Replacing Your Kitchen Tap
Today we're going to attempt to expand your DIY capabilities with a comprehensive technical guide on how to remove and fit a kitchen tap.
Installing a kitchen tap is a great skill to have – so direct more of your family funds to some great Christmas presents and take a couple of hours out of your Sunday to add to your home maintenance skills with this fun venture.
Whether or not your new tap has been purchased ready to go from our expansive online store, tap into our team’s expert knowledge and let’s fit your kitchen tap with minimum fuss and maximum results.
Modern Kitchen Mixers
Most kitchen taps these days are modern mixer tap designs. This means that both hot and cold water are delivered through a single tap rather than through two separate taps for hot or cold. They may also feature a foam plate underneath the tap that provides a superbly tight seal atop the sink.
Overall, this makes mixer taps a wonderful modern design and as a result your kitchen tap replacement will be much simpler.
Keep in mind kitchen taps will have either copper pipes, or flexible tails - the latter being what the vast majority of modern kitchen taps now have.
You will need to gather a small selection of tools to carry out your kitchen tap removal and subsequent installation as smoothly as possible.
Most of these are fairly standard tools so if you are a bit of a dab hand at DIY then we don’t think you’ll need to run out to B&Q or anything, however you may need to grab one or two tools. Once you have them, you’ll never need them again!
You will need:
- Adjustable wrench
- Basin wrench
- Slotted screwdriver
- Water pump pliers
- Pipe cutter
- vBox spanner or ratchet
- Compression fittings or check valves
- Hacksaw or olive splitter
- Limescale remover
- Old towel and bucket
- Masking tape
- Joining compound
- PTFE and thread seal tape
Now, not all of these may be required depending on the type of tap purchased as well as the cleanliness of your set-up prior to this DIY role. But it pays to be prepared!
OK, we’ll leave you to head off and gather these supplies. Don’t forget that you’ll also need your shiny new kitchen tap, which we hope you have ordered to the correct measurements.
Once you’re back, let’s dive in…
How to Remove your Kitchen Tap
We must first clear the arena of your existing kitchen tap. Whether you are replacing due to a fault or simply renovating, let’s get that tap gone.
First, are you using a mixer tap? If not, use your masking tape and pen to label which supply pipe is hot and which is cold. If you are using a mixer tap, then you will not need to do this as there will only be one supply.
Next, locate your home’s shut off valve and turn off the water supply!
If you have isolating valves then use a screwdriver or turn the valve handle. If you do not have isolating valves then head to the mains and close the stopcock.
Now turn on your existing kitchen tap to drain any water left in the pipes and once the system has been drained you can close the taps again.
Now proceed safe and dry to Step 2 of kitchen tap removal.
Clear the area below your sink so that you have a good working space.
You may now like to lay an old towel (old as it will potentially get messy!) and even bring in an old bucket below to catch drips.
Now you can disconnect the water pipes. You will need one or two adjustable wrenches depending on whether or not your existing kitchen tap was fitted using compression fittings.
If so, you will need one wrench to hold the fitting and another to loosen the nut that is above the fitting (closest to the kitchen tap).
If not, just one wrench will be required to loosen the nut holding your water pipes securely.
Undo with firm yet balanced force then unscrew the loosened nut with your fingers.
Within each nut of your compression fitting will be seals known as olives.
You will need to remove them gently using water pump pliers so that you can properly remove the nuts.
If they are stuck then you may need to use a hacksaw or olive splitter. The olive cutter is a preferable specialist tool that will enable you to more comfortably remove the olive and will lessen the likelihood of you damaging the pipework it covers.
With your kitchen tap pipes disconnected you can now undo the securing nut that is located below the sink at the base of your existing kitchen tap.
You can use a box spanner for easiest access to this potentially tricky location. However if you are limber you can always just use a standard ratchet.
Now that your kitchen tap securing nut has been removed you can pull out the old tap. Be careful when doing this as it can be a bit of a tight fit, especially if the taps have been in place for a long time.
The cut outs in metal sinks are also very sharp so watch out for this and if you sense some stiction then please apply reinforced gloves to protect your hands!
Here is a good opportunity to do a deep clean of the surfaces that were covered by the old tap and fixtures. Use your limescale remover and any other specialist cleaning products that you employ to provide a clean space to fit your new kitchen tap.
How to Replace your Kitchen Tap
Did you enjoy that? We bet!
Take a breather and go stretch out from your stint stuck under the sink. Once you get back, we’re going to guide you through every step of fitting your new kitchen tap.
OK – are you loosened up and ready to dive back in? Well then, after you…
How to Balance Kitchen Tap Water Pressure
Before we kick things off once more, let’s take a second to consider balancing the water pressure of your new kitchen tap. After all, there is no better time than now to adjust those imbalances you ignored in the lead-up to replacement.
The way to ensure a balanced water pressure is that your hot and cold water emanate from the same source. Routing hot and cold from different sources presents a real risk of unbalanced water pressure in your new tap – so why not make the most of your slick new kitchen tap and align your hot and cold supply?
If you are sticking with separate sources, local regulations may require an officially checked non return or single check valve fitted to both source pipes where they connect to the tap. Ensure the valves are fitted before your kitchen tap flexible connectors and with their arrows pointing upward.
This will keep cold water from running back through the hot water pipe when both are switched on and cooling your hot water too quickly. If you’re confused, just give us a shout and we’ll be delighted to talk you through it.
Remove your shiny new kitchen tap from all of the packaging. You’ll find that most new kitchen taps are supplied partially assembled.
Lay out all of your components on the kitchen counter and review your product instructions for any preparatory moves.
If your new kitchen tap installation requires you to use flexible tap connectors, you may first need to screw these into the base of your tap.
If not, ensure that you fit the copper tubing and brass thread according to manufacturer directions. Ensure that you follow the correct procedure for all O rings, spacers and other fixtures specific to your new kitchen tap.
Guide your flexible tap connectors or other fitting down through the newly gleaming port in your sink. Ensure as above that you follow the correct procedure for all fixtures specific to your new kitchen tap. Otherwise you may end up with a leak.
If you are in the UK then it is conventional to have the hot tap on the left and cold tap on the right. Of course, you needn’t necessarily follow this pattern during your kitchen tap installation.
It’s just something to keep in mind that could catch people unaware, and something that people forget about when wrapped up in conducting the mastery of their DIY kitchen tap installation. Keep all connectors in the correct direction and not twisted.
Now it is time to fit the tap in place from beneath using your box spanner or ratchet. First, use the washer. Then the securing plate. The final step to actually fitting the tap is the locking nut. And there we go!
Side Note: Tap Braces for Heavy Taps
If you have a heavy tap that is slightly flexing your metal sink then you may wish to install a tap brace so that it does not affect the shape of your sink over time.
Reinforcing heavy tap installations is best done with tap braces that join the tap to the actual worktop rather than the sink alone. This will provide the most stability.
Most tap braces are highly adaptable and will fit a majority of modern tap threads. If you are unsure just give us a shout and run your potential tap and brace combos past our expert ear.
Now connect your hot and cold pipes with your adjustable wrenches. Just as when you disconnected them from your old kitchen tap, use one to support the valve fitting and the second to tighten the nut.
Don’t worry right away if your existing compression fittings do not fit exactly. Copper piping can be bent slightly but certainly ensure that you do not bend them to the point that you compromise their shape.
When it comes to the compression joints, ensure that you apply the correct tightness so that you do not rupture the joint. You should also apply joining compound to the olive before you seal the joint. This will promote the cleanest and most reliable possible seal for the best performance of your new kitchen tap.
And if the compression fittings cannot be modified, you will have to use new flexible tap connectors. These are easy to acquire in a range of lengths and fittings from your local DIY store and make installing kitchen taps as simple as possible.
With everything in place, double check that all connections are tight then turn the water back on.
First, open the cold tap slightly. As it runs, check the system for leaks. When confident everything is correctly fitted, open the cold tap fully. Now try the hot. Result!
If you discover a leak, turn the water supply off then return to double checking all connections are tight.
Side Note: Dealing with Leaks
If there are leaks at the compression joint, you can undo the joint and tightly apply PTFE tape to the olive. PTFE tape is excellent at reinforcing a seal and establishing waterproofing.
Remember to apply the tape in the opposite direction the pipe thread so that it does not get pulled open when you reapply the nut!
And avoid over-tightening when it comes to reapplying the nut as the extra pressure of the PTFE tape may cause the olive to dislodge or rupture and worsen the leak.
Discovering the pipework itself is the cause of the leak may require you to call on a plumber. Don’t be disheartened to have called on external help at this late point – now you have someone in the know to show off all your hard work to!
Now 100% leak-free, turn on your new kitchen tap slowly and progressively so you can gauge the power of your setup and not soak everyone who’s gathered around to witness this spectacular occasion.
Congratulations – your kitchen tap installation is complete!
That should earn you a few passes on doing the dishes.
Still Need a Hand?
If you would like any advice on kitchen tap replacement – be it the best tap, sink or brace for your setup or something else altogether in the realm of bathroom design, please reach out to our support team right here!
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