Replacing an old or leaky kitchen faucet with a new one is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to update the look and functionality of your kitchen. With some basic tools and a little bit of time, you can install a new faucet on your own without having to call a plumber. This guide will walk you through the entire process of how to replace your kitchen faucet, from picking out the right model to installing it correctly. We’ll cover planning and preparation, step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks, common mistakes to avoid, and answers to frequently asked questions. With the help of this comprehensive DIY guide, you’ll gain the skills and confidence to tackle this project yourself. So let’s get started!
Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Kitchen Faucet
Before you head out to purchase a new kitchen faucet, there are a few things you need to consider first in order to pick the right model.
There are several different types of kitchen faucets to choose from:
- Single-handle – This type has one handle that controls both hot and cold water flow. They are very common and provide precise temperature control.
- Two-handle – These have separate handles for hot and cold water. They allow you to fine-tune the water temperature but take up more space.
- Touchless – These faucets turn on with a simple hand wave and are ideal if you want a very modern look. However, they rely on battery power.
- Pull-down/pull-out – This type has an extendable nozzle that pulls down into the sink or out towards you. They provide great versatility for cleaning and filling pots.
Consider which type best suits your kitchen setup and preferences. The single-handle and pull-down models are very popular right now.
Kitchen faucets come in a wide range of styles, including:
Take into account your kitchen’s existing decor when choosing a style. Transitional faucets often have a timeless look that works with most kitchen designs.
From classic chrome to sophisticated matte black, faucet finishes affect the overall look and feel. Some popular options include:
- Brushed nickel
- Polished chrome
- Oil-rubbed bronze
- Matte black
- Stainless steel
Make sure the finish complements your sink, cabinet hardware, and other fixtures.
Standard faucet heights range from about 8 inches to 16 inches. Measure from your existing sink’s countertop to the current faucet height. Then choose a new faucet height similar to your old one.
Taller faucets allow more room for washing large pots but could splash water outside the sink. Lower height faucets have a more streamlined look.
Number of Faucet Holes
Check to see if your existing kitchen sink has 1, 2, 3 or 4 holes for the faucet and other features like a sprayer. Then choose a new faucet that will align with the current hole configuration.
You can always switch out the sink too if needed to accommodate the new faucet. Consider getting a faucet and sink combo.
Many new kitchen faucets have special features that add functionality:
- Motion activation to turn water on/off hands-free
- Magnetic docking for a pull-down/pull-out spray head
- A built-in water filtration system
- Soap/lotion dispenser
- LED lights
Decide if any of these features are useful to have in your new faucet.
Kitchen faucets vary widely in price from $50 budget models to $500+ designer faucets. In general, you get what you pay for in terms of materials, durability, features and style. Set a budget to narrow down your options. $150-300 gets a very good quality faucet.
Considering all these factors will help you pick out the perfect kitchen faucet for your needs.
How to Replace Your Kitchen Faucet
Now let’s go through the step-by-step process for how to remove your old kitchen faucet and install a new one.
Step 1: Turn Off Water Supply Lines
The first step is to turn off the hot and cold water supply lines under the sink that feed water to the existing faucet. This is done via the shut-off valves.
Locate the valves, which are usually near where the supply lines connect to the main water supply. The valves will look like small metal handles.
Turn the hot water valve clockwise and the cold water valve counter-clockwise until tightened. This shuts off the water.
Turn on the faucet to release any built-up pressure and ensure the water is completely off.
Step 2: Disconnect Water Supply Lines
Under the sink, locate the connectors where the supply lines attach to the faucet’s shut-off valves.
There are usually small nuts holding the supply lines in place. You’ll need to unscrew these nuts using pliers or a wrench. This will detach the lines.
Have a bucket or pan ready to catch any water that drips out of the supply lines after disconnecting them.
Also unscrew the lines from the main water hookups. You can leave the supply lines attached to the valves for now.
Step 3: Remove the Existing Faucet
Now it’s time to remove the old faucet. The exact process will vary depending on your faucet type but usually involves the following:
Locate the mounting nuts that hold the faucet to the underside of the sink. You’ll find them at the base of the faucet near the countertop.
Using an adjustable wrench or basin wrench, loosen and unscrew the mounting nuts. On some faucets you may need to first remove any decorative caps covering the nuts.
With the mounting nuts removed, you can now lift the faucet assembly from above the sink and fully detach it.
If needed, use a screwdriver to remove any remaining washers or O-rings left behind on the sink or countertop holes. Clean any dust, putty or grime from the holes as well.
Congrats, you’ve officially removed the old faucet!
Step 4: Install the New Faucet
Time to install your new replacement faucet! Here are the basic steps:
Read the manufacturer instructions that came with your faucet for model-specific directions.
Apply plumber’s putty or caulk around the base of the new faucet. This seals the gaps between the faucet and sink holes to prevent leaks.
From above the sink, lower the new faucet into the existing holes and align it correctly.
Hand tighten the mounting nuts under the sink to partially secure the faucet.
At this point you may need an extra set of hands! Have someone hold the faucet in place from above while you finish tightening the mounting nuts from below using your wrench or basin wrench.
Connect the water supply lines to the faucet inlets and tighten the nuts firmly with your wrench.
Almost done! Time to turn the water back on and test for leaks.
Step 5: Turn Water Back On and Check for Leaks
The final steps are to turn the water supply back on and make sure your newly installed faucet isn’t leaking.
Turn on the hot and cold water shut-off valves under the sink to restore water supply to the faucet.
Remove any aerator that may be at the tip of the faucet spout. This allows any debris in the line to clear out.
Turn your new faucet on all the way to both hot and cold settings. Let the water run for about 1 minute.
Check carefully for drips or leaks at the base of the faucet, around the sink holes, or near the supply line connections. Tighten any areas that leak with your wrench.
Finally, turn the faucet off and reattach the aerator.
Congratulations, you’ve successfully replaced your kitchen faucet! Enjoy your new fixture.
Common Problems During Installation
Here are some common troubleshooting tips in case any issues come up while installing your new faucet:
Faucet doesn’t fit the existing sink holes – Install an escutcheon plate or get a faucet that aligns with your current hole configuration. You may need to drill new holes if absolutely necessary.
Supply lines are too short – Purchase braided stainless steel supply line extensions that allow you to connect the lines to your new faucet.
Mounting nuts hard to reach – Use a basin wrench which has an angled arm that gives you more leverage in tight spaces.
Water supply won’t turn back on – Make sure the shut-off valves are open all the way. Turn the handles counter-clockwise. You may need to replace a faulty valve.
Faucet leaks from handle – Take off the handle and tighten the cartridge nut or replace worn washers and O-rings.
Don’t be afraid to call in a professional if you run into any issues above your skill level.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s go over some common FAQs about replacing a kitchen faucet:
How long does it take to replace a kitchen faucet?
For an experienced DIYer, it typically takes 2-3 hours from start to finish. Turning off the water lines and removing the old faucet takes less than an hour. Installing and testing the new faucet can take 1-2 hours. Have patience and don’t rush.
Do I need to replace my sink when replacing a faucet?
Usually no, you can just install a new faucet on your existing sink. But if you want to upgrade your sink too, replacing both together is easiest. Make sure to get a faucet that fits your current sink or vice versa.
What tools do I need to replace a kitchen faucet?
Basic tools include adjustable pliers or a wrench, screwdrivers, bucket, flashlight, basin wrench for tight spaces, and plumber’s putty or caulk. Use Teflon tape for threading supply line connections. A second person helping out also makes the job easier.
Can I install a new kitchen faucet myself?
Yes, installing a new kitchen faucet is generally a DIY project that anyone can tackle in a few hours with some plumbing know-how. Patience and following instructions are key. But call a professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing it.
How do I get rid of hard water stains on my new faucet?
Use distilled white vinegar and scrub with a cloth to remove any hard water residue. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a soft towel. You can also wipe with a lemon oil solution. Be gentle to avoid scratching finishes.
Should I replace supply lines when installing a new kitchen faucet?
It’s recommended to install new supply lines when you replace a kitchen faucet. This ensures you won’t have any issues with worn or leaky lines. Use sturdy braided stainless steel supply lines.
Will I need to shut off my home’s main water supply when replacing a faucet?
No, just shutting off the supply valves under the sink is sufficient in most cases. Shutting off the main home supply may be needed if the valves under the sink don’t work or you’re replacing the sink too.
Now you know everything involved with replacing a kitchen faucet, from choosing the right model to a step-by-step installation guide. With a little bit of DIY plumbing work, you can save money and end up with an updated, functional fixture. Just take your time, turn the water off first, and get help if you have any doubts. Follow this comprehensive tutorial, and you’ll be enjoying your new kitchen faucet’s performance and style in no time!