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How To Plumbing Series for Decatur and Hartselle, AL Homeowners: Faucets and Sinks, Part 2: Sinks

As noted in the previous How To Plumbing post on faucets, you can’t troubleshoot or replace faucets without dealing with sinks. One is attached to the other.

This post looks at installing a sink faucet and looks at one kind of faucet/sink install — the vessel sink.

For the most part, you should be able to install your own faucet but there are circumstances where you may want to call a Decatur and Hartselle, AL plumber or plumbing contractor:

  • You are not DIY inclined and hate all things DIY
  • You have NO idea how plumbing works and just don’t want to deal with it
  • You’re getting older and getting up and down from the floor to the counter isn’t as easy as it used to be on your hips and knees, so you’d prefer not to do it
  • You hate working in tight, cramped, dark, poorly designed spaces under sinks
  • You have a bad back
  • You have really large hands and find fiddling with plumbing nuts and fixtures under a sink difficult and immensely frustrating

No one will blame you if you call a Decatur and Hartselle, AL plumber, but you can do this. Really. This post looks at installing a sink faucet and a vessel sink.

How To Install a Sink Faucet

Replacing a sink faucet is fairly easy as long as you relax, chill, do your homework, and take time to prep.

  • When you go shopping for new faucets, note the kind of faucet that’s installed now. Take a picture for reference. While most faucets are sized to fit standard openings in countertops, every now and then you might like a different style of faucet, only to discover it’s a bit bigger than what your countertop can accommodate.
  • Before you start the installation, make sure you have everything you need — the new faucet, of course, any new hoses, washers, plumber’s putty, and so on. Take the time to prep your work area by moving junk under the sink out of the way, have a towel handy to wipe up any drips. And don’t forget to layout the tools you need. All of this makes the job go smoother and faster.
  • Start by turning off the water at the supplies under the sink. Open the hot and cold taps on the faucet to relieve the pressure. Use a cup to collect the water from the supply lines as you disconnect them. If you are replacing the water supply lines too, then disconnect from the supply valves. Otherwise, disconnect the supply lines from the faucet beneath the sink. If you have enough room to work, you can use slip joint pliers, but a basin wrench may make the job a lot easier.
  • With the basin wrench remove the mounting nuts that secure the faucet body to the sink. If they will not loosen, spray them with penetrating oil and give the oil time to work.
  • If replacing a bathroom sink, disconnect the drain lift rod from the drain pop-up assembly. The two most common styles require loosening a thumbscrew or squeezing a metal tension band to release the lift rod.
  • You should now be able to remove the faucet body, although the old putty may have a hold on it. If so, carefully run a putty knife around and under the faucet to break the bond. Lift off the old faucet and clean the surface of the sink before mounting the new faucet.
  • Wrap the male threaded fittings with Teflon tape or pipe dope to improve the seal.
  • Your new faucet may come with a mounting gasket or the instructions may direct you to create a base using plumbers putty. If directed to use putty, roll out a length of putty between your hands, about 1/8″ in diameter and long enough for the entire perimeter of the base of the new faucet. Apply the putty gently to the base and then place the faucet into position on the sink. Gently rock the faucet to create a bond between the faucet and the sink. Make sure the faucet is level and there are no gaps in the putty. Gently scrape away any excess putty.
  • From beneath the sink, slide the washers (if any) onto the faucet and fasten the lock nuts securely. Do not over tighten the lock nuts.
  • Now connect the water supply lines. You may be able to use the old supply lines or you may need to install new ones like flexible, braided stainless steel supply lines because they are very easy to work with. Plumbers and builders often use rigid tubing when houses are first built because it is cheaper. However, when given an opportunity to change supply lines do it. If you ever have to make repairs or replacements again, all you need to do is unscrew, install the new fixture, and screw back on.
  • Screw the supply line connection to the faucet, making sure that you connect cold-to-cold and hot-to-hot. Insert the drain lift rod and connect it to drain pop-up assembly. Test the lift rod to make sure it seals and opens properly.
  • Remove the aerator so that any debris in the water lines can be flushed out. Turn on the water supply valves and then turn on the faucet for a few seconds. Replace the aerator and then inspect the connections for leaks.

How To Install a Vessel Sink

If you’re remodeling your bathroom there is a very good chance your spouse will want to new sink like a vessel.

Installing a vessel sink a relatively simple task, though it does take some planning ahead of time, as well as attention to detail. It’s not like installing an under-mount kitchen sink, so you won’t have to call a building contractor or Decatur and Hartselle, AL plumber for help.

  • First decide on a vessel sink. There are two basic styles of vessel sinks: bowl-shaped sinks with a round bottom, and flat-bottomed sinks. It is also important that you choose a vessel sink that will work with your faucet — or buy a faucet that works with the vessel you’ve chosen. Size is just as important as looks.
  • Next, determine whether you want your vessel sink to be a countertop sink or a recessed sink. The countertop installation technique is the most popular and versatile; the recessed style only works well with perfectly rounded vessel sinks made of wood, stone, or copper. Trying to install a glass recessed vessel sink, for example, will lead to scratches as well as unsightly adhesive smears. If you plan on installing a glass or copper vessel sink, you should also invest in a mounting ring.

For a countertop vessel sink:

  • Coat the contact patches of the sink in a very strong silicone adhesive gel, or some other strong countertop adhesive.  The “contact patches” are the parts of the vessel sink that will come into direct contact with the countertop; for a square-bottom vessel, apply adhesive around the whole perimeter of the base. For a round bottom, apply a small amount of adhesive at the bottom of the bowl. Try to avoid applying adhesive very close to the edge, as this will smudge.
  • Position the sink drain hole over the countertop drain opening. Be careful; accuracy is important as you’re dealing with a very strong adhesive. Once the sink is in place, insert the drain through the drain opening. Make sure it fits! Now, wipe up any excess adhesive around the base.
  • The vessel sink will be held in place by the adhesive, the drain, and its own weight.