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Wear and tear damages practically everything, and bathroom faucets are no different. This applies to all types of faucets in your bathroom, those on your sinks as well as tub faucets, or tub spouts.
The most difficult part about replacing a leaky faucet is removing the existing one. In this short read, we’re going to take you through the process, as well as how to handle some tricky situations while removing bathroom faucets.
The tools you will need
- Two pairs of channel-type pliers
- A bucket
- Allen keys
- Basin wrench or pipe wrench
- Utility knife
- A blanket or old towel
- Penetrating oil
Removing a deck-mount faucet
Stop the water flow to the faucet
Irrespective of the type, shutting off the water supply to the faucet is the first thing you will need to do before you remove the faucet. You can do this by turning the shut-off valves under the sink counterclockwise. Make sure the water is turned off by turning on the faucet valves.
The next thing you will need to do is disconnect the water supply tubes from the shutoff valves. You will need two pliers to do this. With one, you can hold the shutoff valve in place while you loosen the compression mounting nut with the other.
In most cases, these tubes are either flexible plastic or chromed and rigid copper pipes, both of which are easy to detach. However, in some cases, the water supply tubes may be soldered onto the shutoff valves. In that case, simply cut them off using a tubing cutter or a hacksaw.
In any case, it is always best to replace supply tubes when you’re replacing a faucet, and replacement parts are easily found in local hardware stores and Home Centers.
Loosen mounting nuts
Use a basin wrench to remove the mounting nut underneath the sink that attaches one of the two faucet valve tailpieces to the sink. Once again, you will need to turn it counterclockwise to loosen it. Repeat the process with the second faucet mounting nut as well.
This will be easier to do if you remove the supply tubes from the mounting nuts as well before you begin.
Remove the faucet
Now you can remove the handles and the faucet itself. In most cases, you may caulk holding the faucet and the handles in place. Cut through the caulking with the utility knife and remove the faucet.
Removing a bottom-mount faucet
The process to remove a bottom mount is different from removing a deck-mount faucet. However, the first step remains the same.
Turn off the water supply
Once again, begin by turning off the shutoff valves below the sink. Once you’ve double-checked, place a bucket underneath the pipes to catch any spillage.
Remove the faucet spout and the handles
You can remove the handles and the spouts working from the top. You ought to find a hidden set screw for the handles and a different one for the spout, often under the escutcheon ring. Loosen the screw and you can twist the spout off.
Remove mounting nuts
Use the channel-type pliers to remove the mounting nuts holding the handles and the faucet. You are likely to find one each at the hot and cold water handles as well as one for the spout.
Remove the faucet
Once you have removed the mounting nuts that hold the faucet, the faucet stem ought to fall off by itself. It is advisable to keep a blanket or towel underneath so you don’t damage the floor when the faucet assembly falls off.
Dealing with stubborn faucets
Sometimes, faucets can be especially difficult to remove. In most cases, the reasons are rust, mineral deposits, and corrosion. Here’s how to deal with stubborn faucets that just won’t budge.
- Make sure the water supply to the faucet is turned off.
- Then, use a wire brush to remove as much of the rust as possible, and use a wrench to see if the faucet has loosened up.
- If that does not work, use your hairdryer to heat the corroded area. Heat makes the metal swell, and this helps loosen the bond.
- If even this does not help remove the faucet, wait for it to cool completely, and then squirt some penetrating oil into the area. The reason you need to wait for the area to cool down completely before applying the oil is that penetrating oil is inflammable.
- Allowing the penetrating oil to rest for a bit ought to loosen up the corroded bits. Remove them with a wire brush and apply some more oil every couple of hours until the faucet is loose enough to be removed.
When in doubt, call the experts
DIY home plumbing is easy on paper, but not everyone is cut out to be handy with tools. If you feel like these tasks may be too difficult to handle by yourself, always call upon the services of a professional plumber. After all, a leaky faucet isn’t worth flooding your home.