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Ability Bathe | December 22, 2023

How To Replace A Bathroom Tap: Our Guide

How To Replace A Bathroom Tap: Our Guide

At first glance, working out how to replace a bathroom tap may seem straightforward, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

In this guide we’ll run through what to know before thinking about how to change taps in your bathroom.

But first, a word of caution – when plumbing is involved it’s better to be safe than sorry. So if you haven’t tried anything like this before, it’s better to call an expert.

If you’re taking on the job yourself, take all necessary safety precautions beforehand. Make sure you have the right level of expertise before starting and take care not to do anything that could hurt yourself or cause damage to your bathroom.

Replacing bath taps – what you need

The good news is, you don’t need many tools to get the job done – usually just two or three things:

  • Adjustable wrench or spanner
  • New tap
  • Back nut (if the new tap doesn’t come with one)

But depending on the specific tap you’re changing, you may need some other tools.

For example, in the event that you’ll need to reconnect the water supply pipes using copper piping, you’ll also need a blowtorch and solder – if so, be very careful, but don’t use it if this is your first time.

Again, if you don’t have the right level of experience to feel comfortable around how to change a bathroom tap, stay on the safe side and leave it to an expert.

Different types of taps

Taps come in all shapes and sizes. There are monobloc, disc, ball, cartridge, sensor and wall-mounted taps, for example.

But when it comes to knowing how to change a tap, usually there are two broad types to think about:

  • Mixer taps: Most modern taps are mixer ones, with both hot and colder water coming out of the same source.
  • Pillar taps: The traditional style in British bathrooms with one tap for hot water and another for cold water.

The most straightforward option is to replace like for like i.e. one old pillar tap with a brand new one. Before removing your old taps, take this step first.

Look at them and work out if the old basin tap or bath taps have one or two holes to accommodate them. And when buying a new basin or bath tap, do likewise.

In some cases it is possible to replace pillar taps with mixer ones, but it depends on the specific circumstances – e.g. whether your new mixer tap covers two holes or not.

How to change bathroom taps

This is how to change a tap in your bathroom:

  1. Turn off the water supply at the mains and/or by shutting the isolation valves or stopcock underneath the bath or basin. Try running the tap and drain away any excess water.
  2. Disconnect the nut linking the water supply lines or pipes connected to the existing tap, using a wrench. If it’s corroded or tight, use some WD-40 or steel wool to try loosening it. For a walk-in shower or bathtub, check you know how to remove the panel first before getting underway.
  3. Loosen and remove the other nut securing the tap to the sink, again using a wrench.
  4. Lift the old tap out and expose the mounting holes, cleaning the area around them if necessary to make the surface smooth.
  5. Check the fittings in case you need an adapter, such as a reducing coupler,  to connect your new tap to the old pipework.
  6. Place the new tap into the mounting holes, aligning it properly with the bathtub or sink. If you have pillar taps, the hot tap should be on the left as you look at it from the front.
  7. Secure the tap by making sure washers are in place and tightening the nut beneath the basin or bathtub with your wrench.
  8. Reconnect the water supply lines to the corresponding hot and cold taps. If you’re using copper pipes, here is where you need the blowtorch and solder.
  9. Turn on the water supply valves beneath the basin or bathtub to restore water flow.
  10. Test the tap by turning it on and off, checking for a good water flow and temperature.
  11. Check for any leaks around the new tap connections and tighten if necessary – this is essential for a fully waterproof bathroom. Here’s how to waterproof the rest of your bathroom.
  12. Dispose of the old tap by recycling as much of it as possible.

That’s it, job done! 

Final thoughts: How to change a tap in the bathroom

We hope this guide helps you understand how to change a tap in the bathroom and the amount of work required.

Now you know how to change sink taps, find out how to unblock a bathroom sink if the water isn’t draining properly.

Our full blog is full of guides, including top tips for removing silicone sealant and tiling a bathroom.

For your bathroom design and installation needs, we are industry experts with a vast amount of experience – Ability Bathe Bathrooms in Devon. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more information.

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