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How to change a kitchen tap

father washing son's hands in the kitchen sink - How to change a kitchen tap

Your kitchen taps can make a big difference to the feel of your kitchen. If you fancy a change of style – perhaps you’d like a tall, elegant mixer tap to replace your functional one – well, this step-by-step guide shows you how to change your existing tap for a new one, including all the tools and materials you’ll need.

Table of contents

  1. Reasons for changing your kitchen taps
  2. Replacing your kitchen tap: what you need to know
  3. How to install your new kitchen tap
  4. Changing a kitchen tap FAQs

Reasons for changing your kitchen taps

Dripping tap

Maybe you’re considering changing kitchen taps because your old one has seen better days. Besides being annoying, a dripping kitchen tap can cause you to waste a lot of water, so it’s best to either replace the washer – if it has one – or the tap. See our guide to How to fix a dripping tap for more details.

Renovating your kitchen

If you’re a homeowner or landlord doing a kitchen renovation, changing the taps is bound to be on your list of things to update. If you’ve already purchased your matching sink and taps and are now ready to fit them, keep reading and check out our How to renovate a kitchen guide afterwards for some more ideas, tips and tricks!

How to change a washer on a kitchen tap

If you have a full-on leaking tap, it’s a costly fault you’ll need to investigate and fix quickly, so check out our guide to How to fix leaking taps right away. You’ll find out how to stop the leak immediately while you fix it, including tips on how to change a washer – or cartridge, as are more common these days – on your leaking tap.

If the problem isn’t your taps, but an issue with your sink, we’ve got you covered for that too:

Blocked kitchen sink

Kitchen sinks get blocked from time to time, so here’s our handy guide to Unblocking your kitchen sink.

Kitchen sink smells

This is the red flag telling you to fix that stinking sink before it gets blocked!

Replacing your kitchen tap: what you need to know

Most kitchen taps are mixer taps. This means the hot and cold water comes in from the bottom and is mixed in the tap so that you can choose the temperature of water you need. The pipes from these generally come up from the same hole in the sink. However, some people prefer to have their hot and cold taps separate, so the holes for these can be much further apart on your sink. Whichever taps you choose, make sure that they’ll fit correctly to the sink itself.

Under each tap, there’s a long-thread fitting with a nut that will go through your sink. This nut, washer and the securing plate will hold the tap from underneath onto the sink. There’s also a plastic seal, which creates a water-tight bond between the sink and the tap.

If you’re replacing an old tap, you’ll need to turn off the water supply to your house before removing it.

How to install your new kitchen tap

Tools and materials you’ll need:

  • Your new kitchen tap (including fixings)
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Pliers
  • Box spanner
  • Screwdriver
  • PTFE tape

How to remove the old tap

1. Turn off the water supply to your taps. They may have their own isolating valves. Turn these so they’re at right angles to the pipe to shut the water off. If you don’t have isolating valves, you’ll need to turn off your whole household’s water supply at the main stop tap – this is usually located under the kitchen sink. There may also be a valve at your hot water supply tank (usually in the loft or in an airing cupboard).

2. Now run the kitchen tap empty to make sure you completely drain the pipes of any water.

3. Clear everything underneath the sink so you’ve got enough room to do the replacement.

4. Lay down a towel and have a bowl or bucket handy to catch any drips as you unscrew the pipe connectors.

TOP TIP: To get super-easy access to the sink cabinet, it’s a great idea to remove the doors.

5. Now you can disconnect the hot and cold taps from their water-supplying pipes. If you have standard water pipe connections, you’ll need to unscrew the nut where the tap joins the pipe using an adjustable spanner. Support the tap with another adjustable spanner or pliers to stop it from twisting. You’ll get some water dripping at this point.

6. If you have flexible hose connections, unscrew the nuts where they join the main water pipe connections. Use an adjustable spanner or pliers to grip the connection or valve as you loosen it.

7. Once the hot and cold pipes are disconnected, you should undo the nut that holds the tap to the basin

8. If you have enough room underneath the sink, the easiest thing to use is a box spanner

9. Slot the box spanner over the threaded section onto the tap connector nut

10. Once the nuts are off, simply lift the old tap unit out

11. Be careful, as the tap hole in the sink can have very sharp edges.

How to fit the new tap

1. Clean around the hole in the sink to get it ready – there’s probably some gunk left over from the old seals. Again, be careful of the hole’s sharp edges and be gentle to avoid scratching the surface of your sink.

2. Place the new tap into the hole (or holes if you have separate ones). Make sure you place the plastic seal between the tap and the sink.

3. Then screw the tap down to the sink from underneath with the box spanner, remembering to put the washer and securing plate in first, between the nut and the sink.

4. Tighten as much as you can using the box spanner and then reconnect the hot and cold pipes.

6. Once you’ve reconnected the tap, turn the water back on at the supply. If water seeps out of the threading on the pipe, then make sure the unit is tightly screwed in, or you might need more PTFE tape. However, the likelihood is that it will work perfectly.

7. Now turn on your new tap. It’ll probably gurgle a bit as you release the air bubbles, but your new tap is now ready to use.

You’re now the proud owner of a new set of kitchen taps!

If you want to protect yourself from worrying about any future unexpected kitchen or plumbing issues arising, our plumbing and drainage cover is here to help. So you can fully enjoy your kitchen with the peace of mind that, if something should go wrong, an expert will be there to help.

Changing a kitchen tap FAQs

Can I change my taps myself?

Yes. Even if you’re a beginner DIYer, follow our step-by-step instructions for removing and replacing your existing tap to the letter and you’ll have a gleaming new set of taps in no time.

How much does it cost to replace a kitchen tap?

It’s easy to replace your kitchen tap yourself with the right tools and a replacement tap – just make sure that it fits your sink correctly.

How do you remove old kitchen taps?

1. Switch off the water supply to the taps
2. Clear some space under your sink to work and put a towel down to catch drips
3. Disconnect the water supply pipes to the taps
4. Unscrew the taps from the sink using adjustable spanners

How long does it take to replace a kitchen tap?

If you’re an avid DIYer with plumbing experience, it’ll be done in under an hour. If you don’t know your adjustable spanner from your box spanner, you may spend more than a couple of hours. Follow this guide and you can’t go wrong. Decide you don’t want to tackle this yourself – let our Home Experts help.

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