{Drip, drip} New bathroom faucet

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The bathroom faucet in our condo has been leaking for a while. We figured out a special on/off trick to make it leak less, but that only made it go from a continuous stream to a steady drip. So, “fix leaky faucet” was high on our pre-move to-do list. After doing a little research, we discovered that we needed a replacement cartridge that is nearly impossible to find, while replacing the entire faucet would be a 15-minute, $30 project, so we decided to replace rather than fix.

See all that water pouring out? The faucet was off!

Have you ever replaced a faucet? This was my first time, and I was surprised at how simple it was. Turn off the water valves under the sink (you do not want to forget that part!!) and unscrew everything (first the metal nuts for the supply line, followed by the plastic ones that hold on the faucet). A basin wrench is suggested for unscrewing the big plastic pieces, but in our case, it was really easy to unscrew these by hand – so the only tool we needed was a regular adjustable wrench to disconnect and reconnect the supply line.

 

Remove the old faucet, and you will have a lovely set of holes in your counter like this…

 

Then it’s time to stick on the new one. Apply a little plumber’s putty around the base of the new faucet (it’s like clay for grown-ups – I even made a clay snake to press around the base. Fun times.). Plunk the faucet down, then do all the former steps in the reverse – screw on the big plastic things, screw the supply lines back on, turn your sink valves back on, and voilà, you’ve got a new faucet! Easy peasy!

Ours looks awfully familiar, eh? I’m not in love with chrome, but considering our shower fixtures, lighting fixture, towel rack, and toilet paper holder are all chrome (and in good condition), we decided to stick with it. We weren’t too excited about any of the lower priced chrome faucets, and at $29 this one was our favorite style of the cheap bunch, even though it was nearly identical to our old one. Unfortunately, there is a reason it was cheap – the first one we got still leaked! Just a tiny drip, but still…not good. That probably should have scared us into choosing another model, but we just exchanged it, and the 2nd one is drip-free (at least for now).

New faucet #1 – can you see the little drop of water coming out to taunt us?

The other piece that we hadn’t even planned on was changing out the sink drain. Our old sink drain had a nice rusted look that made it appear dirty even when it was just cleaned. Somehow it never occurred to me that the drain was separate from the sink and could be easily swapped out, so this wasn’t in our original plans to update, but a new drain actually came with the new faucet. Score!

Sorry for displaying this grossness, but I forgot to take a pic before we removed (and broke) the old drain – you can see all the rust on the remaining piece of the drain on the right.

Changing the drain was more difficult that changing the faucet. The steps are fairly straightforward again, but this involves removing some of the pipes under the sink, and in our case, it was really hard to disconnect them.  Apparently that’s a common problem – the guy in the how-to video that I watched even had to break out a hack saw. Luckily, I didn’t have the patience to watch the full video before I got started, or I might have been scared off from doing this! In any case, we were Bryan was finally able to get the pipes off, and then I was able to put in the new drain pretty easily. Here are Mr. Faucet & Ms. Drain looking all shiny & new! (and drip/rust free!)

And yes, I realize we sound awfully boring with our condo updates so far. First, it was “well, we had to get a new microwave but didn’t want to update the rest of the kitchen, so we just got basically the same microwave we had before,” and now it’s exactly the same situation with the bathroom faucet! So yeah, pretty dull… but these are just budget updates to get the place in an acceptable state to rent out – not choices we’re making to beautify the place for our own enjoyment.

So who reads Young House Love? Everyone? That’s what I thought. (Personally, I’m slightly obsessed.)  They just posted today about putting in the same faucet! I drafted this post yesterday but had to add a little note to highlight my excitement about having famous faucet buddies!

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