Small Improvements: Bathroom Sink Faucet

Small improvements — that’s all we can hope to make over a weekend (or two).

The old faucet and drain (hell) hole.

So I went out and bought a cheap faucet.  I know it’s not a good idea to buy cheap plumbing fixtures, but…  I’ll leave it at that.

There is a lot to spend money on right now, and I wasn’t interested in making a permanent decision for the sink/vanity area.  And it’s not like it was really, really cheap.  It was Price Pfister, so it’s about as cheap as you can get while still having a recognizable name.  (It has a plastic drain assembly. PLASTIC.)

The first thing you need is to make sure you have tools.  Not just any tools, but the right tools.  And maybe some help.

Meet Sam, plumber’s helper.

According to the enclosed instructions, the average estimated time for installing this lavatory faucet is 60 minutes. This does not include the time to remove the old faucet.  “This estimated time will vary depending on many variables such as the install application, the skill level of the installer, the type of plumbing, the type of tools used, etc.”  Considering my skill level was nil, the types of tools were questionable (“honey, do we have a really big wrench for removing the drain?”), and because of my special helper, I expected this project to take at least 360 minutes.

We spent a lot of time not getting things done.

And it just might have.

The new faucet (and drainstopper!).

(There are various tips I can provide, such as: if the guy at the hardware store hands you a tub of plumber’s putty, make sure it works with the materials in your faucet, such as, PLASTIC.  If not, you’ll inevitably call around to your friends looking for the right caulking to borrow.  (Particular young guy at hardware store doesn’t like his job, I imagine. Find one of the older gentlemen there instead.) Also, sometimes there just isn’t the clearance behind the sink for the drain assembly levers and pulleys and all those little gizmos that make it work, so you’ll end up purposely gouging a hole in the wall beneath your sink so the lever can operate (somewhat) smoothly. Oh and, what the hell? How do big ol’ men with big ol’ hands and big ol’ fingers actually do this easily? I imagine they have craftier tools than our wimpy pliers and wrenches.  Also, if you find yourself holding the flashlight in your mouth while wedged under the sink trying to tighten a nut with said wimpy pliers? Get a better flashlight that can stand independently as a lantern. Thank goodness I finished this project a couple months ago. I’m not sure I could fit my belly under there these days.)

 

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for making me smile this morning!!

    Reply
  2. My dad used to be one of those old guys in the hardware store. When he retired from the Pentagon, he worked at what was then, but is now, sadly, no longer, a Washington area institituion—Hechingers. In this area, it was the original of what Home Depot and Lowes try to be, and in its heyday, it was wonderful. Anyway, sinks are a PITA to work with, but there’s a tool you can get that fits the nuts on sink hardware, and essentially you can tighten all that crap without the agony of trying to use a regular wrench. The problem with a lot of plumbing tools is that one hopes that working on plumbing is a rare thing. So you wind up with a bunch of tools that are so specialized and that you hope you never, ever have to use again.

    I have a metric for the crappiness of fix-it jobs, which relates directly to trips to the hardware store.

    1 trip — piece of cake
    2 trips — ugh, well, whatever, I needed some grass seed
    3 trips — what a pain, this job will never be done
    4 trips — Honey, why don’t we call a plumber, carpenter, etc. (ballistics ensue)

    Reply
    • I knew there must be a tool like that. It certainly didn’t help having a almost-3-year-old climbing on me while I was curled up under the sink. We can rent tools around here, but I’d really just like to find a circle of friends that includes a plumber so we can borrow what we need (and call for advice!).

      (I love hardware stores — always have.)

      Reply

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