How to Install a Pull-Down Faucet
Help your kitchen to the latest in faucet design with these step-by-step instructions.
A stiff-necked kitchen faucet with a little swivel head clutters the back of your sink, what with the spigot, the hot and cold handles, and that squat black spray hose (which, let's face it, always leaks). The current trend in faucets is a single, sleek arm protruding from the sink rim—hose, faucet, spray, and hot and cold controls all in one place. One hand, all functions.
Pull-down (and pull-out) faucets have a retractable spray hose hidden inside the traditional fixed spigot. Great for filling pots, cleaning dishes, and giving a head of lettuce a thorough rinse, they're another brilliantly conceived and mighty cool-looking convenience in the world of kitchen expediency. Even better: Like most faucets, they're a snap to install. Just the twist of a few fittings and you've brought your kitchen one step closer to the modern world.
Pullout Faucet Overview
Too often, plumbing projects scare homeowners. All those flames and molten solder—it's enough to make you put the plumber on speed dial.
But you can hang up the phone. The faucet part of plumbing, at least, is a different story. These days, the most oft-replaced plumbing fixture hooks up with a pair of simple compression fittings—threaded nuts that fit onto the hot-and cold-water supply valves and tighten without a need for soldering, pipe dope, or even Teflon tape. "It's a really homeowner-friendly system," says Richard Trethewey, This Old House plumbing and heating expert.
On some faucets, flexible braided water-supply hoses take the place of rigid tubing, making the installation even easier. Many, however, still come with rigid copper or chrome supply lines. These have a traditional threaded fitting on the end and are designed to be attached to lengths of braided line with compression fittings, which you will have to buy separately. Then there are the European products that come with no connectors at all. In that case, you have the choice of adding a compression fitting to the rigid tubing and attaching it directly to the valves, or using a compression coupler that allows you to attach a braided line.
Most pull-down faucets have a single control for hot and cold attached right to the spout, so they only need one hole cut through the rim or counter at the back of the sink. But if you're replacing a fixture with two separate handles for hot and cold, you'll discover that you're left with three holes behind your sink—or four if you also have a separate spray hose. In that case, you'll need to mask the holes with escutcheon plates—an oblong one for under the faucet and a small round one for the old spray head. Or, if you have too many leftover holes but don't like the look of an escutcheon, this would be a good time to consider replacing the sink itself.