Bathroom Plumbing Handyman

How To Install Bathroom Plumbing Fixtures

Installing a shower, tub, or sink faucet isn’t as difficult as it seems. That is, if you’re comfortable with accurately measuring, drilling, and working with pipes. With the right tools and expertise, you can replace a bathroom faucet with a new one in as little as an hour.

Before you begin, you should consider the amount of time it will take you to install the new fixtures. For most people without experience you should expect to spend at least half a day installing a shower or bathtub faucet. A sink faucet will take a couple of hours, on the other hand. These are only estimates, however. The actual length of time it takes to install a new bathroom fixture will largely depend on your skill level.

At Kaminskiy Care & Repair, we have the knowledge and capability when it comes to installing bathroom fixtures efficiently and flawlessly. Replacing an old fixture may seem like a simple task, but when considering all the steps it takes to install a new fixture, you may second-guess your decision to do it yourself. Our plumbers at Kaminskiy Care & Repair make sure that each bathroom fixture is up to your standards, without any leaks or damage to the pipes.

If you choose to try it yourself first, this article breaks down the installation process into steps, so the entire project runs as smoothly as possible.

Before Starting A Bathroom Repair Project

Before you can begin the installation process, there are several things you need to consider.

First, you want to choose the shower, tub, or sink faucet you are going to install. This pre-step is especially important if you are replacing an old fixture rather than installing a completely new faucet.

Shower, tub, and sink faucets all come in different styles and setups. When replacing old fixtures, you want to make sure the faucet you buy fits the configuration of holes in your sink or wall. For example, the number and configuration of holes for a single-piece faucet are different versus those needed for a split-set faucet. When it comes to shower and tub fixtures, you want to make sure your fixtures work with the valves you already have in place.

Also keep in mind that you should follow the manufacturer’s directions for plumbing the faucet, since each faucet is different. In some cases, your faucet may not include integrated shutoff valves. This means you will have to install shutoff valves yourself as part of your project. 

When replacing or installing shower and tub fixtures, you should check that there are separate lines supplying the shower or tub. If your bathroom doesn’t already have them, you want to install separate 3/4 – inch lines to supply the shower or tub. This extra step ensures good water pressure and protects the person using the shower or tub from sudden temperature changes when another faucet is turned on or the toilet tank refills. As part of this prep process, you will also want to tap into the cold and hot water lines as close to the water heater as possible.

Bathroom Sink Faucets

Once you have gone through the prep process above, you can begin looking into installing the bathroom fixtures yourself. The difficulty of installing a bathroom sink faucet mostly depends on your access to the underside of the sink and the plumbing setup. Installing a new faucet is easier during new construction because you do most of the assembly before installing the sink and faucet. However, if you are installing a faucet on an existing sink, access is trickier because you are working from inside the cabinet underneath the sink.

Bathroom Plumber Handyman

One tool that may make the job easier, regardless of when you are installing the faucet, is a basin wrench.  It allows you to reach up and tighten fittings behind the sink bowl during the installation process.

Other tools you will need include:

  • An adjustable wrench – You can adjust the wrench to be just the right size to remove any valves or nuts needed.
  • A screwdriver – Most fixtures require a Phillips-head screwdriver.
  • Plumber’s tape (optional) – If your faucet features threaded NPT (National Pipe Taper) fittings, be sure to use plumber’s tape on any connections that do not use a rubber or gasket seal.
  • Plumber’s putty (optional) – In the case that your fixtures do not come with a gasket, plumber’s putty can be used instead.
  • Silicone (optional) – While most new faucets come with a gasket of some kind, it’s still a good idea to apply clear silicone caulk to the bottom of the faucet and gasket to ensure a good seal. Silicone can also be used to prevent the faucet from moving around if the connection nuts loosen.
  • A bucket and towels – Having a bucket can be handy for draining any water left in the supply lines or storing any pieces of the fixtures you do not want to lose. Towels can also help mop up any unexpected messes.

You should always make sure you have all the tools necessary to complete your project before you begin.

How To Install A Bathroom Faucet: Step-by-Step

Unpack your new faucet and make sure all the parts are included in the package. If any pre-assembly is required, do it now. Remember to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer, too.

If you are installing a completely new fixture with sink, work with the countertop upside down on top of the vanity or, if it is much larger, on the floor upside down. You may also skip steps 2 and 3, which only apply to a faucet that is already installed.

Bathroom Faucet Repair Handyman
  1. Turn off the water. Before you remove anything, you need to make sure there is no water being supplied to the lines. You can drain some water by turning on the faucet. Also, depending on your valves, you will either shut off the supply valves mounted in the wall or under the sink, or the main water valve for the entire house.
  2. Remove the supply lines. Remove both the hot and cold supply lines at the shut-off valves or the faucet using your adjustable wrench. Have a bucket or container nearby to catch any water from the lines. Keep a towel on hand, as well, to clean up any spills.
  3. Remove the old faucet. Not all faucets are secured to the sink the same way. Some may have a threaded rod with a nut securing it to a mounting plate on the underside of the sink while others may simply have a large locknut. Once you have loosened the nut or nuts holding the faucet in place, you can pull the old faucet up and away from the sink.
  4. Clean the top surface. Before installing the new faucet, scrub away any dirt or mineral deposits on the sink surface. You should follow this step regardless of whether it is a new sink and countertop or an existing set.
  5. Install the deck plate. If your faucet comes with a deck plate, mount it now. You can use silicone to create a second seal and adhere the plate to the sink as a safeguard against leaks and other damages.
  6. Attach the water supply lines to the faucet and install the faucet. Insert the supply lines through the hole in the deck plate or sink. Be sure to use a screwdriver to tighten the set screws on the locknut.
  7. Install the shut-off valves. If you are using a single-hole faucet, you can skip to step 9. Assemble the hot and cold mixing valves. As a reminder, the hot and cold valves are left and right respectively.
  8. Thread the trim. For a split-set faucet, thread the trims onto the mixing valve, then install the new water line extensions to the shut off and mixing valves.
  9. Connect the flexible water-supply tubes. Install the hot- and cold-water supply lines to the corresponding shut-off valves. Tighten until snug.
  10. Install the drain pop-up. This is assuming your faucet includes a drain pop-up that allows you to lift the drain stopper with a sink-top lever. Since the pop-up mechanism is part of the sink drain tailpiece, you need to remove the existing drain tailpiece before installing the new one.
  11. Push the lift rod into the hole in the spout. You then attach it to the pivot rod, using the extension rod and spring clip. You may need to adjust it so the drain stopper will open and close properly.
  12. Install the sink, if not already installed, and turn on the valves. Once you have assembled everything, you are ready to install the sink into the countertop. If you are replacing an existing fixture, you can skip that step and turn on the valves. Test your setup for any leaks by turning the faucet on and off.

Shower And Tub Fixtures

Shower and tub fixtures can be easier to install if you are replacing existing fixtures. However, if you need to change a valve or you are installing a completely new system, such as a removable showerhead, then the project tends to be much more difficult. The steps to replace a showerhead or tub faucet are similar to replacing a sink faucet.

  1. Turn off the water. Like with a sink faucet, you want to make sure the water is turned off before you begin removing and moving pipes and supply lines.
  2. Remove the old trim or faucet. Remove the old shower or tub faucet, exposing the valve.
  3. Remove the old valve (shower) or the old nipple (faucet). In order to put in a new shower valve, you need to remove the old valve from inside your shower. This can be difficult, especially if there is no access panel to the valve behind the shower wall. In that case, you will need to carefully drill a hole or two in order to first locate the valve, then cut a section of the wall out for access. You will then assemble the new valve before placing it in the wall and connecting it to all the supply lines.

In the case of a bathtub faucet, you need to unscrew the old nipple with a pipe wrench. Sometimes, the nipple is too short to grab. In this case, you will need an “internal” pipe wrench as well as a regular wrench to unscrew the nipple.

  • Install the new valve (shower) or the new nipple. Once you have assembled your new valve, set it to the correct depth within the wall, accounting for the thickness of the drywall, tiles, and shower enclosure. You can test for leaks at this time by capping off the tub faucet or showerhead (if it is still attached), the turning on the water supply valve. Screw a test cap onto the valve before this and look for any leaks.

Once you are sure there are no leaks, you can patch up the wall before installing the shower cartridge.

For tubs: Wrap the ends of the new nipple with thread tape and screw it into the fitting inside the wall. Seal around it with silicone caulk to prevent any leaks.

  • Install the new showerhead or tub faucet. Showerheads all typically install the same way. Screw the nut onto the threads of the shower arm and wrap some Teflon tape around the threads. Then, screw the shower head onto the threads. Check manufacturer’s instructions for an additional information.

For tubs: Once you have screwed in the new nipple and properly sealed around it, you can put on the tub faucet. Check your manufacturer’s directions for the type of faucet you have and how to put it on.

Contact Us

Kaminskiy Care & Repair specializes in making home projects easy for you. We provide services that efficiently and safely finish all your repairs or installations without you having to lift a single tool. DIY projects can be fun and rewarding, but when you’re busy with your family, career, or life in general, you cannot afford to spend so much time fixing your bathroom fixtures. We’ll install or replace your bathroom fixtures for you so you can go back to enjoying your shower, tub, or new sink faster. Call us to make an appointment and receive a free consultation.

Posted In - Bathroom, Handyman Checklist