How To Change Your Bathroom Faucet Handles
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Over the years, the components of a bathroom faucet can begin to show their age. One part that is particularly prone to showing wear and tear are the handles.
Because bathroom faucet handles are used repeatedly to turn the water on and off, they will often be the first part of the faucet that looks worn. Over time, homeowners may notice where the finish has rubbed off on the handles, or they might notice that a porcelain or plastic faucet handle is beginning to crack.
When this happens, it is time to change out the old bathroom faucet handles for new ones. The good news is that for most bathroom faucet designs, swapping out these handles is simple. The following guide will outline how to change out a bathroom faucet handle, what important considerations to make when searching for replacements, and how to determine whether or not a bathroom faucet handle is interchangeable.
How a Bathroom Faucet Handle Works
While kitchen and bathroom faucets share a lot of similarities in design, there is a notable difference when it comes to most bathroom faucet handles. Unlike a kitchen faucet, which has handles directly mounted to the faucet and sink, many bathroom faucets feature handles that can be taken off and replaced without touching the rest of its structure.
While the best way to determine a bathroom faucet handle’s design is by consulting the faucet’s parts diagram, it is also possible to do so through a quick inspection of the faucet.
Before replacing a faucet handle, be sure to turn off the water supply to the bathroom. Once the water has been turned off, test the water flow by turning the hot and cold water on and off. If no water is flowing, it is safe to begin an inspection.
To take apart a standard bathroom faucet handle, gather a flathead screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, and an Allen key. It can also be handy to have a towel on hand to wipe up any water located under the faucet handles.
Taking Apart the Bathroom Faucet Handle
In many cases, a faucet handle is attached via a simple Phillips head screw. These screws are often hidden out of sight to add to the decorative appeal of the piece. Common locations to find these screws are beneath decorative caps. These caps might read “hot” and “cold,” or they may even be designed in the same metal finish as the rest of the handle.
Once the decorative cap has been located, popping the cap off is simple. In most cases, a decorative cap will feature a small slot along the edge of the faucet cap. Using a flathead screwdriver, simply apply a small amount of pressure to the cap and pop the cap off of the handle body. Be sure to apply pressure carefully and slowly to prevent cracking the cap.
Once the cap has been removed, this should expose a screw. Start by unscrewing this piece and pulling the handle off of the rest of the faucet body. This will often expose an escutcheon (or small metal cover) at the base of the handle. On this plate, look for a small hole where another screw is located. These screws usually need to be removed with the use of a small Allen key.
After all these components have been removed, it is time to add a replacement.
Adding a New Faucet Handle
With all the previous parts removed, there should be only a faucet stem left. Here, a new escutcheon plate can be installed, followed by the replacement handles. Before screwing the handles into place, make sure that they will be facing the right direction when the water is off and on.
Once the replacement handles are screwed into place, the decorative covers for the new handles can be popped back on, covering up the screws.
For single-handle faucets, it is common to find a setscrew on the base of the handle rather than a Phillips head screw on the top of the handle. These screws require an Allen key to remove.
How To Determine the Type of Faucet Handle You Have
Remember, it is always best to check the parts diagram for a bathroom faucet before attempting to replace the faucet handles. Faucet designs vary dramatically based on the faucet style and age of the faucet.
For example, the Fauceture American Classic 8 in. Widespread Bathroom Faucet features two handles with false caps. By removing these false caps and unscrewing the handles, replacement is simple.
Conversely, the Fauceture Concord Single-Handle Bathroom Faucet has a small setscrew located along the bottom of the faucet handle. To remove this handle, the setscrew must be unscrewed first.
In many cases, if the physical copy of the faucet installation guide and parts diagram has been lost, homeowners can do a quick online search to locate these documents. This can help ensure that the faucet is not damaged during handle replacement.
Are Bathroom Faucet Handles Interchangeable?
For many homeowners, a damaged faucet handle is more than just a necessary repair; it is an opportunity to upgrade the look of the bathroom’s design.
In this case, many wonder if it’s possible to replace the handle with a different type? Rather than buying the same handle replacement, many homeowners would prefer to upgrade the handle to a more modern piece.
The answer is that it depends. In some cases, a different handle type could fit the existing handle. To determine whether or not one handle can be used to replace another, it is important to check with the manufacturer for the handle size and stem design. This will make it possible to check for alternative replacements.
Shop for New Faucet Handles
At Kingston Brass, homeowners can find replacement bathroom faucet handles to match almost any faucet design. Swapping out an old, damaged faucet handle is an excellent way to restore the look of the bathroom. Not only that, but in many cases, the replacement process is straightforward.
If replacing the faucet handle is no longer a possibility due to the design of the existing faucet, Kingston Brass also offers an excellent selection of full bathroom faucet replacements. Featuring the latest in trends and styles, Kingston Brass makes it easy to find a bathroom faucet for any home.