How to Install a Kitchen Faucet

farmhouse sink with oil-rubbed bronze faucet

So, you want to learn how to install kitchen faucet. Luckily, the process is pretty simple. Any homeowner with basic plumbing skills should be able to complete the task.

The first step in installing a new faucet is understanding how your existing faucet works. The three holes in a kitchen sink accommodate most new kitchen faucets, but some faucets require a fourth hole for a sprayer. The set up of your individual sink impacts what type of faucet you can buy.

Also consider faucet styles and materials. Most people find single-handle faucets easier to use, but if you pick this style, make sure the spout is the right length for your sink. Many newer faucets mount with a center ring and nut. Two more mounting nuts connect at the other two holes in the sink. Usually flexible supply tubes are needed to reach the stop valves.

As for faucet materials, a heavy, solid-brass unit will outlast a less expensive unit, so consider longevity in your budget decision. Regardless of your material choice, the faucet should come with a warranty that includes the sprayer.

When picking installation materials, recognize that braided supply tubes make the job easier. Buy tubes long enough to reach from the faucet to the stop valves. If there are no stop valves under the sink, now is a good time to install them.

You’ll need about two hours to install most faucets. Prep for the job by shutting off water and removing the drain trap.

Editor’s Tip: Installing a faucet requires working in cramped conditions. If you are also replacing the sink, install the faucet before installing the sink. Otherwise do what you can to make the worksite comfortable.

 

What You Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Groove-joint pliers
  • Basin wrench
  • Putty knife
  • New faucet
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Pipe-thread tape
  • Masking tape

Step 1: Turn Off Water and Disconnect Sprayer

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Shut off the water and turn the faucet on until the water stops running. From underneath use a wrench or pliers to hold the stop valve still while you loosen the supply tube nut with another wrench or pliers. Disconnect the sprayer hose from the faucet or simply cut the hose.

 

Step 2: Loosen Nuts

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With a basin wrench loosen the nut on the one or two mounting shanks. If there is a sprayer hose guide, loosen it from underneath with a basin wrench as well. On other types of faucets, you may need to loosen a center mounting nut.

Step 3: Remove Old Faucet

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Lift out the old faucet. If you feel resistance check underneath to make sure everything has been disconnected. In rare cases an old faucet will have supply tubes that are sweated on.

 

Step 4: Place Gasket or Putty

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If the faucet does not have a rubber gasket, roll out a rope of plumber’s putty and press it into place on the bottom of the new faucet. Make sure it is thick enough at all points to completely seal the faucet body.

Editor’s Tip: Some faucets have a rubber gasket, so they do not need a rope of putty. Make sure the gasket is centered and unwrinkled before tightening the mounting nuts.

Step 5: Install Sprayer

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If you have a sprayer, install the sprayer support, tightening the mounting nut first by hand, then with a basin wrench. Don’t overtighten. Run the sprayer hose through the sprayer support and through the center faucet hole.

Step 6: Make Connections

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Make as many connections as possible before installing the faucet to minimize work under the sink. In this case the sprayer tube can be attached; mounting nuts must be attached from underneath before supply tubes can be installed.

Step 7: Slip in New Faucet

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Slip the new faucet into place. If the faucet has inlets and a mounting nut in the center, getting all those tubes through the center hole will be a tight fit. Take care not to scratch the threads. If you need to bend a copper tube, do so gently to avoid kinking it.

Step 8: Install Mounting Nuts

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Have a helper hold the faucet straight while you install the mounting nuts underneath. For this type first apply the mounting nuts and tighten them finger-tight. Check that the faucet is mounted straight before tightening with a basin wrench.

Step 9: Fasten Supply Tubes

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Fasten each supply tube by hand to the faucet base. Then tighten the connection using a basin wrench.

Step 10: Tighten Supply Tubes

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Screw on and tighten the supply tubes to the stop valves. Use two wrenches or pliers to prevent bending the pipes connected to the stop valves.

Step 11: Check for Leaks

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If you bumped the drain trap while working, you may have loosened its joints. To check, fill the sinks with water, remove the stoppers, and watch for any leaks. Tighten leaky joints.

More Installation Tips and Tricks

What You Need to Know About Center-Mounting Nuts

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A center-mount faucet attaches to the sink with a single bracket instead of two tailpieces doubling as hot and cold supplies. Typically a bracket is snugged up against the sink with a nut. With center mounts, supply tubes can be installed before the faucet is set into the sink.

Know Your Supply Tube Options

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Flexible plastic supply tubes are the least expensive but are not allowed by code in some areas. Plain copper and chrome-plated tubes are long-lasting but require careful measuring, cutting, and bending. Braided tubes are long-lasting and are the easiest to install.

What to do if Copper Runs to Stop Valves

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Many plumbers prefer to install copper or chrome-plated copper supply tubes rather than flexible lines. This saves a bit of money and makes for a slightly more solid installation. Cut the supply tubes with a tubing cutter and bend them with a tubing bender. Attach the compression fitting.