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Installing Faucets

Widespread Faucets

Have someone hold the faucet in position while you tighten it.

MATERIALS: Widespread faucet, gaskets, pipe compound, Teflon paste or Teflon tape, plumber's putty

TOOLS: Plastic putty knife, adjustable wrenches, basin wrench

AVOIDING CLOGGED FAUCETS - Working on the pipes can dislodge old grime or rust. If this gets in the lines, it can plug the faucet and actually stop water from flowing. To prevent this, unscrew the aerator at the tip of the faucet. Turn on the water and let it run for a minute or so to remove any dirt. Once you turn off the water and replace the aerator, the faucet should work well without clogging.

1 SEAL THE SPOUT BASE. Form plumber's putty into a rope and place it on the base of the spout. Press the putty against the base, and set the spout in place.

2 HAND-TIGHTEN THE BASIN NUT just enough to hold it in place. Don't over tighten, because you will need to center the spout on the sink in Step 4.

3 THREAD THE TEE ON THE SPOUT. Center the tee so that the outlets are approximately parallel to the back wall and line up with the faucets on either side. (See Step 7.)

4 CENTER THE SPOUT and tighten it from beneath the sink using a basin wrench.

5 PLACE THE FAUCET VALVES IN THE SINK. Slide the washers over the threads from beneath the sink. Tighten the valve nuts until snug.

6 CONNECT THE FAUCET VALVE LINES TO THE FAUCET VALVES. Apply Teflon paste or Teflon tape to the threads of the valve lines, connect to the faucet valves, and hand-tighten. Apply pipe compound or Teflon tape to the other end of the valve lines and hand-tighten onto the spout tee.

7 FINISH THE ASSEMBLY AND TIGHTEN THE CONNECTIONS. Apply Teflon paste or tape to the threads of the water supply tailpieces and connect the hot and cold water supplies to the hot and cold supply valves. Tighten the connections with an adjustable wrench and connect the faucet handles to the valves. Turn on the water and test for leaks

OUT WITH THE OLD IS THE HARDEST PART - As opposed to other home improvement jobs, such as installing cabinets or hanging doors, the hardest part of almost any plumbing job is usually removing the old stuff. Corrosion and inaccessibility can make taking out an old faucet a real pain in the neck. Give yourself extra time to remove old fixtures—it will save on frustration and bruised knuckles.

Center-Set Faucets

MATERIALS: Center-set faucet, gaskets, plumber’s putty or silicone caulk

TOOLS: Putty knife, adjustable wrenches, basin wrench

1 SET THE FAUCET. The tailpieces should fit into the hole spacing in the sink. Apply a bead of silicone caulk (or plumber's putty if the sink isn’t cultured marble) around the faucet openings. PLACE THE FAUCET GASKET. The gasket will set over the faucet tailpieces and set the faucet in the holes.

2 CENTER THE FAUCET BODY. Measure or visually center the faucet body on the lavatory. HAND-TIGHTEN THE BASIN NUTS UNTIL THEY’RE SNUG. Install the pop-up drain. Connect the water supply lines, turn on the water, and test for leaks.

CULTURE IS IMPORTANT - Use silicone caulk instead of plumber's putty on cultured marble or other composite sinks. Putty will discolor the sink.

Installing A Pop-Up Drain

MATERIALS: Pop-up drain kit, plumber’s putty, Teflon tape, silicone caulk, 2x4 support

TOOLS: Water-pump pliers, plastic putty knife, rag

A pop-up drain requires a special faucet fixture. If your current faucet doesn’t accept a pop-up, you’ll have to replace it with one that does. Installing a pop-up is a little like solving a jigsaw puzzle— a lot of little parts have to come together in the right order for it to work. Use plumber’s putty with cast-iron sinks, or silicone caulk on composites or cultured marble, to hold the flange in place. Read carefully the installation instructions for your particular pop-up before you begin.

As with any plumbing job, visualize the steps from start to finish and anticipate the parts of the installation that may cause problems. Clear out a work space in the bathroom and lay out all the tools and materials you’ll need for the job before you begin. Heading for your home center late on a Friday night because you forgot something important isn’t the best way to start the weekend.

1 APPLY PLUMBER’S PUTTY. (Use a 2x4 to support a wall-hung sink while you’re working.) Cover the bottom of the flange with a rope of putty. THREAD THE LOCKNUT ONTO THE DRAIN BODY. Then add the friction washer and beveled gasket.

2 INSTALL THE DRAIN BODY. Push the drain body up through the lavatory hole from underneath. HAND-TIGHTEN THE DRAIN BODY TO THE FLANGE. Turn the drain body and the flange to tighten the connection and line up with the linkage.

3 INSTALL THE DRAIN PLUNGER. Slide the plunger into the drain opening. Under the counter insert the ball into the opening. The ball should fit snugly into the opening in the drain tailpiece.

4 THREAD THE BALL NUT HAND-TIGHT. Slide the ball nut over the arm and screw it onto the threads of the drain tailpiece. Set the pop-up arm. Slide the arm through the nearest hole in the lever strap and fasten it with a clip. Connect the P-trap and adjust the arm if necessary.

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