A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Change A Kitchen Tap

One major problem someone faces in the kitchen is the faulty functionality of the tap (or else the faucet). After of few years of use, it starts to have problems. It might be due to mineral deposits, limescale buildup, misuse or other things. No matter what the reason is, you’ll still need to change the kitchen tap and the under the sink water filter.

A white kitchen sink with a deck mounted mixer tap

You usually call a plumber to deal with issues involving water and pipeworks. But we can promise you that replacing an old tap is much easier than you think.  It’ll take you 2-3 hours to remove the old faucet and install the new one. So here’s a step-by-step guide to learn all the details and become an expert. And if you feel ready enough, you can then opt for changing your bathroom’s tap as well completely on your own.

What are the types of kitchen taps?

Kitchen taps are usually deck mounted. They’re attached to the hot and cold water pipes via holes on the counter or the sink.

There are 2 main tap types:

  • Kitchen mixer taps: This type needs a tap hole for both cold and hot water. One leaver or two separate taps can control it. This type gives better water temperature control.
  • Pillar taps: This type consists of two taps, one for the cold water and one for the hot. The disadvantage is that you can’t mix and use cold and hot running water at the same time.

Of course, there are many differences in the material they are made of. There are stainless steel, plastic, solid brass, etc. You need to be rather careful before making your choice because not all will last as long as you would think.  A tap made of lightweight brass or plastic won’t last long. On the other hand, a tap made of solid brass is probably the ideal choice. You might also want to check the best boiling water taps too, which can provide you with boiling hot water at any moment of the day.

A guy is trying to install the tap's lever

Terms you need to know

You aren’t an expert! We know that! There are so many things that they’re probably all Greek to you! But that’s OK! Here’s a mini “dictionary” to help you understand all the puzzling terms:

  1. Compression joint/compression fitting: A way to connect copper pipes to stop valves.
  2. Flexible supply pipes: Flexible hoses used as connectors to the hot and cold stop valves.
  3. Putty: A “glue” that looks like clay prevents dripping by creating watertight seals around tap parts.
  4. PTFE tape: Also know as thread seal tape, Teflon tape or plumber’s tape. It’s a thin, white tape used to seal fittings.
  5. Pipe joint compound: It’s a paste you can use instead of tape. It’s used to seal threaded pipes.
  6. Deck-mounted tap: It’s a type of tap placed on the top of the sink or worktop. It’s usually attached via two to four holes.

The tools you are going to need

Changing a tap involves a couple of tools. But, if you like DIY projects, you’ll probably have most of them. Otherwise, you’ll have to get them.

  • Old towels
  • Cleaning cloths
  • A slotted screwdriver
  • Compression fittings or check valves
  • An open-ended wrench
  • A basin wrench
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Suitably sized box spanner
  • A back nut box spanner
  • PTFE tape
  • Rubber washers
  • O-rings
  • Limescale remover

Unsrewing the lever from the mixer with an adjustable wrench

How to remove your old kitchen tap step-by-step

If you are used to keeping things in the cupboard under your kitchen sink, remove them to reach the pipe connectors. Since you are emptying the cabinet, maybe it’s time to organise your kitchen as well. You may want to lay an old towel because it’s going to get a bit messy, as with all sink jobs. Now, you can get down to work and replace your faulty tap.

Step 1: Switch off the water main

Before doing anything, you should turn off the hot and cold water supply valves. To do this, you have to find the shut-off valve. If you have isolating valves, apply a quarter turn to switch off the water. Then, run the tap to make sure you’ve turned it off.  If you don’t have independent isolating valves, you’ll have to turn off the main stopcock’s supply.

Step 2: Disconnect the tap from the mains

If you have a standard hose system, use an open-handed wrench to loosen the screws that connect the pipe to the tap adapter. Some water might come out. Don’t be surprised! It’s absolutely normal!

In case you have a flexible pipe connection, use a wrench or adjustable pliers to unfasten the nuts where they connect to the mains pipe connections or fitted isolator valves. You should use a cleaning cloth around the jaws to prevent scratches. You might find it hard to unscrew the nuts as they become tighter over time.

Step 3: Remove the tap

It’s time to remove the old tap. First, unscrew the nut at the base of the tap, which is attached to the kitchen sink. Hold the tap tight so that it doesn’t rotate while unscrewing the nut. Depending on the type of faucet, you will need the corresponding tools.

Removing a stainless steel deck-mounted mixer tap

If you have mixer taps, you’re going to need an open-ended spanner or a suitably sized box wrench to unscrew the nut on the securing stud. In case you have an individual traditional pillar and bridge combination type, you’re going to need a basin wrench or a back nut box wrench to unscrew it. You’ll have to remove the nut completely to be able to remove the tap and any associated washers of seals left hanging up.

Once you have removed the nut from the stud, you can remove the tap with its flexible hoses. You need to be careful while withdrawing the hose ends, especially on stainless steel sinks. You don’t want to cut your fingers.

As soon as you have removed the tap, you’ll have to clean any dirty residue and buildup from the open mains pipe connections under the sink.

How to fit your new kitchen tap step-by-step

Once you’ve successfully removed your old kitchen tab, you’re ready to install your new tap. But, to encourage you a bit, we have to admit that tap installation is much easier than removing it. So, it shouldn’t put you off.

Two flexible hoses for hot and cold water on a stainless steel sink

Here are the steps you need to follow to install the tap in your kitchen sink:

Step 1

The first thing you have to do is clean the area from where you’ve removed your old faucet. It might need some elbow grease to remove dirt and mineral deposits build-up. Avoid using products containing harsh chemicals, as they might damage the surface.

Step 2

Make sure you read the tap’s guidelines before you start. First, for individual pillar and bridge combination types, apply 4-5 turn of tape to the mains connection lower threads. Wrap the tape in a clockwise direction to secure it. When you’ve wrapped it, fit the new tap.  Mixer taps have pre-fitted hoses. If you don’t have a mixer tap, screw the hoses into the base and tighten them by hand. Next, feed the mains connections hoses through the hole from the previous tap. Ask someone to hold the tap into place while you’re dealing with the hoses underneath the sink. Finally, screw the retaining nut either by hand or using a pair of adjustable pliers.

Step 3

You are almost finished. It’s time to reconnect the mains supply. Use rubber washers or o-rings to secure the connections to your water pipes. Screw the connector nuts to the mains pipe connections or fitted isolator valves and tighten using an open-ended wrench.

Step 4

Now, you’re ready for the final step: To turn on the water supply. You’ll need to adjust the isolating valve or turn on the water from the stopcock. Check the hoses for leaks and drips, and then turn on the tap. And voila!!! You’ve just replaced your new tap!

A black kitchen tap with water running through it

Replacing a kitchen tap is a DIY job that anyone can do. However, having some experience and skills can save you some time. Βut if you do not even know where the water mains are, then this is a great project to get you started on finding your inner plumber! We promise you, though, that in the end, you’ll have a new top installed. After that, you can learn how to stop kitchen tap splashing.

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