Knowing how to install a kitchen faucet can transform your space and keep you from having to call a plumber—saving you at least $100. This easy home improvement DIY allows you to play with design on a whim by swapping out an existing faucet for a different finish, or upgrading a dated faucet à la 1990s for a smart touch model, or at the very least one with a pull-down hose.
“The sink and faucet area is one of the most used features in any kitchen and is often regarded as the room’s centerpiece,” says Caroline Danielson, director of showrooms, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. “Upgrading your kitchen faucet is an easy, visually appealing and highly functional way to give your room a fast design refresh or complement a whole kitchen remodeling project.”
If you’re new to handling DIY installations, it can seem a bit overwhelming, but being prepared can go a long way. Luckily, knowing how to install a kitchen faucet is a fairly straightforward project you can complete in five steps.
Can I install a faucet myself?
The first thing to do is to find out if you are allowed to install a new faucet based on your home and warranty, which sometimes requires installation by a licensed professional. “One thing to consider, make sure you understand your local building codes,” says Eric Goranson, a longtime interior designer and host of the podcast Around The House. “In some places a building permit might be required to even replace that faucet.” Some states also require certain specifications. “Recent legislation requires that new faucets installed by customers in Vermont, Maryland, and California must be free of lead,” Danielson adds.
Is installing a kitchen faucet difficult?
That depends, says Goranson: “Installing a faucet can be somewhat of a simple project or it could be much more difficult depending on your abilities and the condition and age of the existing faucet.”
Brett Wegner, Kohler’s kitchen faucets marketing manager agrees. “There can be ergonomic challenges with accessing the under-counter portion of the faucet, like shank and hose connections, but the installation process is rather simple,” he says. “It is often harder to uninstall the current faucet given older, and frankly less intuitive, installation hardware, [but faucet install] has been improved dramatically over the decades.”
Choosing a new faucet
The first step is to decide what type of faucet you want.
Think about how you use your kitchen, says Molly Machmer-Wessels, a co-owner and designer at Woodland Design Company, a business that builds custom spaces in homes. Do you cook often, for example? If so, extras such as a smart-touch faucet or a sprayer for cleaning the sink after prep will likely be useful.
Next, choose the design aesthetic that best suits the space and your style. Look at the shape, silhouettes, and scale. Let the existing room and home guide the feel, but keep in mind that a faucet can be a design moment. Choosing something unique and sculptural can make an impact.