If your kitchen sink needs a makeover and you’re looking for an easy do-it-yourself project to give it a new look, a pull-down faucet is an excellent choice. You can eliminate the old-fashioned swivel head and hot and cold handle aesthetic with a little elbow grease and know how.
Replacing it with a modern fixture, like a sleek single arm with an attached control that allows you to adjust the hot and cold water, as well as an extendable hose and adjustable spray will not only upgrade your style but also add functionality to your kitchen.
The retractable spray hose that’s hidden away inside the pull-down faucet will make it simple to clean your dishes, fill a pot, or rinse out grime from the far corners of your sink. The best part about the project is that it’s simple to complete. If you’re handy with a wrench and can twist a few fittings into place, you’ll be able to get the whole thing done in one afternoon.
Here we will give you a step by step guide on how to complete your pull-down sink installation, and an outline of the cost and time involved in the project.
The Mechanics Overview of a Pull-Down FaucetPhoto credit to Pfister
Plumbing projects can be scary to homeowners. We’ve all seen the home improvement shows where they discover leaky pipes and end up with a catastrophe that costs thousands.
Luckily, replacing your faucet doesn’t require a professional as it is usually a matter of swapping out the hardware and securing some compression fittings. You won’t need education on how to solder or use fancy accessories like Teflon tape to get it done.
Securing your water-supply line may have a different process depending on the type of faucet you’re installing. Some models come with flexible water-supply hoses that are braided and are easier to configure to space than the traditional rigid tubing.
Others still use the stiff copper or chrome option as a supply line. In these cases, you’ll use the threaded fitting on the end and attach it to a braided line with compression fillings that you’ll purchase separately from your faucet.
Finally, some European pull-down faucets will come with just the hardware and not include any connectors. You’ll need to decide if you want to add a compression fitting to the tubing already in your set up and then attach it to the valves directly, or you can use a compression coupler which would give you the option to connect to a braided line.
If you’re purchasing your new faucet at a hardware store, ask an associate about the attachment options with the model. If you’re shopping online, be sure to check out the product specifications and purchase any extra equipment you’ll need to create a tight, leak-proof fitting.
Another consideration is the impact that replacing your faucet will have on the aesthetic of your sink. Most models sport a single control that adjusts the hot and cold water that’s directly attached to the spout, and you’ll only need one hole in the rim of the sink to accommodate the fixture.
If you’re swapping out an older fixture that has separate cold and hot water handles, you’ll have a few extra holes left behind in your sink. You’ll either need to invest in escutcheon plates to mask the spaces or consider replacing the entire basin to eliminate the gaps.
Pull-Down Sink Estimates
Assuming you’re just replacing the faucet itself, here are a few estimates regarding time, skill level, and cost for the project.
Depending on what model you select, the project will run you anywhere from $250 to $1,100. The supplies needed are minimal, and most of the money will be spent on the fixture itself.
A homeowner with a beginner’s knowledge of home repair can complete the project in between one and three hours. The longest portion will likely be removing the old faucet as the installation is very straightforward.
Basic knowledge and understanding of plumbing are helpful, and a moderate skill set with tools will get the job done. No previous plumbing experience is required.
Here is a detailed guide to the exact process you’ll need to follow to replace your existing faucet with a new, pull-down model.
Step 1: Take Out the Existing Faucet
Begin by positioning yourself under the sink and locating the water valves. Take note of which belongs to which, and then turn them off by rotating them to the right until they are tightened.
Next, turn on the faucet to test it and ensure that the water doesn’t continue to flow.
If it comes on, this means that the valves you turned aren’t working properly and you’ll need to find the second valve, which is located further down on the water line and shut those off. Alternately, you could turn the water off at the source; the water main.
Once you successfully stop the flow of water, set a small receptacle or thick towel beneath the lines to ensure you catch any leftover fluid. Use an adjustable wrench and loosen up the nuts that connect the lines to their corresponding valves.
Finally, grab a basin wrench, go under the counter, and reach upwards to find the nuts which secure the faucet to the sink. Loosen them, along with any that are secured to the handles for cold and hot water. Now you’re ready and able to remove the existing faucet.
Step 2: Disconnect the Water Supply Lines
Once you loosen the hex-nut connecting the shut-off valve to the water supply line, you can pull up to separate the line from the valve. Do this gently, and take care not to push down too hard on the valve as it could cause a crimp to form in the copper pipeline coming out of the wall.
Step 3: Get the New Faucet in Position
Begin by screwing the spray head to the hose line, and then thread the hose up and through the new spout. It’s likely that the control handle for the temperature is already attached, but if it’s not, affix it now by using the tool and set screw that came in the hardware kit.
Next, take the sealing ring and glide it over the hoses and supply line to position it onto the stem of the faucet. If you’re covering up holes in the sink, put the escutcheon plate into position.
Finally, secure all of the hoses and thread them through the hole at the center of the sink basin.
Step 4: Affix the Faucet
Although this is a one-person project, if you have a second set of hands that can help for a moment, now is the time to grab them.
To attach the new faucet, position yourself beneath the sink and layer the plastic washer (which is shaped like a triangle), the fiber and metal washers, and the circular nut and slide them over the hoses in that order.
Press them all the way to the underside of the sink. If you have assistance, ask your helper to secure the faucet in the perfect position on top of the sink so that it doesn’t shift as you screw it in place underneath.
Next, attach the circular nut in the assembly into the large threads located on the faucet stem. Grab your basin wrench to ensure the seal is tight, and finally clamp the nut to the first, triangular plastic washer using the screws in the assembly kit.
Step 5: Reconnect the Water Lines
Determine which of the braided lines are cold and hot, and attach them to their corresponding valves on the supply line. Generally, hot is marked with red and gold with blue. Then, take the end of the spray hose that isn’t yet attached anywhere and screw it into the third line coming out of the faucet.
Finally, grab an adjustable wrench to secure all of the compression nuts that connect the supply line and the shut-off valve.
Step 6: Tighten Up the Compression Nut
If you want to ensure that your hose doesn’t get twisted up as you’re making the compression fitting tight, you’ll want to use a two-wrench approach. Start by screwing the nut in tight until you feel moderate resistance.
Hold that wrench in place, and with a second wrench, find the small nut that’s positioned right on top of the compression nut and use your second point of contact to give one final quarter turn.
Remember, avoid using any chemicals or Teflon-based products in this step as they could lubricate and loosen your fittings and cause leaks.
Step 7: Configure the Hose Weight
Pull-down sink faucets come with a weight that sits at the mid-point of the hose that both limits how far it will extend and helps it pull back into the spout.
Grab a tape measure and find the point that’s 15 inches away from the bottom of the fixture on the spray hose. This is the point where you’ll want to fit the weight and assemble it.
Test the position by pulling on the spout and ensuring that it extends and retracts as expected. If the hose isn’t pulling back correctly check to make sure the weight isn’t resting on the base of the cabinet beneath as this will cause the issue.
Step 8: Perform and Aerator Flush
Now that your new pull-down sink is fully installed, all that’s left to do is get it running. Start by turning on the supply valves for the cold and hot water that you shut off when you began the project. Take a moment to study and observe to ensure there aren’t any leaks at the connection points.
If you see water dripping, ensure that the nut is properly screwed on and tightly secured and if everything looks good, take the aerator off of the end of the spray head by unscrewing it. Turn the handle on your faucet to the on position and let the water flow through to flush out the spout and pipes. Finally, replace the aerator.
This is an essential step to ensure that debris from the installation doesn’t get trapped in the mesh filter and give you sub-par water pressure.