, and time, you can replace your kitchen faucet in an afternoon.
Holly Curell is the editor extraordinaire for Plumbing Lab. Having grown up in Michigan, Holly has spent time living in New York, Virginia, & currently North Carolina, where she lives with her husband & family. Holly loves DIY & has years of experience with at-home plumbing problems that arise from having 3 kids & living in colder climates. When she’s not writing about her plumbing knowledge, Holly enjoys reading, hiking & relaxing with family.