8/20/2012

Bathroom Sink - How to Install a Faucet

A couple of years ago i replaced the faucet in my bathroom. It was a really easy job and it took less than an hour. It was easy because that sink is attached to the wall without anything below it, all the pipes were exposed and easy to access. Also i only changed the faucet, not all the other drain pieces. Karrie has been using this bathroom in the hallway. It has a lot more room to put stuff and actually has two sinks, but there's not a lot of room underneath.
how to remove old sink faucet, cheap bathroom faucet about to be removed and new faucet installed

It has the same old cheap faucet as the one i replaced in my bathroom. Here's the cheap plastic faucet that i hate.

old cheap bathroom faucet, get rid of that old faucet, cheapest bathroom faucet

So one enthusiastic day i though, "Hey i'll replace those two faucets just like i did in my bathroom. It' shouldn't be too hard." So i went to Home Depot and they were still selling the exact same faucet from Glacier Bay. It's nothing fancy, just a $28 brushed nickel faucet. I liked this better then the chrome version, which they also make. Here's all of the pieces that come in the box.

new glacier bay bathroom faucet from home depot and lowes, brushed nickel, chrome

The first thing i did was get under the sink and turn off the hot and cold water valves. This was actually kind of difficult, those valves looked and felt like they hadn't been turned off in decades. I had to use pliers to really tighten them before all the water stopped trickling out. Then i climbed under again in order to remove the plastic nuts that hold on the old faucet. Then the old faucet could be lifted off of the sink.
After that i used a metal putty knife to remove all of the old plumbers putty.
how to fix your old bathroom sink faucet, remove nuts under sink tool

Then a whole lot of problems started when i decided to change drains as well. The reason i wanted to do that was because you can see from the picture above that the drain and plug are chrome. I thought it wouldn't look good with the brushed nickel faucet. So i thought that i could just easily unscrew it and install the drain that came in the box. It turns out that this was a bad idea. Well not really, but about 20 minutes into taking it apart i thought, "I've made a huge mistake." Here's what it looked like underneath. The gray plastic piece is the one i wanted to change out.

pipes and hoses under sink, below under sink drain, caulk, putty, shut off valve

I unscrewed the plastic nut and loosened it from the sink itself. But then in order to separate it from the metal pipe i had to wiggle it around a little. It turned out that the metal U-bend pipe could not handle any wiggling. It completely broke off in my hand. The pipe was totally rusted through right at the point where it connected to the wall. This is where i said, "Uh oh."

rusted, broken bathroom sink drain, metal pipe u bend

You can see how rusted and filled with gunk the pipe was.

whats inside pipe drain, sink drain, gunk inside pipe at house home, clogged

Suddenly at this point i thought the old faucet seemed perfectly fine and was questioning why i decided to replace it in the first place. Unfortunately when things look like this it means you have already crossed the point of no turning back.

how to replace a sink faucet, parts, new bathroom faucet for sink

The reason why the pipe was so full of gunk and completely rusted was because of how it was installed originally. The sink on the right drains toward the sink on the left. I found this out when i tried to clean off my hands with the working sink and water drained out the other hole. But the problem was that the pipe didn't have enough slope to the downward drain, which meant that there was always water sitting in the pipe. So after 40 years with water always sitting in the pipe it just completely rusted and fell apart.

As with all of these projects i went back to the hardware store to find the right drain pipe. They actually didn't have what i needed. It's a little hard to tell from the picture above of the broken pipe but i needed a pipe with a slight bend. Neither a straight nor a 90 degree bend pipe would work. The only thing they had that would work was this pipe with two 45 degree bends. When i got home i immediately went downstairs and cut the pipe in half. Luckily that worked and everything fit back together.

45 degree pipe bend needed to fix bathroom sink drain, home depot pipe, expensive

To install the drain and plug i wrapped the pipe with tape and drain with plumbers putty. I really had to tighten the plastic nut down in order to get a good seal with the sink.
install sink drain with plumbers putty and tape, stop sink drain leak

Luckily after a bit of a scare, everything went back together fine. The second sink was even easier. Since there wasn't any water sitting in that pipe it wasn't rusted and didn't break. Also i found $1 in quarters at the bottom of the U-bend.
found money in sink drain, old rusted coins found while fixing drain, found free money

Here it is with the sinks all finished. Nothing fancy but i think it looks a lot better with the new faucets.

new bathroom faucet, how to replace an old bathroom faucet, repair

3 comments:

Jim said...

Who knew that it was a bad idea to keep your change in the sink?

Anonymous said...

"with the right knowledge and skills on plumbing"
Well now there's the rub. That's why I hafta call a plummer!

Dave Wirth said...

I always say " What's the worst thing that can happen?"

The only way you learn is by first doing it completely wrong. Then you're like, "ok, it can't get any worse then this."

Then after you fix it, next time it won't seem so daunting.

-Dave