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How To Install A Faucet

Part 4: Hallelujah... Time to install the new faucet!

To the manufacturer's credit, most faucets have very good installation instructions. READ THEM!  I have been doing faucet installations for nearly 30 years and I still look over the instructions... mostly because there are often changes in materials and procedures and I never seem to get the memos!!

I will go over the basics here (with comments).  You can get the specifics from your faucet's instructions.

Install the new sprayer base, attach the sprayer hose and then... the faucet!

Remove excess plumber's putty from hose sprayer seatIf your faucet has a separate sprayer hose, you should make all connections before installing the faucet in the sink.  It is very difficult to attach it once the faucet is installed... especially if you are working with a very deep sink!

First, install the sprayer base in the proper hole in the sink.  If you have one from the previous faucet, you may reuse it if it still looks good and the new sprayer fits it.  Otherwise, remove it, clean off the old putty (like you did for the faucet) and install the new base. Put soft plumber's putty all around the base and press it in place.  Don't be stingy.  You can see from the graphic that I'm not!  You don't want any water leaking around the base of the sprayer or the sink.

Insert the "faucet end" of the sprayer hose through the base and back up through the center of the three faucet holes.  Wrap the threads (only) with two or three overlaps of Teflon tape and attach the hose to the faucet, tightening firmly.

OOPS!! If your faucet has a plastic or rubbery gasket (plastic in the graphic), be sure to place it on the faucet before you attach the sprayer hose.  (By the by, notice how clean the sink is!!  Got lucky this time! Applause not necessary.)

What about those inlet tubes??

Straighten faucet inlet tubes before installingSpecial supply lines, called inlet tubes or inlet hoses, are used to make the final connection between the shutoff and the faucet.  In some cases, you may be able to attach the inlet tubes or hoses to the faucet before you position it on the sink.  If your faucet allows this, by all means do it, even if the instructions don't specifically say to.  It is more difficult to install them from under the cabinet once the faucet is in, especially if you have a very deep sink and/or a "cluttered" cabinet!

Unfortunately, the Delta faucet we are installing will not allow us to install the inlet tubes now, so I'll be with you under the sink!  As you can see, the sprayer hose and both supply lines have to pass through the center hole of the sink.  There's hardly enough room for them!  In their wisdom, Delta staggered the lengths of the tubes so they pass (with moderate persuasion) through a standard opening!

Faucet installation plumbingSome  faucets use the same threaded nipples to attach the faucet to the sink and to attach the water supply tubes (see graphic).  You have no choice but to install the inlet hoses or tubes after the sink is firmly installed.

Now it's time to attach the faucet to the sink.  Use plumber's putty under the rim of the faucet ONLY if the manufacturer requires it.  A 1/4" bead is plenty!!  Now press the faucet in position and get on your knees, handyman, and crawl back under the sink.

Some faucet manufacturers instruct you to use silicone caulk instead of putty under the faucet base.  There are plusses and minuses to using caulk... the big minus being the sheer sloppiness of it!  Also, any movement during installation may produce a poor seal.  In most cases you can use putty instead of silicone caulk.  (Be careful... putty will cause staining in some non-china sinks)

Don't replace the silicone with latex caulk... big mistake!  Latex caulk is a much more tenacious adhesive than silicone, so you might have difficulty removing the faucet later, if necessary!

Tighten up that faucet...

Using the hardware supplied, tighten the faucet body to the underside of the sink.  Once you have the fastener(s) fully installed so 1) the faucet sits level and 2) the putty is compressed but not fully tight, crawl back out and check the position of the faucet.  If it seems off-kilter, use your trained eye (or a ruler) to position it evenly front-to-back.  Side-to-side alignment is less noticeable in most installations.

Water... give me water!

Attaching the faucet to the plumbing is pretty straightforward.  If you want to save yourself some aggravation, don't use copper or chrome inlet tubes to connect between the shutoff and faucet.  They are tricky to align and cut and must be bent "just so" or you will have leaks.

Looping faucet inlet tubesInstead, do it the easy way and use flexible "bladder-type" hoses.  Though I selected the plastic-covered flexible hoses for this job, the stainless steel type is best because they are more burst-proof!  They are also a tad more expensive.

Note the position of the sprayer hose in the graphic.   It is TOO easy to accidentally entangle it on the wrong side of a supply tube!  Trust me on this one.  BE SURE THE SPRAYER WILL PULL UP (AND DOWN) FREELY.

Because it has been wrapped for lord-knows-how-long, it will be a little "curly" so don't expect it to slide perfectly now.  Once you run some hot water through the hose it will "relax".

Don't overtighten the nuts on the inlet hoses!  The usual routine is to turn the nuts "hand-tight" and then turn them an additional 1/2 to 1 full turn.

Test for leaks...

Have all the connections have been tightened?  Good.

Now, remove the aerator from the faucet.  This is important to wash out any debris that may have entered the water lines during installation.

Turn on the faucet... both hot and cold sides for two handle models, or raise the single handle up in the "middle" position.

OK... now it's time to turn on the water supply.  Slowly.  If any leaks appear, turn the water back off and tighten the connect just a little... 1/4 to 1/2 turn only.  Repeat as necessary until full pressure causes no leaks.

So far so good.  Now it's time to test the sprayer. The best way is to pull out the sprayer hose and remove the head to flush The finished faucet installationout the line... same logic as removing the aerator.  Any crud that gets into the spray head may affect its function.  Turn the water on for a few moments, turn it off and then reattach the spray head.

The end... hopefully

Great job!  Now the most important part... the "finishing touches".

Do a final "clean up" of any residue from the putty or other sealant.  Then, wipe the faucet with a soft cloth to bring out it's natural brilliance... and enjoy!