All Faucets are not created Equal

6 Sep

In our minds The Craftery isn’t just sewing needles, crochet hooks and paintbrushes.  Our world of craftery also forays into home improvement.

It all started so simply. The faucet was leaking on the upstairs bathroom sink and the stopper on the sink had not worked for the entirety of the 3.5 years I had lived in my home. The pedestal sink itself was chipped underneath.  This bathroom also had little to no storage. Changing out a sink couldn’t be that difficult, right?

A few weeks earlier I had purchased the sink and cabinet at Home Depot for $150 and the faucet for a mere $25.00.

3 trips to my trusty Ace hardware, one trip to Menards,  and 2 trips to Ace later I was in business. Did I mention this process took me three days?

Part One: remove the old sink.  I got so excited I forgot to take photos- oops!

Step one. Shut off the water to the sink. Immediately I knew I was in trouble. My shut off valves looked like this. Have I mentioned that my home was built in 1924?

 I could shut them off, but when I tried to disconnect them- the entire valve started twisting off (not a good thing!). So I shut off the water to the whole house. Ran the water enough to empty out the pipes and then proceeded to take off the shut off valve, which was connected to the sink.

Next I disconnected the waste water pvc pipes.  These come apart fairly easy. Just make sure you have a bucket to catch anything that is caught in the trap.

I then used a utility knife to cut the bead of silicon caulk that ran along the back of the sink. The bottom pedestal portion of my pedestal sink was NOT connected to the top so I removed it and held the sink up with  my hands while unscrewing the bolts from the wall. The bolts and metal piece held up the sink.  NOTE: I would NOT do this alone.  It could have easily come crashing down on me or on the tile and smashed either the tile or hurt me. Fortunately it didn’t.

Eventually the sink just came loose when the metal piece was loosened So I carried the top, then the pedestal out to the curb where someone else picked them up or the trash man found them the next morning.

This was the first run to Ace Hardware for the shut off valve.  They are ever so helpful and asked why I had not brought the valve with (it was still stuck to the sink in the back alley).  I purchased a valve for ½ inch pipe only to arrive home and find it was too big.  So I went out back and disconnected the very rusted fitting  for my second trip to Ace where the helpful folks helped me find the correct piece.  Success!

I installed the new shut off valve and turned back on the water to find I had a little drip.  I used a wrench to turn the valve on a little tighter and the leak was gone.

Installing the faucet

I installed the faucet per the instructions on the Glacier Bay box.  They were fairly straightforward, but when I went to connect the waste water pipe I discovered that I was quite a few inches off.

One hasty trip to home depot and I had the new pieces I needed to get the appropriate connections for the trap to connect to the sink.  I used my handy dandy mini hack saw to cut the pieces to fit as shown below Everything was installed- water was turned on… and I had many a leak near the sink.

I needed a new wrench, but it was 11:00 pm- so this project had to sit again over night so I could pick up the wrench I needed.

And after work that night I let the mega wrench I purchased at Menards work it’s magic-the leak stopped coming from the sink, but it was now coming from the faucet itself which mean the faucet itself was faulty.  My second trip to Home Depot for a faucet was a quick decision- quality but not ridiculously priced. I just wanted it to work.

The minute I opened the box I could see the difference. The pieces of the faucet were metal (not plastic like the other broken model) and it went together like a dream (once I had pulled the other one apart).

Three days of brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink could have been eliminated had I known the following:

(1)   Start with the appropriate tools. Make sure you’ve got a wrench big enough to do the job you need to do.
(2)   Have an assistant to help you hold things as you pull them apart (or tighten them, or merely to hand you a beer while you toil over the sink).
(3)   Make sure you know what size of pvc pipe you are working with- bring it with you if you need to replace pieces.  Take a photo if you are going to need additional help once you get to the hardware store/home depot.
(4)   DO NOT BUY CHEAP FAUCETS. Apparently this is a new homeowner lesson learned. I posted on Facebook my cheap faucet woes and was rewarded with many a story from friends and family of similar trials with cheap faucets.

This was my first full installation completed entirely by myself and while it took longer and cost more than I expected the photo below is reward enough for me.

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